The Ultimate Guide to Organizing a Campervan Vacation
A campervan is a van that can sleep and drive. This means you can drive and sleep in your van. Like RVs, they're smaller and simpler to maneuver! Many campervans have kitchens, bathrooms, and storage. New Zealand and Australia have always enjoyed campervan road excursions. However, hiring a camper van for a US road trip to visit the National Parks has grown in popularity.
Campervan Rental: Why?
Campervans are the ideal way to tour North America, especially the US National Parks. You can cook in the van, saving money on motels and eating out. However, renting a campervan goes beyond saving money. Campervan road trips are my favorite since you see so much. However, Cabana Vans allow you to bring your house (or hotel) with you!
On our road journey, several parks and treks required us to come early to secure entrance or a parking place. This may need coming an hour before a parking lot opens to sit and wait. Sitting and waiting is better when you can snooze your alarm in bed or cook breakfast!
Campervan road trips are safe and let you see more than hotel-based road trips. No facilities or hiking into rustic camping locations make it more adaptive than typical campgrounds.
Campervan rental companies vary by pricing, location, and features.
If you're beginning and terminating in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle, Cabana Vans is ideal.
Campervan companies also take group size into account. Some vans can carry two people—a driver and a passenger—while others may fit 4-5. Vans with beds and pop-up tents are common. If Cabana Vans isn't available, try Escape or Native Campervans. Each van rental's daily rate depends on its features.
Campervan Road Trip Campground Selection
A campervan road trip has the convenience of overnight parking anywhere. You don't need camping facilities like bathrooms or showers because your van has all you need.
The Dyrt app helps you find campsites. Their app includes BLM sites, RV parks, permanent campsites, and scattered campsites.
The BLM offers rustic free camping and more developed campsites. Most BLM sites are first-come, first-served, although fees vary. BLM's website contains more.
Most US National and State Parks contain campsites. Many are first-come, first-served or have large waitlists. Zion campsites open new spaces two weeks before closing and sell out in minutes.
Most National Park campsites are $20–$35, although some charge $50. Staying in the park is convenient, but expensive. This will save time and let you go to those wonderful dawn sites without waking up as early.
Campervan Road Trip Tips
Empty any waste
If you're going on a multi-day vacation in a van with a sink, toilet, or even simply running water, you'll need to learn how to empty the waste. I know it's scary if you've never done this before, but it's easy. Understanding how rubbish is unloaded from vehicles will put you ahead of me the first time. The season RVers joked about us.
Any van rental firm should offer a full dump guide. Make sure you have the right van guide and download any instructions before dumping, since you may not have mobile service.
Knowing where to dump is essential. Disposing of garbage, including toilet black water, at a non-designated black water disposal facility is banned. RV parks and campsites have dump facilities. They often allow overnight stays with reservations. Filling your van with freshwater and disposing of black and grey water waste may cost less than $10.
Even though Cabana Vans feature closets and lots of storage, don't overpack. Keep it clean since you'll be eating, sleeping, and traveling there. Dirty shoes take up the most van room. Don't bring that fourth pair of shoes or the millionth pair of leggings you won't wear.
Turn off Electronics and Lights
Solar or engine power power most van rental choices' batteries. You'll need adequate juice for nighttime tasks. A dead battery shouldn't bother daily drivers. However, you may need to be extra careful with energy consumption if you want to stay in one area for several days. Battery-operated fairy lights provide illumination while conserving power. Fairy lights offer a festive environment even if battery saving isn't a goal. A campervan road trip must-have.
Offline Map Download
Before a road trip, get offline maps for your destination. My pre-downloaded offline Google Map works great! Visit maps.me.
Campervan road trips require some essentials. Here are a few necessities from my top ten list:
First Aid Kit: Include bandages, antibiotic cream, allergy medicine, and any other Western drugs you take regularly.
Cooking Essentials: Rent a van with a kitchen or a kitchen add-on. If so, bring a sharp knife, small chopping board, basic spices, tupperware/Stasher bags, and utensils. We utilized our Stojo cups and bowls daily for vehicle dinners, packed lunches, and food storage.
Bring slippers or flip-flops. This lets you take off your hiking boots at night and relax your feet. I suggest something slip-on for getting in and out of the van. Flip-flops are also recommended for campsite public showers.
Find the Right Campground
As said, there are several campsites. Your lodging choice depends on your travel style. We rented a Cabana Van and were mostly self-sufficient, however we had to refill our water and garbage. The van shower is nice, but it rapidly drains the water tank if you're not connected to water. Campground showers are beneficial.
Our 10-day road trip had two pre-reserved campsites and two more while on the road. First-come, first-served paid or unpaid places were available. We booked through the National Parks website, like HipCamp for Zion, or a specific RV park website, like KOA for Monument Valley. Because location was so critical on all these occasions, we didn't want to risk first-come, first-served places. However, we preferred free, off-the-beaten-path camping locations. In Sedona and Moab, we found wonderful free possibilities.
National Parks Passes
US campervan road trips require a National Parks Pass. If you don't have one, purchase one immediately! The $80 America the Beautiful pass gives entrance to all National Parks and additional parks. Even a short journey is worth the pass because a park admission charge might cost $30. It may be allocated to two users and lasts a year.