Top 6 Camper Van Travel Hacks You Will Love
These tricks can turn you from a Van Newbie to an Old Pro Road Warrior
By Helen Waite
If you’re planning on taking a road trip in your camper van, you’ll want to read this article first!
At VegasCampers.com, we’ve sent over 200 individuals, couples, friends, and family members on camper van adventures. Along the way, we’ve compiled 6 camper van travel hacks that will make your trips smoother and more enjoyable. Of course, if you’re ever in Las Vegas and looking for a camper van rental we’ve got a great rental rig available for you!
With that said, here are your tip travel hacks:
How to find free and cheap places to sleep (that aren’t Walmart)
It can be tough to find a place to sleep when you’re traveling on a budget. The good news is that with a camper van, all you have to do is find a quiet place without a ‘no overnight parking’ sign. Here are some tips for finding free and cheap places to sleep:
Airport viewing areas and waiting. Most airports have viewing areas and cell phone waiting lots that are open 24/7. Roll right up and crash the lot!
If someone says something, you’re of course waiting on a friend to arrive…
Campendium, the Dyrt, and Freecampsites.net – These are great user-generated apps and websites with filters to show you where the free and cheap camping spots are, plus what services and amenities are offered.
BLM and National Forest Land, and Recreation.gov – Consider BLM and National Forest land. Both of these types of land offer free camping, and there are plenty of them to choose from. Usually, camping is legal on these land designations, but not always, so check where you’re heading to!
Google Earth – Use Google Earth or Google Maps in ‘Satellite’ mode to find quiet streets and chilled-out rest stops. You’ll quickly become an expert at finding tree-covered hiding spots, open-air land, peaceful rest stops, beachfront access points, and more!
Hipcamp and Airbnb service exchanges – Simply contact a handful of hosts and offer them ‘service exchanges.’ You’ll need to be proactive about what you’re willing to offer… but to do some unusual cleaning, run errands, or offer a skill you may have in exchange for being able to park in their driveway or street!
Couchsurfing – While this isn’t as popular as it once was, that can mean that the best hosts haven’t received requests in quite some time! You never know, so give it a whirl and be surprised! The website connects travelers with people who are willing to offer up a couch or spare bedroom for free. You can search for hosts by location and read reviews from other travelers.
How to improve your night vision Driving Your Van
One of the best ways to improve your night vision is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. When you’re well-rested, your body is better able to function properly, including during the night.
The best thing you can do, however, is to use red-colored lights at night! We’re always amazed at people who go to gaze at the night stars and have big white headlamps and flashlights that they’re shining everywhere.
You want your campsite to look like Amsterdam’s red-light district! Sure, it’ll look like some saucy stuff is going down, but because you want your eyes to be able to absorb as much white light from that starry sky as possible, give your rods and cones the best shot they’ve got and don’t mess ’em up with white flashlights and headlamps and lanterns!
How to get Better Gas Mileage
Gas mileage is an important consideration when traveling in a campervan. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your gas:
Google ‘ideal speed for MY VAN’ and of course, put the year, make, and model of your vehicle. You’ll find forums showing people who get various gas mileage at different highway speeds. This can be the difference of 28mpg (at 60-65) and 21mpg (at 80-85mpg) with our rentals, for example!
Check your tire inflation. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have the correct amount of air in them.
Make sure your tires are aligned correctly. A slight angle is going to cause resistance with every rotation.
Avoid excessive braking and accelerate slowly. You’ll save a lot of money by learning to coast up to stop signs and red lights… and accelerating slowly out of them.
How to meet like-minded Van friends while traveling
One of the best things about traveling is meeting new people from all over the world. But it can be tough to meet new friends when you’re in a new place. Here are a few tips for meeting like-minded friends while traveling:
- Join a tour
If you’re looking to meet new friends while traveling, joining a tour is a great way to do so. Tours are a great way to meet new people who share your interests, and they provide an easy way for you to get to know others in a new location.
- Meet people at your hostel
One of the best ways to meet new friends while traveling is to stay at a hostel. Hostels are a great way to meet people from all over the world, and they provide an easy way for you to get to know others in a new location. Hang out in popular tourist areas
- Use social media to meet people
One of the best ways to meet new friends while traveling is to use social media. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are great for connecting with others who share your interests, and they provide an easy way for you to get to know others in a new location.
- Walk your campground
If you’re looking to meet new friends while traveling, one of the best ways to do so is to walk your campground. This provides an easy way for you to get to know others in a new location, and it gives you the opportunity to chat with others who share your interests.-
- Hang at the trailhead
If you’re looking to meet new friends while traveling, one of the best ways to do so is to hang out at the trailhead. This provides an easy way for you to get to know others in a new location, and it gives you the opportunity to chat with others who share your interests.
How to keep your food cold while traveling
One of the challenges of traveling is keeping your food cold. When you’re on the go, it’s important to have a way to store your food so it doesn’t spoil. Here are a few tips for keeping your food cold while you’re on the car tent camping on road:
Bring an ice pack. When you’re shopping, put it in the ice chest at the grocery store and grab it on the way out!
Alternatively, you can make your own using a Ziploc bag and get the ice from any fast food restaurant and fill up using their ice maker connected to the soda fountain. Even if you have a van refrigerator, this will help immensely with saving the life of your fridge and power consumption!
Next, don’t make your fridge or cooler fight the interior temperature of your vehicle! Crack the windows when parked and run a ceiling vent fan if you have one. Put reflectors in your windows and park in the shade. This will go a long way towards saving your ice or the energy it takes for your fridge to stay at the temperature you set it to!
How #Vanlife travelers can stay productive and get work done
For those who are looking to stay productive while traveling in their camper vans, here are a few tips for you:
Make a list of goals for the trip. When you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish during your trip, it’ll be easier for you to stay focused and productive.
Dedicate your work time and dedicate your play time…. and keep them both holy!
Drive less and experience more. We’ll never cease to be amazed by our renters who drive 2000 miles in a week thinking they ‘saw it all.’ Nope… they barely scratched the surface of many different places and mostly saw highway pavement. Stay in one place for 3-5 days at a time and you will not only be more relaxed, have a richer connection to a place, and see the hidden gems, but you will also have way more time to stay productive and get your work done because you won’t spend all your time driving!
Co-Working Spaces Help Get Work Done
Consider drop-in office space, co-working spaces, or if you’re looking for a distraction-free working environment while traveling in your camper van, consider drop-in office space or finding a co-working space. Both of these options provide an easy way for you to get work done without having to worry about distractions. If it’s comfortable outside, find a quiet park with a shaded table that you can make into your desk!
Pack for three days only. It’s waaaay easier to pick up extra items while on the go than it is to navigate around an over-packed van full of stuff you never use anyway.
Stopping at a laundromat every 4th day is a welcome break and they are usually quiet with tables and wifi to get some emails done anyway! The amount of energy you’ll save as a result of the reduced mental clutter will be substantial.
Bring noise-canceling headphones. If you can’t find a quiet place to work, drown out the noise with a pair of headphones that make it quiet for you!
There you have it! 6 of our best camper van travel hacks.
From Helen and the rest of us here at VegasCampers, (humbly, the best Las Vegas camper van rental company), enjoy the road and happy travels!