There are some affordable airfares now, which is great news, it’s just they never seem to go where you want to go. If you have children over the age of 12, then you are going to be lumbered with full price tickets, which can make any holiday cost the earth! That is before you get to your destination and have to feed mouths which are hungry all the time and pay for excursions to water parks and the like.
Regardless of whether you have a family, want to nip off on a romantic break or are more of a solo traveler, there is one way of traveling which is perfect for everyone. We are talking about the campervan.
Ok, so it doesn’t sound uber luxurious; however, that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Modern campervan conversions are amazing. Not only are we better at small space living, thanks to the likes of IKEA, we are also better at paired down luxury life. For example the cocktail in a jam jar thing that you see in almost every great bar across London? Campers pretty much invented that. All you need to turn your campervan into a glamper van is a little bit of imagination, some fancy towels, and gorgeous sheets and pillows you can lay your hands on. Although most vans are fitted with brilliant lighting, you could create a romantic feel with LED fairy lights.
There is nothing cooler in life than being able to walk outside your house, get in a vehicle and then head off to anywhere in the world, the greatest thing about the campervan is you really can go anywhere in the world. You could even drive from London, UK straight to Kabul, Afghanistan if you wanted, although we don’t recommend it just yet. Why not start a little closer to home?
The Isle of Mann is a pretty awesome place to get to know. Famous for the IOM TT race which sees the small island become full of life and people from across the globe. The rest of the year the Isle of Mann is pretty quiet, but it is a perfect place for a camping trip. You can drive around the island in a day, in fact, you can navigate the island in just a few minutes if you are on a motorbike, but there is so much to see you would be crazy to attempt it. All ferries bring you into Douglas; the ultimate trip would take you to the south first then head round to the north. There are some fantastic little coves all over the island, and you will also get to see wild seals which are native to the area. They are quite shy animals however if you set your camper up at night you might just catch them a little closer than you would during the day.
Europe is, of course, perfect for a campervan road trip and there are some amazing famous road trips which could inspire you. Perhaps you love the film, The Italian Job and remember that amazing opening scene with the Lamborgini? Well, that was shot High in the Italian Alps. The Col du Petit St Bernard was the site of the Aston Martin devastation suffered by the Mafia. Col du Petit St Bernard AKA the S26 is where the Miura scene was also filmed, most people traveling in that area would miss it, as it effectively been bypassed by the A5, so you need to go off the road a little. Plan your road trip, and you could be hitting the iPod to play Matt Monro’s On Days Like These. A perfect tribute to anyone who loved the film.
If you fancy something a little more cultured then why not consider a three-week break heading to the Amalfi Coast. Not only will you come across some of the most stunning roads in the world, but you will also get to discover some incredible towns such as Pompeii, which was completely devastated by the eruption of Vesuvius. With so many beautiful coastal towns, such as Positano, to see you will soon fall in love with this part of Italy. The roads can be tricky to navigate, however, if you take it slow then you will be just fine, let the Italians overtake you, while you enjoy the incredible views and challenging mountain paths.
Life in a camper is fun. With the modern technology, we have today you feel completely connected to the world, although you can strip it back to basics and cut yourself off from life too. Most modern vans are fitted with incredible kitchens and have heating systems which can be put on a timer. This means you can park up, head to the local pub or beach bar, then go back to your camper and it will be perfectly warm for you. There are also some brilliant awnings available so you can maximize the space you have. This could mean that your children could sleep outside the campervan but confined to the tent, like camping, you could leave the inner door open, so everyone feels safe.
Cooking in a Camper is the real treat, though. There is a great book called The Camper Van Cookbook which is full of great recipes when you are cooking on two rings. Although there is very little you can’t cook in a camper, just ask Jamie Oliver! It is exciting to head to the coast in Italy and bag yourself a fresh seafood catch. Then head back to your van and cook. If you stick to simple accompaniments with serious mains, you can have the most beautiful meals you have ever eaten. It shouldn’t be just burgers and bacon!
You don’t always have to head to a campsite either, with a camper you can just pull up on the side of the road and settle down for the night. You will need to check with the country you are in to see the laws and regulations around this, but it is one of the best reasons to take a camper on your road trip. The absolute simplicity of pulling up, popping the bed out and getting some rest.
So, where else could you head out and enjoy camper life? How about a trip to the home of the VW camper? Germany.
Germany is a vast country with a diverse landscape. From snowy mountains to incredible forests full of gorgeous green trees. One thing Germany isn’t famous for, is her incredible beaches, not the first thing that springs to mind is it? However, a trip to one of her ten best beaches is well worth the drive. Germany’s most northern island is known as the ‘Queen of the North Sea.’ Sylt claims the crown because it is home to the most stunning beaches. There is nearly forty KM of sandy beaches on the west coast. Another tip is out to the Bay of Lübeck. It is more a spot for historians and those looking for culture than for those who worship the sun. It is a medieval trading post and home to lots of pretty beaches. Timmendorfer, Scharbeutzer, and Gromitzer will give you plenty of sand and sun. There are also lots of beautiful lighthouses too. The food and beer are pretty good in Germany too!
While you are in Germany, you might want to head down to see another famous German car. The Porsche. In Stuttgart you will find the Porsche Museum, well worth a visit for any fans of the motorcar, you can even get a glimpse of the factory and might see a few pretty unique cars lined up, ready for their new homes.
Of course, if you are in a camper then why choose just one country? Surely that is one of the best things about Europe and the Campervan. You can just jump in and drive. One day you could be in the heart of Rome, the next you could be spending an afternoon in Ronda. You can experience the culture of each country far more when you are camping, as often hotels will be trying to please you, more than trying to welcome you.
There are some amazing countries all accessible via road although Europe also offers you a gateway to some even more diverse places. You could consider cutting through Spain and heading, via boat, to Africa. You need to trust the van if you are thinking of heading this far and certainly research your route, don’t just rely on your sat nav to get you through. Sat Nav’s are ace for getting you the shortest path, but in a place like Africa, you may be better finding the safest route!
So next time you are thinking about your trip away, why not ditch the idea of an airplane and look into taking the ultimate road trip in a brilliant camper? You will experience freedom and understand what it is to be a traveler, not just a commuter.