Jumping into your campervan on the morning of your holiday, and asking your partner where they want to go, is probably not the best plan you could come up with. Not unless you’re prepared to end up in the middle of Dartmoor at midnight, with an empty fuel tank and the local sheep for company.
Even the most experienced wild camping campervanners will have an outline plan of the area they want to visit, and how long it will take them to get there. They’ll no doubt have the best van insurance too and will most likely have packed to perfection after a lot of practice.
The campervan fraternity are as diverse as the vehicles they drive. Surfer dudes and mountain-bikers. Bird watchers and nature lovers. Beach lovers and fell walkers, and those who just want some peace and quiet away from the maddening crowd. All of these people will be heading to different areas of the UK, to do what they like to do best – and most will know exactly where they are going.
There are thousands of campsites dotted around the UK. From glamping sites that provide all the amenities you would expect from a 5-star hotel, to farmers fields so short of facilities you might as well be wild camping. You really do need to know what to expect from the sites you visit, especially in the early days of your campervanning journey.
From home to your first campsite
Whether you want to visit the pristine beaches and quaint fishing villages of the West Country, or the wide open spaces of the Yorkshire Moors, circle the area on an up-to-date road map.
Make sure you put lots of thought into what you pack for your camping trip. One of the worst things you can do is go unprepared – believe me, I have had several extremely cold nights camping in the UK and don’t want to ensure them again. There are some fantastic packing lists online.
Next you want to pick your campsite. The choice is yours, but for the first night a site with all amenities, including power hook-up, is worth consideration. You can have a relaxing shower after six or eight hours driving. Then check all your equipment is running okay on auxiliary power.
Pre-book your pitch, especially if you’re going during school holidays. There is nothing worse than turning up at a site just as it’s getting dusk, to be told they’re full.
With the site chosen and pitch booked, plan out your route. As we learnt from the Roman’s, a straight line is the fastest way between two points. Use a ruler and pencil to mark a feint line between home and campsite, then pick out your route. Main cities and towns, motorways, A roads, and B roads. Of course, if you plan to detour 50 miles off route to visit great-aunt Flo in Brum who you haven’t seen in 10 years, that needs to be included as well. That done, transfer all the information into your GPS planner.
Hitting the road
An early start on any long journey is always a good idea, especially when you’re off on your holidays. For early, think 1am to 4am. It is surprising how much ground you can cover in those first few hours, with just large HGVs, and other happy holiday-makers in their caravans, campervans, and motorhomes for company. It also gives you time to have plenty of comfort breaks.
If you’re in the final stages of completing your van conversion, it’s time to source your campervan conversion insurance UK, and get your first campervan holiday on the go!