We’ve had our first week (actually 5 nights) away in Betsy our campervan (in Looe, Cornwall) and whilst I’m pretty confident we’d all say we love her to bits I’m not sure we’d all say we’d love to have week long stays (at least in this country)!
Weekends have mostly been great so far but this week has definitely made us wonder…… is campervanning for us?
What’s putting us (me) off?
Holidaying in the UK means the weather is unpredictable and can be just bloody wet! Not much fun when you’ve got to walk to the toilet block in the middle of the night, turn driver seats around, or put the awning up.
Even when the awning was up this week after an afternoon of fairly heavy rain there was a bit of a stream coming in, meaning you have to use towels/cloths to dry it off and then you have to wait until it’s dry outside for them to dry off (or use the onsite dryers (£1 per 15mins where we were staying).
Shoes need to be chosen carefully as well. I took wellies, canvas pumps, flip flops and some cheap espadrilles that I thought would be ideal for walking around the campsite. Apart, from the wellies, none of these are great in rain and as we were on a grass pitch when it rained my shoes were soaked. Yes, I could of worn my wellies but they’re fluffy inside and it really wasn’t cold. I need some croc type shoes (but I can’t stand them on adults!!)
Our lovely VW on its own is not spacious. It’s our living-come-dining-come-kitchen-come-bedroom in a van with 2 adults (not small) and 2 young, bouncy children (small). If it’s raining, cold and the awning is not up, then it can be quite a squeeze.
The cupboards under the hob are not easy to get into with four in the van and for some reason children always seem to be where you want to be!
Having an awning with us for the week definitely helped. It’s got two pods in it where we could store the car seats, clothes and toys.
We had the table from the VW California in the awning so we could use it as a dining table or the children could use it to play on if the weather wasn’t great outside. This did really help with the space.
The children are too excited to go to sleep and if it’s cold or raining we have to sit in with them waiting for them to go to sleep. I’d envisaged evenings sitting outside in the warm air drinking a beer or two, not happened so far. But maybe it’s just us as even as typing at 11.30pm on the campsite I can hear others chatting outside in their awnings?
We really need to do better at this!
However, although the children were going to sleep later they were also waking up later so I can’t really complain!!
Not enough plates/cutlery/glasses
At home we literally bung everything in the dishwasher, we have very few items that won’t go in there. Whilst I don’t mind the actual washing up, you have to be organised with the washing up and do it soon after eating items otherwise we don’t have enough plates/cutlery etc to eat off.
Obviously due to space, we only have a limited amount of plates, cutlery and glasses. We have a few spare items that we could have taken this week and really should have, but I’d not remembered to put the extra items in. Doh!
I like to think I’m fairly organised so the childrens underwear were in one bag, mine in another, sleeping clothes in another bag and then another bag of everyday clothes. I also had a backpack with all our (mostly mine!!) tolietries so they were easy to get to.
I’m not a fan of living out of a bag though, children on the other hand are probably quite oblivious as they are quite often handed their clothes to wear at home anyway! I’m not sure how you can overcome this, just a mindset I suppose.
Makeup and hair
I know does it really matter? Make-up I can do fine but most weekends I’ve been away I’ve ended up with a bush on my head. The hairdryers on the Looe site this weekend were the ones attached to the wall and I’m not sure there is anywhere that you can plug your own appliances in. OK so really not big issues but looking ok makes me feel better and helps me to enjoy the camping experience more!
Packing up for a day Out
Although our campsite in Looe was fine with a lovely warm outdoor pool, there wasn’t enough to keep us occupied in the day. Well me at least, I get quite itchy feet being in one place all day.
The children were very happy to play with our “neighbours” children when they were around in the day but they too went out for parts of the day and there are plenty of places in Cornwall that I was keen to visit on this trip.
Going out for a day meant packing up the campervan (the duvets and pillows got put away each morning anyway), the childrens car seats needed to be put back in the van, front seats had to be turned around and the awning shut back up. I suppose it just takes thought each day.
We really needed to be a bit more organised with food as again there is only so much you can keep in the fridge. It’s not a bad size but we really needed to meal plan a bit more as there was only a small selection of food in the on-site shop.
I guess if you get organised and do it frequently you just get used to it.
Will we keep campervanning?
After all that whinging about how terrible life is in the camper, I don’t think we are ready to give up yet. We’ve got various weekends booked that we’re looking forward to (I can definitely cope with a weekend living out of a bag).
We’d also like to try and stay on a site that is really close to the beach, maybe in Europe so we don’t have to pack up the campervan each day.
Have you got any tips for longer breaks in a campervan?