If you can’t travel, plan! As we stay inside during lockdown, it may feel there’s no end in sight – but for those of us with roaming holiday vehicles sat waiting patiently in storage, what’s stopping us planning the travel adventure of a lifetime?
We don’t know when we can travel again, but until that moment comes, it’s time pull out your maps, your laptops and get planning!
There are obstacles to overcome – what Brexit means for international travel, for one – but with plenty of time to overcome those hurdles, you’ll be an expert when freedom finally rolls around.
And although we have to stay inside, don’t forget the joy of travel; the spark of adventure, of morning coffees somewhere new, of evening walks in unfamiliar fields, of cresting over new cities in your campervan.
As the world’s greatest travel writer, Bill Bryson, puts it: “The greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time.”
So here are a few tips from us to get started on planning your next ‘mobile home’ travel adventure… 👇
Use our popular ‘Caravan / Motorhome Club’ Facebook group
Having set up the group in February 2020, it’s now grown to 365 active, friendly members, with several posts a week.
From selling useful items (or even whole vehicles!) to swapping tips, advice and community news, it’s everything we wanted the group to be and more.
Users regularly share travel destination ideas and are more than happy to chat about places to go – so make this your first port of call!
Keep an eye on popular destinations
Assuming we can travel within the UK sometime in 2021, camping & caravanning holidays will be the golden way to holiday, offering self-sufficiency, fresh air, and reduced contact with fellow holiday-makers.
However 2021 pans out, you’ll probably still want to avoid big crowds – so find out where’s popular so you can avoid them.
According to Cool Camping2, in an England-only survey, they foresee popular 2021 camping destinations that include the Lake District, the New Forest, and Cornwall.
These are followed by the ever-popular Devon, Norfolk, Dorset and the Peak District.
But – and here’s the key information – Cool Camping says: “We anticipate a rise in pop-up campsites – temporary sites which only run through a set duration. In 2020 we saw the number of pop-up sites more than double vs 2019, and we expect a strong rise again in 2021.
“With health and safety remaining at the forefront, we anticipate all – even the smallest and most traditional campsites – to manage bookings online, meaning a reduction in walk-in bookings.”
So, if you do travel, expect new sites to pop up in new places, but also expect to have to book them formally online first.
X marks the camping spot
Once you’ve decided your general route, do some research and mark every possible ‘stop and sleep’ spot along the route.
You can do this on your physical map, or use the Google Maps app on your phone or tablet to create a ‘List’ of locations.
You can also use this time to mark out great viewpoints or places you want to sightsee.
The helpful folks at ourtour.co.uk have even curated a range of Europe and North Africa routes in Google Maps, so you don’t even need to make your own!
Don’t own your own vehicle? Hire your next travel adventure!
There are plenty of places offering campervans and similar vehicles for hire, including coolcamping.com – a fantastic website for planning camping holidays.
There’s also the local Taffi Campers, who offer a range of luxury VW T5 campervans for hire.
Useful apps & tools
1 – Park4Night
A free app where you can ‘share the nice spots where you like to relax with your camper, your equipped van or normal van.’
Cost: Free (but you’ll need to pay £9.99 to access maps and features offline).
2 – All The Aires
Prefer a physical book to an app? ‘All the Aires’ covers North and South and is the perfect companion for choosing your overnight spots in France.
Cost: £26 for the current edition (published March 2019). Probably worth waiting for the next edition, coming June 2021!
3 – Brit Stops
Staying closer to home? This UK-based resource has sites all across the UK, listing all the pubs you can stop overnight.
Cost: £28 + £3.60 postage
4 – France Passion
This scheme, ideal for travellers who like a gourmet lifestyle, allows you to stay with farmers, wine produces, cheese makers and other artisan foodies, on their land and free of charge.
Cost: €30 (includes access to their website search)
For more apps and tools – including travel helpers, sat navs and more – The Gap Decaders have a fantastic list to browse.
While we’re experts at campervan & motorhome storage, there are plenty of helpful people out there who are experts at the travelling bit!
A few of our favourites include…
1 – Wandering Bird
Having spent years travelling, Wandering Bird has collated her favourite resources for motorhome travel – it’s a corker!
2 – The Gap Decaders
So good we’re mentioning them twice! These guys have all the destinations and travel guides you could ever want.
The book of gospel for motorhomers, this website has excellent articles and resources uploaded every week, with regular offers, competitions and loads of great buying advice! Also available in a magazine format.
Run by Shell, this blog covers everything you need to camp with style. While it leans slightly towards tent camping, there are plenty of helpful resources for any outdoor travel.
This couple’s living the dream, travelling around Europe – and providing plenty of tips and advice along the way.
We hope you enjoyed our post-lockdown travel adventure guide! Did we miss any cool resources or ideas? Let us know on our socials below 👇
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1 Bill Bryson, Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
2 coolcamping.com, UK Camping Trends Report 2021: What to Expect from Camping in 2021