With a decrease in air travel options during the pandemic, it’s unsurprising that heading out on a vacation by car is such an appealing idea. Many individuals and families are packing their bags, drafting travel plans, and are preparing to hit the road.
However, they are finding it difficult to decide which is better– a road trip or campervanning.
If I just described your situation above, here are some factors to consider before deciding which to pick between the two:
Luggage and Packing Decisions
Road tripping is usually done with a car, leaving limited space for luggage. You can only pack what your trunk can contain and sometimes your back seat if it’s unoccupied.
With campervanning, it’s different. You have the freedom to carry a lot more. You are practically carrying your ‘house’ along when campervanning, with your heaters and toilets along, so you have the space to lug as much stuff as you desire with you.
However, if your campervan is small, you still wouldn’t be able to carry a lot of luggage. Remember to pack the essentials!
You do not have to book hotels or worry about reservations in campervanning because you always have your bed with you. The problem is that you still have to find a suitable parking location, which might pose a challenge depending on your location and its laws.
With road trips, things are different. Reservations for accommodations have to be made, and in some cases, long before your journey begins. Not to mention that you may have to deal with lousy room service, mediocre, unexpected cancellations, or potentially disgusting hotel rooms.
Whether campervanning or road tripping, you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery as you drive. Sometimes, you might want to get away from the wheels and enjoy another type of environment like a hotel room during your journey.
If you are road tripping, you enjoy flexibility. During the day, you get to enjoy the drive and scenery; then, at night, you can stretch your legs and enjoy the comfort and space that comes with a hotel room.
When campervanning, it’s you and your van throughout the journey. It might be difficult being in a cramped space throughout your trip, especially if you have a partner. You are not offered the luxury of a different environment or scene outside of your van.
Potty and Toilet Problems
Traveling is exciting but having to hold in nature’s call for hours is not great. It’s even a bigger problem if you are road tripping or campervanning with kids.
An advantage of campervanning is that it comes with a portable potty so that you can use it at any moment. Although you would have to empty it eventually and finding a suitable location for this might pose an issue. You would have to search for an RV park or a dump station designed for such waste.
It is common knowledge that cars do not come with a portable potty. You have to wait until you arrive at your hotel or locate a public restroom, which can sometimes be risky when traveling to an unfamiliar area. Even so, having continuous bathroom breaks can take away the fun of road tripping.
Food and Meals Prep
Eating is as important as the car or campervan used during the trip. One of the best things about campervanning is food is easily accessible; you can quickly whip up something in the kitchen.
No matter how small the campervan is, there is always room for a tiny kitchen with a cooker, pots, and pans. So at any time, you can prepare something fresh and delicious for yourself.
Unfortunately, you do not have that kind of access to food during road trips. You can carry some snacks, but they cannot replace real food. If there are no restaurants along the way, you would have to drive in hunger, and that is no way to enjoy a trip.
Having to pack and unpack every time you arrive or leave a hotel is quite stressful, but you have no choice when taking a road trip. It’s impossible to leave your belongings in your car when you arrive at your hotel, so the circle continues throughout your journey.
Campervanning saves you all that stress, you only pack once – before you embark on your journey and unpack when you end it.
It is challenging to pick which is more cost-efficient between campervanning and road trips.
While campervanning, you only have to spend money on gas and food while on the road. However, the cost of getting and setting up a campervan can be pretty high. Getting all the necessary items, installing them, and fully furnishing the campervan can be pretty pricy. Although you can rent a campervan, it can still be quite expensive unless you rent from a friend.
Gas conservation is also essential in campervanning. It would be inconvenient to make endless pit stops to get gas for your cooker while on the road.
You spend money on food, gas, and accommodation on road trips. Costs of accommodation vary depending on location, you may have to go above your budget at times.
Accommodation problems might also arise if you have to get emergency accommodation due to weather or climate changes.
So you can either spend your money acquiring a campervan or on accommodation; the decision is yours to make.
Traveling with a campervan gives you complete travel freedom; you can park wherever and whenever.
In certain countries like New Zealand, a campervan gives you access to specific locations restricted to other travelers. You can park the van overnight on a beach, volcanic desert or any awe-inspiring location. This is because the van is a house on wheels, and you can go wherever you want without leaving a trace.
Imagine traveling to a location like the Grand Canyon and parking right in its camp. Then the next day, you only have to walk a few minutes to get to the Canyon. If you were on a road trip, you would park at your hotel and probably struggle with traffic to get to the Canyon the next day.
Traveling in a campervan gives you the liberty to change course if you desire. You have total freedom to make changes to your itinerary.
However, if you are on a road trip, you don’t have that freedom. You can’t just park anywhere or make last-minute changes to your itinerary. You would have to take into consideration the reservations or sleeping arrangements that you’ve already made.
Electricity And Network
While campervanning, you have to conserve your electricity or power on your devices because you may not find a camp to charge. You might also have to struggle to get cellular service or wi-fi, keeping in mind that there is no guarantee that the camp you decide to park provides electricity or wi-fi.
Road trips save you from this problem as electricity and wi-fi are services customarily offered by hotels, so you do not have to worry.
Campervanning gives you access to limited water. After a long, eventful day of maybe driving, sky diving, sightseeing, etc., symptoms of exhaustion could set in, and all you need is a long hot shower. Sadly, you can’t do that in a campervan.
In a campervan, you have to be extremely mindful of how you use water, as the water tank supply is limited and it would be dreadful to be on a trip with absolutely no water left and the next refill station is far away. Not to mention that finding a camp with hot showers would pose some difficulty.
Road trips offer you access to readily available showers at your accommodation. It is comforting to know that after driving long hours, you have the luxury of taking a hot shower or bath.
All in all, campervanning and road-tripping both have their pros and cons. When you decide what works best for you, make sure to stay safe during your journey and make the best of the experience.