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Plan a European road trip in your car or campervan

Plan a European road trip in your car or campervan

Nowadays more and more people are deciding to ease up on air travel in favour of the great open road. But how does one efficiently plan a road trip when you want to see everything that the local culture and countryside have to offer?

When planning a road trip in your campervan, you'll need to consider a few key things in order to have the best experience possible. By following the six tips outlined below, you can ensure that you'll have a great road trip through Europe and see some of the most beautiful nature spots along the way.

1. Decide where you want to go

Before you even start packing up your campervan, you need to decide where you're going to travel. This will help determine what you need to pack and how much time you'll need to complete your trip. When deciding on your destination, consider beautiful nature spots that are off the beaten path. This will give you a more unique and authentic experience.

2. Plan your route

Once you've decided on your destination, it's time to start planning your route. This is important so you can map out gas stations, rest stops, and campgrounds. You'll also want to take into account the weather and terrain when choosing your route. If possible, try to avoid highways and stick to backroads so you can take in the scenery. You'll want to research the best nature spots along the way and plan your stops accordingly.

Road trips can be a great way to visit multiple places at once but you need to set a limit, since no one wants to spend half a day on the road.  It would be sensible to pick areas that are close to each other so pick a specific region and try sticking to that. Moreover you can always plan a road trip that consists of getting from point A to point B, and let your rest stop intervals dictate the nature areas you'll be visiting. It also depends on the country you are travelling in, since in some places it can take hours to get from one city to another. Manage your expectations and set a realistic schedule so you can spend quality time in all the places you are visiting and won’t have to rush.

Check out these country- and region-specific roadtrip itineraries to get yourself inspired!

๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Road trip in Belgium ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Road trip in the Netherlands ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Road trip in Denmark ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Road trip in Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Road trip in North Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Road trip in the UK

planning a road trip at the lake

2. Focus on timing

Road trips can be unpredictable, with traffic jams on the way or unexpected situations occurring on the way. This is exactly why it would be nice to roughly set the time slots for all your activities. Remember how in school when you would go on trips, they would make a precise schedule for all the things you would do. This is exactly what needs to be done before a road trip. Sit down, research traffic in the areas you want to visit, best timing to visit them and most importantly, figure out how much time you would want to spend there. One tip in particular, always put everything down to shopping time in the schedule. That way you will be able to adjust it on the way and you will be more at peace when travelling.

3. Bring all the necessities 

You'll need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies for your trip, including food, water, toiletries and camping gear. As already mentioned, road trips tend to be unforeseeable so better be ready for everything. Set a checklist for all the things you will need during your journey. For example, if you have some dietary restrictions and will be travelling in the countryside, it would be worth taking some nice snacks with you just in case you don't have a specific food option. Moreover, don't forget to take any emergency medicines. In addition to the supplies mentioned above, consider taking:

  • A first aid kit
  • A flashlight
  • A lighter and matches
  • Needle and thread
  • Containers to keep food and water
  • A power bank
  • A spare tire and breakdown tools
  • A spare gallon of fuel

The list can go on and on, but try to be sensible with it and don’t overpack. You won't necessarily need all of these things but you never know when they might help you.

4. Pick good transport

Road trips are nothing without a car or campervan, so it is important to choose the right one. Not everyone has the luxury to pick from many options, but if you are one of those lucky ones who can rent whatever they want, we suggest considering the following. There are three main means of transportation you can pick for a road trip: an RV, a campervan or a normal car.

What you choose all depends on how long your trip is going to be and on your living situation. The first two are suitable for those who do not want to spend extra on hotels or rental along the way. It is a very convenient way to constantly be on the road and explore more on your journey.

We suggest picking an RV or motorhome if you are travelling with the family due to its high capacity and also the comfort of all the amenities.

If you are going on a trip with a couple of friends or your partner, a campervan would be a fun idea. It usually offers at least 4 sleeping arrangements, one inside and another one on a rooftop. Moreover, campervans are easier to maneuver, so they will be easy to drive for inexperienced drivers and also better for finding parking spaces along your way. If you don't have a camping vehicle, we'd recommend that you check out our friends at Goboony, a platform for renting privately-owned camping vehicles. A low-cost and sustainable way to try out van life and exploring Europe on a proper road trip!

A regular car is the go-to for short-term trips. It’s compact, safe and a little more eco-friendly than larger vehicles. Of course, they're also less spacious, and not a comfortable option for overnight stays. This option is suitable for those who are travelling to close destinations with multiple stops.

A campspace in Spain (ID:6067)
A campspace in Spain (ID:6067)

5. Choose a place to sleep

And last but not least, picking your overnight stays in advance is the best organisation tip we can give. If you are travelling with an RV or a campervan, research the campsites on your way in advance. Browse Campspace's full selection of camping vehicle pitches surrounded by nature, or check out the more specific options below. The last thing you want is to end up travelling tired at night looking for a place to park. 

๐Ÿš All camper sites ๐Ÿ‚ Camper sites for fall and winter๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Camper sites in Netherlands  ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ชCamper sites in Belgium  ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ชCamper sites in Germany  ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Camper sites in Denmark  ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Camper sites in Portugal  ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Camper sites in Italy  ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡งCamper sites in Great Britain  ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธCamper sites in Spain

And if you are travelling without a house on the wheels, make it an experience to remember by staying at a glamping campsite  spend some time in a cosy treehouse or cabin in the middle of the forest. Road trips are also about being spontaneous and enjoying whatever comes your way!

planning a road trip field and a camper

After you have done these first steps, you will feel more at peace and put together. The hardest part is already done, so the rest is just exciting.

Road trip planner app for a smooth journey

With modern day technology even the road trip planning is made easy with several apps available. It is nice to sometimes look for places yourself, and research your route. If you aren't one of the people who enjoys spending time researching destinations, a road trip planner app is a choice for you.

This free app , available on iOS and Android, may be an idea for your next trip as it helps you save time. As already mentioned, timing is the most important part of the trip. The Waze road trip planner app helps you navigate through all the obstructions of a days-long journey. It monitors the traffic and tells you specific times when you need to leave the place. You can get all the necessary up-to-date information in a matter of seconds and then schedule accordingly. And most importantly, it manages your precious time that you can spend enjoying the beauty around you.

Road trip route planner for busy people

This free app available on iOS and Android, helps you plan a journey within a matter of minutes. All you need to do is select your starting point and your destination and then look at the map and add the places you would’ve liked to visit. The best thing is that it highlights the suggested area of the trip right away, so you have a better understanding on which places are close enough to visit. Moreover, you can edit your trip with friends, so all of you can add stops. The app gives you an opportunity to see how much time you will need to get from one place to another, suggests popular spots to stay and navigates you through your journey. If you are one of those people who is always up for an adventure, you can pick one of the premade roadtrips from the website to save time and make the journey even more surprising.

Road trips are something to experience at least once in your life! They give you an opportunity to see multiple aspects of the country and most importantly experience local nature and culture first hand. It doesn’t matter where you are heading, it's what you experience on the way. If you are curious about all the wonderful place you can stay in nature when heading out to the unknown, browse some cosy campspaces.

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