Road Trips in a Campervan or Motorhome: how to get the most from your adventures

Home » Road Trips in a Campervan or Motorhome: how to get the most from your adventures

If you’re like us, you’ll love going anywhere in your motorhome – even if it’s just a few miles up the road. But the real joy of owning an RV comes from taking longer road trips to places you won’t have been to before.

On this page we’re going to look at…

  • Prepping your motorhome for the journey – the checks you need to make before going on extended trips
  • Planning a road trip – top tips and ideas to help you deal with potential stresses on long journeys
  • Essential gear you need in your RV – see the list of stuff we always carry in our van
  • Our top 10 UK road trips and stunning day drives with a free road trip ebook you can download
  • Best travel quotes – to inspire your next adventure
  • Best van life and travel writing books – our favourite books for road trip reading

Let’s get ready to hit the road…

No time to read all this now? Grab the free road trip ebook here

road trip in the elan valley, wales

Is your RV ready for serious road trips? How to prepare your vehicle

We got our van back in 2017 and after a few local jaunts we soon headed off on our first road trip – but without any proper preparation.

We jumped in at the deep end by going to the Peak District and came up against a hill far steeper than our old van was designed for! The engine screamed its way to the top – but only just!

So, our first tip here is this…

Get to know your motorhome before going on a proper road trip. Familiarise yourself with how it feels to drive, the sounds it makes – and its smells! Then you’ll know if something is wrong.

The thing is that before you even think about planning the trip itself, you need to make sure your RV is up to the task.

RELATED CONTENT: How to get your RV ready for a proper road trip

Basic checks to make before your road trip

Our VW motorhome is over 30 years old and nowadays before any lengthy trip we always do basic checks, such as making sure the tyres are in good condition and correctly inflated. We’ll also check oil and other fluid levels and make sure our leisure battery is fully topped up.

Our solar panel keeps the battery charged. But before fitting solar we would plug into the mains at home to give the battery a boost before each trip.

Other things to check on your motorhome before a road trip…

  • When was the last time your RV had a habitation check? (To make sure all the appliances work and are safe to use; you don’t want gas leaking into the van!)
  • When was the water system last purified? (You don’t want to get legionnaire’s disease on your trip of a life-time: it can kill you!)
  • Do you know how to change the gas bottle if you need to? (We didn’t!)

Don’t make the same silly mistakes we did! (Fancy not knowing how to change a gas bottle!)

For a comprehensive and detailed look at the checks you need to make hit the button below…

road trip planning - planning a road trip route with a map

Road trip planning – tips to help you get the most from your adventures

Once you’ve got your vehicle fit for the journey you can really get focused on planning the road trip itself.

We’ve sometimes jumped in the van, eager to get going but with only a rough idea of how to get to our destination. Big mistake!

God knows how much time and diesel we’ve wasted going the wrong way or worse – round in circles! Not much fun when you’re already tired after driving for miles.

Of course, sometimes travel plans go awry – we have had frustration, amusement and heartbreak. (See Hobo Trudi’s blog post “When Travel Plans Go Wrong”)

So even though a road trip really is more about the journey, we’ve decided that it’s best to have a planned route and an itinerary.

Of course, there will be detours you have to make along the way. But get your maps out or use your satnav and choose the best, most enjoyable, and perhaps most scenic route – which won’t necessarily be the fastest.

Indeed, RV road trips should never be about speed, especially if you own an older motorhome like ours.

Our top 10 road trip planning tips will help keep everyone happy – including the kids even on the longest of journeys…

Road trip essentials – what you must take with you in your RV

Unlike travelling to your holiday destination by car or by plane (where you can just take a suitcase and rucksack) a road trip in a campervan or motorhome requires more gear. Lots more gear!

These are some of the essential things you’ll need in your RV…

  • Levelling chocks – some campsites have uneven pitches (and it’s no good relying on a hydraulic levelling system: what if it fails?)
  • An electric hook-up cable (if you’re planning on staying at campsites on the trip)
  • A power inverter to charge your gadgets
  • All the safety equipment you’ll need such as a fire extinguisher and fire blanket
  • Florescent jackets – in case of a breakdown
  • A good quality torch
  • Steering wheel lock – some places you stay on a road trip might feel unsafe
  • Spare fuses – always carry these!
  • A quality first aid kit

Having all the safety equipment and essentials in your RV should be a given. Even if you’re hiring a motorhome for a road trip your vehicle should be well equipped.

But if you’re taking your own campervan – and you’re new to all of this – you don’t want to be leaving anything behind!

pinterest pin - road trip essentials for RV and motorhome
Original Image: Jairph (at unsplash)

Top 10 road trips and scenic drives in the UK

So, you’ve prepared your motorhome, made some plans for the journey, and got the essentials you need for the trip. You’re just about ready!

But where to go exactly? There are so many amazing places to visit and scenic routes in the UK that you’re spoilt for choice.

Although we’ve not driven the NC500 yet (which, we’re told, is best avoided in peak season), we did cover much of the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye on our 1800-mile honeymoon road trip.

We love the hills of the Peak District, the big open skies of the North Norfolk Coast, and then there is the desolation of the North York Moors.

Most of all, we love heading to Wales and Anglesey where we have covered thousands of miles amongst the hills, mountains, and valleys, taking in some spectacular scenery along the way.

Feel inspired to hit the road when you read the stories of our 10 best road trips in the UK…

heading toward The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye
Road trip around the Isle of Skye – The Old Man of Storr on the horizon

Best van life and travel books for holiday reading

If you love reading as much as we do, you’ll need a few books in your van to while away the time when the weather’s not great outside or if you just want to chill out after a long day’s driving.

For our longer road trips, a good book is just as essential as an electric hook-up cable!

Hobo Gav fills one of our van’s overhead cupboards with some of his favourite reads whilst Trudi, sensibly, uses her Kindle to save space (and to cut down on the motorhome’s payload).

We’ve written some reviews of our favourite vanlife and travel-writing books that will whet your appetite for some great holiday reading.

There’s a mixture of contemporary travel books and some all-time classics, perfect for those lazy days when you just want to sit back in your van and lose yourself for a while.

Into the wild - Jon Krakauer

Inspirational travel quotes for your next road trip

To whet your appetite even more – and just before you hit the road – check out our collection of best travel quotes.

A good quote captures in just a few words the essence of travel and the call to adventure…

The gladdest moment in human life is a departure into unknown lands

Sir Richard Burton

Ask yourself: What makes you want to travel? What part of you yearns for adventure? Why go on a road trip at all?

best travel quotes: Paulo Coelho
Original Image: Frontier Official

See our collection of best travel quotes and read what some of the great literary masters and explorers have said about travel throughout the ages…

Grab our free ebook: 3 Epic Road Trips in the UK

If you haven’t got the time right now to read all the info on this page, download our free ebook – 3 Epic Road Trips in the UK – stunning drives in England, Scotland, and Wales.

In the ebook we highlight some of the best and most scenic routes we’ve taken in our motorhome – and what to see along the way.

There really are some wonderful drives waiting for you…

3 epic road trips in the UK: image of Winnat's Pass in the Peak District
Original Image: Grant Ritchie

We hope you’ve found the info on this page useful and that you feel inspired – and ready – to hit the road for an epic adventure.

Remember to check out our Top 10 UK Road Trips and grab a copy of our free ebook.

And if you are thinking of hiring a motorhome for a road trip in the UK or Europe make sure you read our top tips about RV rental.

motorhome rental for road trips in the UK and Europe
Original Image: Spaceships Rentals

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