If the idea of sleeping in a tent doesn’t appeal to you, but traditional campers are out-of-reach financially, perhaps it’s time to try van camping.
Van camping is just what it sounds like—camping in a van. While some camper vans are decked out with small kitchens, some use stripped out vans with an air mattress in the back. Some camper vans can sleep up to five people!
If this sounds like fun, here are some things you should know before you hit the road.
1. You’ll always have somewhere to stay. From state and national parks to privately owned campgrounds, there are always spots to park for the night. Escape Campervans, a company that specializes in making camping vans and helping campers navigate this type of camping, offers tips on finding safe places to stay for free.
2. It’s more secure than tent camping. Tonya Prater blogs about van camping on Travel Inspired Living. Prater writes, “I admit, there have been times when I’ve worried about our safety when tent camping. Though those moments have been few and far between, I do sleep more comfortably knowing we can lock the doors to the van and leave the wildlife pacing around the van and not the tent.”
3. Do a little planning before you go. While van camping allows you to go with the flow, it’s a good idea to consider campsites beforehand so you have a bit of a plan and it will help eliminate some stress of knowing where you’re headed next.
4. Make sure you have the right gear. Think camp stove and cooking gear, blankets or sleeping bags, flashlights, matches and a first-aid kit. If you rent a camping van, take a careful look at what’s in the van before you hit the road. “Make sure everything you expected to be inside the van actually is. If something is missing, ask about it,” National Geographic reports. “A little preparation goes a long way here, because realizing you don’t have any towels in the middle of the woods is not how you want to start your camping trip.”