How to plan your first caravan trip: your own hotel on the road

Tips to plan your very first road trip in a van from choosing your destination and settling on an itinerary, to budgeting, selecting a vehicle, packing and more.

Ready to plan your summer vacay but short on ideas? A caravan trip is a great way to scratch your travel itch – domestically! First off, why a van instead of taking a road trip with your car? It’s all about the experience! You can get the camping experience without having to, well, sleep on the ground or pitch a tent. A campervan or caravan is going to serve not only as your transportation but also as your kitchen and your lodging – saving you money as you go. Check off the boxes below as you plan your very first caravan trip!

Plan your road trip in a van

Where are you going?

Yeah, it might sound silly, but the very first step in planning your caravan trip is deciding where you want to go! You’ll probably start with a general destination, but the next step will be to focus and come up with a plan. Do your research first and then come up with a rough route to get there. Take into account details like driving times, mileage and stopovers. Keep in mind that the most direct route will most likely be a highway, so if you want to really take in the sights, opt for the scenic route!

Choose a route but stay open to changes

We’re piggybacking off of the last tip here, but it’s important to note: having a plan is great, but don’t live and die by it! A rough itinerary is better than a plan that cannot be tweaked. Stay flexible and unexpected adventures can pop up at any moment. Don’t let yourself get too stressed about following a timeline or sticking to a schedule.

How to plan a caravan trip

What type of vehicle will you travel in?

The time has come to rent your campervan! There are quite a few options out there, so to avoid stress and overwhelm, here are a few questions to ask yourself to narrow down the choices. How many are you? If you’re just a couple, or a couple with 1-2 small children, you can stick to the smaller vans, campers or caravans that attach to the back of your car that sleep 2-4 people. A larger group of adults will definitely need bigger accommodations like a motorhome or RV. How big of a vehicle are you comfortable driving? This is a big one to take into account. A road trip in a van isn’t much different than driving a normal-sized vehicle, however, a full-sized RV or tow-along caravan will require you to feel comfortable driving something much larger.

Budget & meals

One of the best bonuses of having a kitchen attached to your transportation is being able to stick to a budget! While planning your trip think about how many breakfasts, lunches and dinners will make up the entirety of your trip, and make a rough estimate of how many of those will be cooked in the caravan and how many will be eaten out. Take into account things like special delicacies, popular restaurants, or local food only found in a certain place. Knowing this information ahead of time will help you both create and stick to a budget. An onsite kitchen is both easy and convenient, especially if you find yourself in an area without many restaurants around. It also means not having to pull over or stop driving when you can make meals right on the road.

Podcasts and playlists

It’s not a true road trip without a killer playlist! Not to mention hours on the road can lead to boredom if you’re not careful. Set yourself up with a couple of playlists to choose from, and download them ahead of time. If you’re more suited to a good podcast, scout out a few solid ones and download those as well.

How to plan a caravan trip


Perhaps the best bit of advice when it comes to packing for your road trip in a van - Don’t overpack! Just because you don’t have to fit your bag into the overhead compartment of a tiny airplane doesn’t mean you should go crazy with your packing. Stick to the essentials required for your particular journey (Are you hiking? Hiking boots! Are you visiting beaches? Sunscreen and swimsuits! Etc). And don’t forget toiletries, electronics and chargers, and lots of water.

One of our favorite travel accessories to pack for any road trip? The OSTRICHPILLOW Light! This multi-use travel pillow can be worn around your neck or as an eye mask so you can truly relax on your first caravan trip.

You may be sidelined from international travel for a while, but don’t let that get you down! Now is the time to explore what's available right in your own “backyard”, and plan your own caravan trip!

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Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash
Photo by Tania Miron on Unsplash
Photo by Aston Yao on Unsplash
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