Our Top 5 Tips for a Long-Term Road Trip in a Camper Van

There’s nothing like the sense of freedom and adventure that comes with heading out on a long road trip. And covering more miles means more places to see, people to meet, and songs to sing with your fellow van mates (or to your canine companion). Booking a long-term camper van rental is a great way give yourself a true taste of vanlife and a lovely extended vacation at the same time.

For many in the GoCamp community, long stints on the road are the norm. One of GoCamp’s vanlife community members, Leanna, rented out a Ford E-250 custom camper van for 31 days. She picked up her van in San Diego and then settled in to stay a while with her two best friends by her side.

“I rented for 31 days. It felt like a perfect length of time to really settle into a routine of doing everyday life on the road with two dogs while experiencing the full range of joy and challenges of it all. It was more of a long-term vacation, but I often imagined what I’d need to run my business in that setting. Not needing a reliable connection or structure to my day was a real treat, but those elements would be very doable also.”

A GoCamp camper van travels on dirt roads through a red rock canyon

Renting a camper van for your big adventure offers a level of comfort that a standard vehicle doesn’t. We’re talking expanded gear storage, a comfortable bed wherever you park, and a full kitchen setup to whip up your favorite meals. And what could be better than that?

Whether you’re planning a week-long trip across the country or a month-long road trip like Leanna, make sure you’re prepared before you hit the road. Here are five tips on what to pack and how to stay clean, healthy, safe, and entertained during a long-term camper van trip.

How to Pack for a Long-Term Camper Van Rental

GoCamp’s impressive fleet of curated camper vans offer a wide variety of amenities like modern tech, reliable power systems, and cozy areas where you can relax.

With all our vans, one thing you can always count on is plenty of storage space! That means you can bring along extra outfits, snacks, comfort items, and your favorite outdoor gear, and still have room to spare. 

As Leanna traveled across the Southwest, she appreciated how her camper van was the ultimate experience in transitional living. She’d pick a place, stretch out, enjoy a snack, and head somewhere new. She even had an unexpected stop!

“Sedona was a last-minute addition — the hikes, people, and magical energy vortexes kept me there a week! My mom joined our circus from Salt Lake City to Denver, and we experienced sleeping in single-digit temps in Wyoming and white-knuckling whiteouts in the Rockies.”

Leanna was able to take it easy throughout her trip (even during stressful moments) because she was ready with all the essentials. As you’re stocking up for your long-term camper van trip, don’t leave these items off your list:

  • A paper map. You’ll appreciate having one of these when you hit remote spots or lose service when your GPS map isn’t fully downloaded.
  • First aid kit. Not having what you need for even the smallest nick can sour a day.
  • Car phone charger. You’d be hard-pressed to find a camper van that doesn’t have ports to plug into.
  • Garbage bags. Leave No Trace
  • A couple extra rolls of toilet paper. Just to be on the safe side.
  • Cans of bug spray. Nothing worse than getting bit while you’re trying to relax outdoors.
  • Reusable water bottle and travel mug. Make it easy to stay hydrated (or caffeinated) and be eco-friendly.
  • Extra layer of clothing. Weather can be tricky and high altitudes can get chilly. Bring a fleece or sweater for when the temps drop.
  • Back-up water. This may feel obvious, but it’s an important one.
  • Car roadside emergency kit. You’re sure to have an incident-free trip, but it never hurts to be prepared.
  • Climate-specific items. If you’re traveling during the winter, bring along items like an ice scraper, shovel, and tire chains. 

If your time on the road calls for a bit of the digital nomad life, camper vans such as Lady Luna offer optional add-ons like hotspots and cell phone signal boosters. Plus, enjoy some pretty rad views while you wrap up your work day. Create a mobile office space and don’t miss a beat while you travel!

How to Keep Up With Your Hygiene on Your Road Trip

Spending extended time on the road or camping requires some sacrifices. But unlike traditional camping, renting a van for a road trip means the opportunity to stay clean during your adventures.

Many of the vans included in our fleet feature awesome amenities for keeping yourself clean like FlexSpace™ Wet Baths, HALO™ Hidden Shower Systems, and portable toilets and innovative shower systems inside the van. Some vans like Raleigh have all three included!

And many of our camper van rentals also have outdoor showers built in for a quick rinse after a dip in the ocean or a hot day on the trails. 

Other things you can do to stay fresh while on the road include:

  • Packing extra underwear, socks, and t-shirts. Even if you have to skip a shower, fresh undergarments and shirts will help you feel fresh.
  • Don’t forget your toiletries. Whether it’s deodorant, face wash, a razor, or dry shampoo, bring the things that make you feel comfortable.
  • Bring an extra towel. Towels can get dingy rather quickly!
  • Cleaning wipes. For in-between showers — make sure they’re biodegradable.
  • Brush your teeth! Just a reminder.

Staying clean while you travel helps keep you in a positive mood and makes your time on the road more enjoyable. Your fellow travel mates will thank you, too!

Find Comfort and Peace in Your Camper Van Rental

When you choose to live in a van, you’re opting for an exciting and unique way of life. You have ultimate nomadic freedom, while still enjoying the creature comforts of home. 

All our camper vans offer amenities like running water, electricity or solar power, kitchen appliances, and ample storage for your goods. And whether you’re traveling solo or with friends or family, each camper van is designed to fit your needs. 

Funner, a Mercedes-Benz camper van, can fit up to five people comfortably. Each person has a comfy place to sit and hang out and a place to retreat to for a peaceful night’s sleep.

When we’re feeling social, one of our favorite things to do is get a game night going by swiveling the front seats to face the back. Or if you’re feeling some quiet time, pull out your camping chairs for a tranquil night by the fire. Whatever the vibe, our camper vans deliver!

Maintain Your Health While on the Road

Cruising the open road with the wind in your hair and your favorite snacks within reach is one of the many highlights to look forward to during your long-term camper van trip. But between all the fun, it’s important to make time for the foods and activities that keep you healthy and functioning at your best. 

  • Pack healthy snacks. Veggies, fruits, and foods packed with protein and good fats will keep your mind sharp while behind the wheel.
  • Prepare nutritious meals when you’re camping. Thanks to the spectacular kitchens in each of our vans, you have everything you need to whip up delicious and nourishing meals. Vans like Van Luca are stacked with things like extra counter space, convection ovens, spice racks, and plates and utensils.
  • Get some exercise! Try to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. Find a trail near your campsite to explore, swim some laps in the lake, or explore a new town by foot or bike.
  • Take driving breaks. Sitting for too long can negatively impact your health by increasing your blood pressure, weakening your muscles, and putting pressure on your spine. Give your body a break and stretch out to keep your circulation flowing and your muscles from cramping up.
  • Pack extra sunscreen. Your skin health is important, too! 

Sleep well. Getting enough rest while you’re traveling is also super important. While it’s exciting to be on the move, you can’t fully enjoy yourself if you’re constantly feeling worn down.

Pay Attention to the Upkeep of Your Camper Van

When you rent a camper from GoCamp, each owner takes extra steps to ensure that you’re pulling out of their driveway in a reliable vehicle. But once those keys are in your hands, it’s up to you to keep an eye on the upkeep while you’re traveling.

While many GoCamp vans are fully equipped and road trip ready, there are some things you’ll want to either ask about or bring along, just in case:

  • If you plan to bring your canine companion, make sure you rent a van that’s pet friendly
  • Ask about an extra key. Things happen, and you don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. Keep the extra key in the glove compartment or somewhere safe.
  • Bring a jug of coolant. If you’re traveling in hot temperatures, this could come in handy.
  • Store a quart of oil. This is likely something you wouldn’t need, but if you do, it’s best to have it handy.
  • Wiper fluid. Windshields get dirty very quickly when you’re traveling long distances at a time. Have this on hand just in case you run out!
  • Portable gas container. You’re sure to hit long stretches without gas stations — this should give you some peace of mind.
  • Cover yourself with roadside assistance. If you don’t have your own, GoCamp will provide you with 24-hour support.

By taking care of your rental camper van, your trip will be much more enjoyable, and the owners of the van will appreciate you being such a respectful driver!

Stay Entertained on the Road

Road trips can take you on all kinds of twists and turns. And while music, podcasts, and conversations can fill the time, several days on the road can get tiresome.

Over the years, we’ve picked up some tips and tricks for what to do when boredom strikes — especially when you have kids in tow.

From game ideas and outdoor activities to how you can spend special occasions and life events on the road, check out our favorite things to do in a camper van.


Do you offer discounts for long-term rentals?

Give us a call to discuss your trip. It varies by van, but we are often able to offer discounts on trips greater than 10 or 14 days.

Call and talk to a real human at 503-327-8512.

5 comments on “Our Top 5 Tips for a Long-Term Road Trip in a Camper Van

  1. Candace Vassalluzzo on

    I am considering a month long adventure for the month of June 2021 and wanted to find out more specifics. I would most likely be getting the van in either Portland or Denver.

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