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Get our top tips for saving money on a campervan trip:

By Care Willink

One morning, while in our Escape Campervan, I noticed something that made us love the Escape Campervan type of travel even more. We woke up, made a fire, cooked bacon and eggs in about 20 minutes (meal menu here), and used the next hour to sit by the fire, drinking our coffee, and watching the girls playing around the campsite. When it was time to go, we took about 10 minutes to clean up and leave no trace, closed the Escape Campervan doors and headed out! 

Why am I mentioning this? Because it struck me how our tenting neighbors next to us were making breakfast while we slept in. Then they spent the hour we were sitting by the fire to fold, take down and pack up their car. 

So many times when I talk to people and they mention how they dislike camping, the reason they always give is that it is just too much work! This is one of the main draws to camping in a campervan for me. The time you would have spent packing, setting up and breaking down a tent, instead can be spent doing what you came out there for, to soak in nature and enjoy the outdoors! 

Two girls hugging from inside campervan

Our kids looking out at the mountains from our campervan.

Escape Campervan has done a wonderful job of creating a Packing List HERE. While this covers the essentials, we have a few things to add to help you quickly pack up and go when campervan camping.

Our Favorite Items to Bring for Campervan Camping

Covered mugs-

We love our coffee! Escape Campervan is awesome about having all the dishes you need, including a coffee mug. But if you need a cup of coffee on the go like us, you’ll want to pack a thermos!

Quick-Dry Towels & Shower wipes

These two things are the biggest time saver we have found.  If you do have time for a shower, you sure don’t have time to dry out your towel too.  Make sure it is a quick-dry towel, lay it out during breakfast and it’ll be ready by the time you leave! No time/place to shower? Be sure and bring a pack of shower wipes. You will have a pep in your adventure step if you feel more refreshed!

Hard Shell Luggage-

girl with luggage

Hard shell luggage makes it easy to travel quickly and stow suitcases in campervans.

When packing ahead of time, think through your luggage not only for the airplane but also for your Escape Campervan! For both van types, we bring hard shell cases.  Here’s why:

Big Sur: They roll right under your bed acting as a ‘drawer’ rather than soft luggage bags stuffed under. If we have a Big Sur model we leave the bed down most of the trip helping with the ‘pack up and go’ mentality.

Maverick Model: For the Maverick model, hard shell is even more important to us! We sleep ‘upside down’ compared to the chart you may see, so our heads are by the kitchen area. We place the hardshell cases in the luggage area which then serve as a makeshift night stand. It makes having a glass of wine while looking through pictures of our day that much easier to manage… oh, and all of this while the kids fall asleep! I know, we are brilliant 🙂

We also bring a backpack for each of us to put our extra treasures in.  We put these right up between the front seats. Make sure these have a place for your camera, snacks & activities for quick access during your trip!

Essential Items for Traveling with Young Kids in a Campervan:

Kids in airport in carseats by luggage

Flying with car seats and carrier packs makes it easier to pack up and go with kids.

Carrier Pack
One of the best things we figured out while traveling with kids is bringing a carrier pack for each young child. Airlines view these as a stroller so you shouldn’t have to pay for any extra luggage. It is really convenient to hold your children in while running around in airports and then folding and fitting nicely into your van. Then you also have the packs for any hikes and adventures! This is a huge time saver if you have young kids.

When purchasing a pack-

*Make sure the pack fits your child well. This goes without saying, but think about where the child’s feet and headrest while in the pack. If they fall asleep, will they still be comfortable?

*Make sure it fits YOU the right way.  While it is important it fits your child, be sure it fits your body type.  For me, I’ve learned some are more comfortable for my back than others. Also if you have a shorter torso, certain packs may not be very adjustable and could rest on your hips, making it hard to carry for long periods of time. One suggestion is to borrow some from friends before buying your own. Or trying some out in the store instead of purchasing online.

*Make sure it has a large pocket. Some packs have very small pockets and you are going to regret this! We have everything in there like snacks, drinks, cameras, blankets, sunscreen & more!

*You get what you pay for.  When you are looking around ahead of time be sure and read reviews!

*Airlines see it as a stroller at check-in. However, not all customer service reps who check you in will realize this. Sometimes you have to educate them! 🙂  You should be able to either check it in at the front like a car seat or keep the child in all the way through security and boarding the plane. Also, you can use the pocket as extra packing space!

Car Seats-

If you are in a Big Sur you won’t have to take out the seats to sleep. If you are in a Maverick you will need to take out the seats to make your bed.  This can be challenging to figure out where to put them.  Two ideas: once you are parked for the night and ready to sleep you can put them in the front two seats. If you elect the sleep top carrier add-on (which we LOVE and highly recommend splurging on) you can put the car seats up top. Or you can sleep up top in which case you wouldn’t have to remove the carseats at all! Pat yourself on the back for being brilliant one more time!

mother and daughter on mountain vista

Mother and daughter at the vista of Kings Canyon National Park.

Hope these tricks help on your next adventure and you can “pack up and go” when campervan camping a little bit easier! Also, don’t look down on those who tent… just give them an Escape Campervan flyer to book a campervan and be on your way 😉

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