The Best Countries for Van Camping
Road tripping in a campervan is something every serious traveler should do at least once. These are the five best countries to give it a shot.
Cruising around the country in a campervan is one of the ultimate travel fantasies for many people. Thanks to the abundance of van rentals, making that a reality is easier than ever!
The U.S. is a great place for campervan road trips, but several other countries also offer the scenery, infrastructure, and vehicle availability for a great van camping road trip. Why not see the glaciers of Iceland’s Ring Road or experience the safari wildlife of South Africa’s Kruger National Park while driving a van with your friends?
Campervans come with built-in beds, which means they can serve as your ride and your hotel room all at once. Most have cooking equipment, so you can buy food on your journey and prepare it instead of spending big bucks to dine out. In expensive countries, renting a van can be a wise financial move in addition to being just plain cool!
The large size of vans allows travelers to store up lots of supplies, a necessity if you’re in a remote place like the mountain states of the U.S. or the Australian Outback. Bring a bag that holds a lot of personal items while taking up little space in the van, such as a wheeled duffel or a large hand-held duffel, and keep small items organized in packing sets.
Van rental prices vary depending on season and location, but expect to pay at least $100-200 USD (€90-180) per day. That’s why it’s ideal to have a couple friends come along on any campervan journey.
These five countries offer the most conveniences for travelers who are ready for a van camping adventure.
America is one of the best countries in the world for road trips since it has so many different types of scenery, from the deserts of the Southwest to forested national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Just about anywhere there’s a road, you’ll find a campground or RV park within driving distance, so there’s never a shortage of places to park the van for the night.
While there aren’t any bad road trips in the U.S., some of the most popular drives include Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, the route from the Grand Canyon to Utah’s five national parks, the Pacific Coast Highway, the Alaska Highway, and Great River Road from Minnesota to Louisiana along the Mississippi River.
For multiple reasons, Iceland might be the world’s most ideal country for van camping. Lodging, rental cars, restaurants are all very expensive on the island. Renting a campervan takes care of all these needs and lets you easily store everything you’ve packed. You can also prepare some meals in the van using cheaper grocery store foods instead of eating out all the time.
Beyond that, Iceland’s natural beauty is hard to beat. The country has thousands of waterfalls, plus geysers, mountains, glaciers, and black sand beaches. You’ll want to pull over repeatedly while traveling the Ring Road, so having a van is much more convenient than taking a bus or doing a guided tour.
Australia is another country that offers a myriad of epic van camping road trip options.
Depart from Melbourne and head down to the Great Ocean Road that runs along the winding and rugged southern coast. Or take the Legendary Pacific Coast drive from Brisbane to Sydney for rolling hills and fantastic beaches.
Or get really daring and spend at least a week driving more than 1,700 miles (2,735km) through the Australian Outback on Outback Way. Here you can see some of the most remote parts of the continent, including the famous Uluru rock formation.
Parts of the area are desolate, so you’ll be happy to have a large van stocked up with plenty of food, water, and entertainment options for your spare time. Much of Outback Way is unpaved, but that adds to the adventure, right? Just make sure to rent a four-wheel drive van for this trip to handle the rough conditions.
Like Iceland, New Zealand holds a lot of appeal for campervan travelers. The roads here aren’t especially crowded, and the country has an abundant supply of campsites, some of which are free! Add in the wealth of impressive natural landscapes, and you have an awesome road tripping destination.
Many of the best areas in New Zealand are also the most remote. Having a van will give you maximum flexibility to adjust your route to take in the scenery as much as possible, stopping at any campground that happens to be nearby so that you can use those as launching points for any of the country’s greatest walks. Popular attractions include: Franz Josef Glacier, Abel Tasman National Park, Milford Sound, Lake Wakatipu, and the country’s vineyards.
Only one country on this list gives you the opportunity to see elephants and lions in the wild! Make your safari dreams come true by renting a campervan and driving around South Africa. The van will give you the freedom to visit famous national parks like Kruger and Garden Route, as well as the urban centers of Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Another bonus: South Africa is on the more affordable side when it comes to van rentals. The neighboring country of Namibia is also a good place for van camping, but it’s a bit more challenging there due to poorer road conditions and fewer van rental options.
Some countries have passed laws restricting where travelers in vans and motorhomes can park overnight, so check the country’s latest regulations to park in a safe and legal place.
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