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Looking back at 80 days of vanlife in Europe | camper tips from practice

During our roadtrip by Tuscany we have passed the limit of 80 days of travel. Absolute milestone for us, because we original world trip unfortunately had to interrupt after +/- 70 days. A good moment to reflect on all the beautiful things we have already seen and done during vanlife in Europe with camper Fred. What have we learned so far from life on the road? Believe us, there are so many things that we wish we had known before the trip, that we are happy to share these camper tips with you.

Also read: Traveling in corona time | Stuck during the Lockdown in Greece

Camper tips from practice

Tip 1: orientate yourself on gas filling options

Gas is pretty much what we use most in the RV. Whether it's for cooking or heating up water to do the laundry, shower or do the dishes. It's something we can't live without. Many motorhomes also have a refrigerator that works on gas. So far, the gas bottle with us has emptied twice. (because the first bottle went half full on a trip, not so handy…) Both times it was a hassle to fill. 

At home, we didn't really think about this. We thought that such a gas bottle could be filled anywhere, or that we could simply exchange it. This is not so easy at all! The gas bottles all have a different connection in the different European countries. As a result, you need adapters to connect another gas bottle. And refilling the gas in our original Dutch gas bottle is prohibited in many countries. 

Also read: 2 months of traveling through Italy: our absolute highlights

Reisstel.nl | camper tips from practice | gas bottles
Reisstel.nl | Camper tips from practice | LPG outside filling installation

During our stay in Switzerland, this resulted in us having to go all the way back to Germany to buy a new gas cylinder. And this week during our stay in Italy, after a long struggle we finally received a new gas bottle incl. adapter. But the filling opening turned out not to be on the right side, so the bottle did not fit in the intended place in our camper. Top! 

Finally, we called our Italian friends to help us translate. Fortunately, we were still able to have the current gas bottle refilled. Our camper tip is therefore, consider an LPG tank with an outside filling installation. Partly because we have already encountered several vanlifers with this solution. You can have these filled in almost all countries and that makes it much easier! 

Also read: How to: Buy or convert a campervan

Tip 2: the luxury of a hot shower

The next vanlife tip is about showering. It's something you don't think about at home, but it's such an enormous luxury. When we left with our camper Fred it was still high summer and the temperatures were nice and warm. Our idea for a outdoor shower incl. self-manufactured shower cubicle, seemed perfect. During these hot days it was wonderful to cool off in our bikinis. But the colder days soon followed and the moments to take a nice cold shower really decrease. 

Of course we can heat a pan of water on the fire and mix the hot and cold water to make a warmer shower. But, how much would you love to hang your shower in a city parking lot and stand under it? Of course we are not just in the dream spots between the vineyards, where it is a pleasure to take a shower in nature. 

We were very happy that our new vanlife friends invited us to take a shower in their camper 'Jits' this week. We hadn't showered in 1,5 weeks! We were perplexed! This motorhome is about the same size as Fred, but laid out so efficiently. There is just a bathroom in it, incl. HOT shower. What a luxury, what a pleasure. Even Erik (with a length of about 2 meters) could take a shower standing here. This got us thinking, where can we make a bathroom in Fred? Another vanlife tip that you don't want to miss.

Tip 3: levellers for a level result

In fact, during the first nights of sleeping in camper Fred, we found out that we were super happy that we had levellers and a spirit level on our trip. Nothing is more annoying than sleeping crooked, cooking crooked and going to the toilet crooked (which keeps the valve closed). In the beginning it was quite a mess with driving on the levelers. 'further, further, further, stop!' and just at that moment Fred just drove back a bit so that we could start again. 

Reisstel.nl | Vanlife in Europe | camper supplies
Reisstel.nl | What have we learned from life on the road? † Levelers and spirit level

We have now become real pros in setting up the levellers and Fred is level in no time. What we soon found out is that the height of the levelers was often just not enough, so we started messing around with an extra block of wood under the levelers for extra height. And now you may already feel it coming, this isn't going well for long. One of our levellers broke this week! So now we have to look for new ones. And that's where our tip comes in: provide quality levellers that offer sufficient height and are strong enough. 

These three campervan tips are just a fraction of everything we've learned so far from life on the road. Are you curious about more practical tips? Check out the blog on our website, in which we 15 essential RV essentials parts. Our previous blogs on wereldreizigers.nl are here to find. Hi!

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Dutch travel couple Erik & Lisa
Europe vanlife with Fred ?
Sold our house and quit jobs for adventure
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