Traveling and Living in a Camper Van 101

Traveling and Living in a Camper Van 101

Living and traveling in a camper van sounds like a dream for many. You’re living in your own home, you can go wherever you want, and enjoy life to the fullest. No wonder that traveling in a camper van is becoming more and more popular. The internet is full of pictures of families and outdoor enthusiasts who live in their own motorhomes.


There are many videos and blogs on the internet about building your own camper. That being said, if you don't want to travel with your own motorhome for more than a few weeks, you can easily rent one.  There are plenty of rental companies and you can find camper vans of all different sizes and interiors.


Traveling in a camper van has many benefits. One can’t compare it to backpacking or staying at hotels. However, there are also a few things you should consider when thinking about living in your own motorhome.



The benefits of traveling or living in a camper van


Traveling in a motorhome is becoming increasingly popular. There is likely no other way that allows you to travel at your own pace and appreciate everything along the way. When traveling in your motorhome, you are the driver. You can decide where you want to go next and where you’d like to stop along the way to rest overnight. If you really love a stop along the way, you can simply park your van at a campsite or a rest stop you are allowed to stay overnight at.  You don't have to rely on finding a hotel to stay at. An added bonus: you have your own bed to sleep in at all times. 


However, since you’re the driver you, most likely, won’t be able to visit five different attractions each day. You have to drive yourself which can be quite exhausting.  That being said, you will have the chance to see all the unknown destinations in between and choose the route(s) you prefer.  Traveling in your camper van can often be a much more authentic experience than jumping from hotel to hotel and just visiting the main attractions. Try chatting with locals along the way to find those hidden gems, that are often less crowded than the typical tourist attractions. 


Another major advantage of living in a camper van is that you have full control over your budget. That doesn’t mean that traveling in a motorhome is cheaper than staying at hotels. In fact, fuel can be quite expensive and is definitely one of the major cost factors. However, you can cook your own meals, brew your own coffee, and don’t have to pay ridiculous rates for a hotel room. Often, you can find free campsites along the way. Therefore, you decide how much money you want to spend.




What you should know about traveling in a camper van


Traveling in a camper van sounds fun until you get into the first spat with your companion. When living in a camper van you hardly have any personal space. In fact, having time on your own can be quite hard, especially when traveling with children. You have to spend most of your time together in a confined space, so hopefully you enjoy the ones you're with and are able to make time to find activities that get you out of the van.


Additionally, you’ll only have a limited amount of resources, such as water, electricity, or gas. When staying at a hotel you can take a long, hot shower whenever you want without worrying if the water hot water will run out.  However, that’s not the case when living in a camper van. You will only have a limited amount of water. Therefore, unless you stay at proper campgrounds with showers, you won’t be able to take a shower every single day. Even when doing the dishes you have to be careful to not waste any water.


So what about toilets? Many camper vans are equipped with portable toilets. However, once they are full you need to find a waste disposal point where you can empty them. The same goes for any kind of wastewater.



Who the lifestyle is for


Living in a camper van is not nearly as luxurious as staying at hotels or even hostels. You can’t shower every day, there’s hardly any personal space, and you have to empty your own toilet. Furthermore, there’s not always internet access. Many campsites don’t have any reception at all. Also, the air-conditioning might not be the strongest. Since electricity is a limited resource, you might not be able to keep the air-conditioning running all night. In the same token, it can get quite cold in the winter, as the heat may not be as strong.  


Don’t forget that the only space you have is in your camper van. Therefore, your daily activities depend a lot on the weather. When it’s raining outside you have to be prepared to stay inside a small space all day and find a way to entertain yourself and those who live with you. 


That being said, any one who can sacrifice some luxury will have the best time while living in a camper van. For those who want to live a more minimalist and sustainable life. You will have much more freedom to travel easier and stay as long as you please. 



Essentials to keep in your camper van


When planning to travel in your camper van there are a few essential items you should always keep in your motorhome.


Since it’s not always possible to find suitable wood for a campfire, you should always have a Radiate Portable Campfire. With our portable campfires, you don’t need to go looking for firewood or worry about making space to store it in your camper. Instead, just take out the portable campfire, light the paper pulp to ignite, and roast some marshmallows for added fun! Simply snuff it out with the lid when done. Our portable campfires come in a mini 4" size or a larger 8" size, both with 3 or more hours of burn time. 


While you can roast marshmallows and even hot dogs with the Radiate Campfires, you should think about investing in a camp stove if you do not have one in the camper already. This will give you the option to cook your own meals as well as tea and coffee. Another handy gadget is a compressor fridge. It will keep your food cold at all times.


You should always have a first aid kit with you, and even a snake bite kit. The nearest town could be miles away. Mosquito repellent, sunscreen, pepper spray, and tasers are also important for your personal safety.  And don’t forget to bring torches, LED headlamps and some spare batteries.


Before your travels, you should create a packing list to make sure you don’t forget any important items. With some thorough planning, you will have an unforgettable trip and may be on your way to actually living in your own camper van!



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