As much as possible, but as little as necessary: this applies to every journey – and of course, so to one in a van. No matter how much storage space the camper has to offer – in terms of luggage, less is more. A good example: clothes. Be honest, you always pack too much. Much more important for long journeys is that the clothes are functional and above all: comfortable! Also, if you park the van in a parking lot to take a walk or a small hike, it makes sense not to pack the backpack too full. Unnecessary ballast makes the journey sluggish and unnecessarily complicated.
Hardly anyone likes to get up early, especially on holiday. However, it is worthwhile setting the alarm clock for the early morning, especially if you have to make long journey the following day: you reach your destination earlier and have more of the day. A breakfast at sunrise in the great outdoors in front of your van – what could be better? Also, in the morning sights and tourist hot spots are usually not so crowded. A special highlight: reaching a new town is always an interesting experience, in the morning hustle and bustle when people are going to work. Photography enthusiasts also know that light is better in the morning. Another mistake in countries where there are several time zones: you ignore the change of time – and your own daily scheduling breaks down.
You are planning a leg of a road trip, possibly with a longer day trip to get to a beautiful national park, for example, and get up early – but it’s pouring with rain. Murphy’s Law! Of course, you have no influence over the weather – but you can do your own travel planning. Obviously, but with all the anticipation, you sometimes forget this: take a quick look at the weather forecast in the morning, at the very latest, before you leave. Firstly, to have the right clothes for the destination but also to make sure the day trip makes sense.
We all know this? You listen to a song and it reminds you of a beautiful landscape that you just reached on your road trip when this one song came out. A good playlist gives a trip in the camper van the right soundtrack. It charges it with emotions that you will never forget. But don’t always rely on streaming services and the internet. Put your music in the forefront: on your smartphone, old-fashioned on a USB stick and even more nostalgic on CD (or really road trip style: on cassette?). Also remember to include your camper van in the musical planning: which media can be played back, do it need a connection cable and so on? Also nice, especially on long journeys: audiobooks, podcasts or even small phrase books for learning the basics. And one more thing: switch on a local radio program every now and then. Every country and region has its own soundtrack. And it is likely to be authentic – only on the radio.
If you don’t speak the language of the destination country in advance, you won’t learn it during a road trip. However, it makes sense to learn some basic language skills before or during the trip. Most of the time, the locals are even more friendly when they see that you make an effort with the language. And who knows, maybe you’ll come back from your holiday and be motivated to learn the language properly? If you have the perfect command of a foreign language, you have many advantages on your road trip: knowledge of the language distinguishes a tourist from a traveler.
What makes traveling with a van so special? Travelling on unknown roads, the feeling of freedom and the possibility to be spontaneous. Nevertheless, the individual stages of a road trip are sometimes tough – especially if you always try to take the fastest route via highways. After all, fast does not always mean pleasant. Frequently, highways are simply monotonous; make you tired and sometimes impatient. The consequence is that you try to push the accelerator a little too hard. Therefore, it is almost always worthwhile to set the turn signal spontaneously from time to time, turn off into the next best exit and take a refreshing detour. Where to? In case of doubt, the compass heads inland – and leads to idyllic villages, narrow streets and hidden places. There you will find abandoned scenery and fascinating landscapes waiting for you that are not in any guide book, but will be remembered forever (or in a photo). Another advantage: you can sometimes save on toll charges.
If you rest, you rust – but if you travel, you must rest. Breaks are always worthwhile, especially if you take them in the right places. Priority one should be outdoors. If you combine this with a short walk between long periods of driving, the rest is twice as healthy and you return refreshed to the wheel of your camper. You should at least stretch your legs every two hours.
Especially recommendable abroad: taking a break at petrol stations, cafés or bistros, in bakeries, corner shops or even supermarkets. Why? Here you experience everyday life unfiltered and often notice cultural differences most clearly. Especially during trips to supermarkets you can discover some unknown products and get some healthy snacks and drinks for your trip. And while you’re taking a break at a gas station, take the opportunity to “clean up” your van, check the windshield wiping fluid, oil level, air pressure and of course the fuel gauge.
In most countries, they are announced with road signs: national parks, local attractions and viewpoints. Often you are inclined to simply drive on. Most of the time, the landscapes don’t even look that exciting from the highway. A fallacy – because a detour requiring a spontaneous decision is always worthwhile. In addition, curiosities and unexpected highlights can be found along the way. And what is more beautiful than finding something you didn’t even know you were looking for?
Do you need inspiration for wonderful routes on a great road trip? Then click here!
Sure, eating is a matter of taste! Some prefer to take something with them; others cook and picnic on their road trip – depending on your van’s equipment – in your own mobile kitchen or in the evening in open air or maybe even over a campfire. Others like to try their hand at culinary delights. Our tip: stop by local markets: pull over and get fresh fruit, vegetables or other travel snacks from a market – in a foreign country it is always a profitable experience. Get into a conversation with locals, perhaps even get a hot tip for the next trip – discover unusual food, spices and much more besides. The same applies of course for those who do not want to cook themselves. Here, too, it is said: in small and less touristy villages you can find the most authentic and delicious food. The maxim: give every small or inconspicuous restaurant the chance to become the best of your road trip.
How can you experience a road trip a second time? By immortalizing the journey in photos the first time. You don’t always need the best photo equipment. As they say, the best camera is always the one you have in your hands. A small camera also means less luggage and even a smartphone can be enough. Much more important is… the subject, the composition of the picture – and above all the time of day: Photographs in the morning at sunrise or at “Golden Hour”, when the sun is slowly setting, the light is soft and the angle of the light gives your picture a beautiful contour – just not at noon. Try not to use the flash if possible, think about which part of the photo you want to take and try to change your perspective. The foreground makes the picture clear and make sure that the horizon on your picture is a straight line and not oblique.
Look for beautiful motifs in nature. But also put the people you meet in the foreground on your photos. People usually make a photo more interesting. The rule is: move! Get close up and literally – avoid zooming and look for details. But above all, backup your data regularly and don’t forget one thing: the moment. For anyone who is only hunting for photos with a camera and smartphone overlooks some beautiful moments, which he would have enjoyed better for himself alone or with his travel partner. Because the most beautiful memory is one that doesn’t need a photo!