Give Van Life A Go:

The Ultimate Guide For Your First Campervan Trip

If you’re looking for a holiday with a difference, why not give campervanning a go? Not only do campervans offer greater practicality and space than most tents (what’s not to love?), but you’ve got the freedom to travel anywhere, anytime. And, the best bit? You don’t need to buy one to try it out, as there are now lots of sites offering hassle-free rental services. Here, we catch up with campervan rental site, Goboony, to get their lowdown on everything you need to know for your first trip. 

Goboony are a campervan-sharing platform who are on a mission to open up campervan travel to more people. Taking their name from the New Zealand practice of going to the “boonies” – hidden destinations to be discovered - their site offers over 5,000 campervans for hire, from affordable campervans to luxury motorhomes. By encouraging people to rent instead of buy, they're helping people discover the joy of van life more sustainably by ensuring that older campervans get used to their full potential.

Why give campervanning a go?

A home on wheels, a campervan is the ultimate way to travel for wannabe nomads. When travelling by campervan, there’s no need to have a schedule,  worry about packing and unpacking your gear in different hotel rooms, or having to pitch up when you reach your destination. Instead, you can rock up and make the most of your time away.


Every day you get to dictate the pace of your adventure. You can head for the beach to cool off on scorching days, or on days where the weather takes a turn for the worse, you can choose to stay put and hunker down in your campervan. You also have the flexibility to extend your stay at a site or move on quicker if it’s not your vibe. 


Campervanning puts you in control, and while you may only be a step away from nature, you’re miles away from the stresses and hassles of your everyday life. 

How do you know what kind of campervan is right for you?

If you’re still reading, chances are you’re giving this some serious thought, so now it’s time to think about what kind of campervan will be right for you. The beauty of rental sites like Goboony is that you can try different campervan options and find out what works for you, so if you don’t get it right first time, all’s not lost. That being said, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help narrow it down.


First up – how many people will be coming along? Is it you and your partner, or are you bringing your friends along for the ride? The more people, the larger the campervan you’ll need and the higher berth rating. And, if your four-legged friends are joining the adventure, you’ll need to look out for pet-friendly rentals too.


Another thing to consider is how much time you’ll be spending in the van? If you’ll be out most of the day and just using it as a base at night, you might get away with a smaller campervan, but if you’re planning to spend time cooking and relaxing in the campervan, you’re best looking for a campervan that offers more space.


You also need to consider where you’re travelling. If heading onto narrow, winding roads, larger campervans are out. The same applies for city breaks, where larger vehicles can be a challenge to park.


Finally, you’ll need to think about fuel costs. Generally speaking, the larger the campervan, the more fuel it will consume. To counter this, you could look for electric campervans, which are more sustainable – just remember to check whether you’ll have access to charging ports on your route.

How do you find the best campsites?

Across most of Europe, you’ll need to park in a designated overnight parking space or stay at a campsite, but there are some countries and places where it’s possible to wild camp and park where you want, within reason (no blocking the road). 


When looking for campsites or parking spots, try websites like Park4Night, PitchUp and Campspace or apps which let you search for free motorhome spots by pubs or farm camping grounds. Social media and online travel forums can also be great places to discover top tips from travellers who’ve been there and done it.

How to make the most of the outdoors in a campervan?

A campervan getaway is the perfect opportunity to embrace outdoor living, and with the right camping gear, it’s easy to do just that.


A good stove or barbecue is essential for cooking outdoors, but you’ll also need a dining table and chairs, dinnerware (that won't break in transit) and cutlery to eat outside. Cool boxes and portable fridges are also something to consider, depending on how well equipped your campervan is and how many people are coming along.


Another must-have for anyone looking to kick back and relax is a comfy camping chair, but you also need to remember the basics like a travel mug and water bottle so you can stay hydrated around camp and on the move. 


Check out our camp kitchen essentials and furniture for everything you need to add a bit of outdoor luxury to your trip.

What else do you need to know?

If you’re raring to hit the road, there’s just one thing you must check before setting off - your driving licence. 


To drive a campervan up to 3.5 tonnes, you only need a category B or B1 licence, so if you’ve passed your car test, then all’s good. 


For a larger motorhome with a MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) of 3.5-7.5 tonnes, you need a category C1 licence, while for anything with a MAM of over 7.5 tonnes, you need a category C licence. If you’re set on a larger motorhome, getting your licence is possible, but you may want to weigh up whether the cost of additional driver training and testing is worth it.


As European cities clamour to clean up their act, environmental zones are something else you’ll need to consider. Currently many restrictions or fines are aimed towards diesel vehicles pre-2001, but some cities have stricter regulations in place, so it pays to check before you visit.


You can register and order environmental stickers in advance or dodge city traffic and the dreaded search for a parking place by staying on a campsite on the outskirts of the city and using public transport to get in and out.

Common mistakes to avoid on your first trip

  • Forgetting to disconnect your campervan from the electrical hookup before driving away. This is all too easy to do and can cause huge issues, so we recommend making it part of your routine to check this last off.  
  • Forgetting about what may be on the roof. After forgetting to disconnect the electric, this is the second most common mistake we see. You should always check you’ve not left the skylight open, that you’ve folded away the antenna or dish and that if you’re using a roof box that it’s fully secure before setting off to save you any headaches down the road.  
  • Driving off levelling ramping the wrong way. Levelling ramps are great for levelling out the campervan on uneven terrain, but if you don’t drive off these by rolling the motorhome backwards, you can ruin your tyres and blocks. 
  • Not emptying your waste water. Emptying your waste water before you drive off saves you weight for driving, which means you’ll use less fuel. That being said, carrying clean drinking water is never a bad shout. Carry enough to keep you hydrated in case of an emergency, but not enough to slow you down.
  • Not knowing the exact dimensions of your motorhome. This one can get you into all sorts of trouble, especially if you are travelling in areas with restricted height tunnels or narrow roads. But, let’s face it, who’s actually going to manage this, especially when you’re just hiring a van? Save yourself some headspace by writing the dimensions down and keeping them somewhere accessible like the dashboard, so you can refer to them should you need to.





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