5 tips for first time campervan travellers

Are you looking to do a little domestic travelling this year? There are many beautiful sights to see across Australia, and campervan holidays can be a fun and relatively inexpensive way to do some exploring. Peter Burke, Founder of Travellers Autobarn, shares some advice for your campervan trip.

Image supplied by Travellers Autobarn.

Choose the right vehicle for your trip

The first of our campervan tips and tricks is to make sure you choose the right vehicle for your travels. There are many different varieties of campervans to pick between, from those with a tent that can pop out on top, to large vehicles that can sleep several people within. Some campervans have kitchen setups, while others are a little more basic. Your choice may depend on the type of camping you wish to take part in, your budget, and where you are looking to travel. Also, keep in mind that campervans can come in automatic or manual options.

Pack the essentials

If you’re wondering what you should put in your campervan for the trip, be sure to focus on the essentials first.

This can include:

  • bottled water
  • a first aid kit
  • towels
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray
  • soap
  • sanitiser for easy hand cleaning
  • a sharp knife or multitool
  • thongs for showering

Be sure not to overpack for your adventure. “Pack light,” Peter says. “It allows you to stop in towns along the way to do laundry and get a different perspective of a place you've never been. You can even ask a local for hidden treasures to explore, and you’re not lugging around extra weight.”

Other items that might be helpful depending on your travelling style include:

  • an esky
  • food storage bags
  • pots and pans
  • a sleeping bag
  • a pillow
  • swimmers

Find out what your van rental includes, and purchase additional items accordingly.

Give each item a spot, early on

With such a small amount of space, it’s easy for a campervan to become cluttered fast. To mitigate this, choose a space for each item early on and make sure everything gets put away in the right spot. Seat and door pockets can make for good storage spaces for smaller items. Purchase some storage products such as those that can hang over the back of seats and removable hangers, clips, and hooks. You should focus on making sure items are secure and don’t roll about too much while the vehicle is in motion as this could create a hazard. Many easily removable campervan hacks can be incorporated into your rental vehicle to provide additional storage.

Have a rough travel plan

While it can be fun to take to the open road without a plan and care in the world, it’s generally a good idea to at least roughly organise your trip. 2019 saw the number of caravan and visitor nights exceed 60 million for the first time.1 During peak travel times, popular camping spots can book out fast, so it’s a good idea to book in advance, rather than turning up on the night and hoping for the best. Having a rough travel plan in place can help you organise elements of your trip ahead of time and hopefully avoid disappointment.

Also, don’t push yourself too hard. “Don’t try to see and do everything,” Peter says. “No one wants to spend 10 or more hours driving from place to place. We know time is valuable, so make it more memorable by stopping more and driving less.”

Don’t just rely on fast food

Holidays can be a busy and exciting time, and it can be easy to forget about important factors such as preparing nutritious food.

“Save money and eat in,” Peter says. “Most campers come equipped so you can cook right at ‘home’. This also makes for extra bonding over a cooker with friends and family.” Healthy choices can also include salad sandwiches, muesli bars, or pieces of fruit. Pop them in your esky and keep it in a cool, dark space to help your food last longer.

According to Travellers Autobarn, campervan rentals by Australians and New Zealanders have increased by 483% in the past year (July 2020 to May 2021) compared to the previous year. So we know Australians are keen to hit the road for some domestic travel this year.

Remember to consider travel insurance for when you’re adventuring away from home. Australia Post has Domestic Travel Insurance options for travel within Australia.

1 Caravan Industry Association of Australia, Caravanning and Camping most popular holiday type for Australians in 2019, with 60 million holiday nights, September 2020

Australian Postal Corporation (ABN 28 864 970 579, AR No 338646) is the distributor of Australia Post Travel Insurance and is an Authorised Representative of Australia Post Services Pty Ltd (ABN 67 002 599 340 AFSL 457551). Travel insurance products are underwritten by Zurich Australian Insurance Limited (ABN 13 000 296 640, AFSL 232507). Consider your financial situation, needs and objectives and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement available at auspost.com.au/travel-insurance before deciding to buy this insurance.