Holidays In Van Califorina?

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The holidays in nomadic mode are a real puff of happiness and freedom …

On the occasion of the event Befit (sporting event), we decided to go to Aix-les-Bains and to do half-wild camping, half-comfort.

First of all, if you want to do tourism in Aix les bains, here are some useful links to prepare your stay: the tourist office of Aix les bains , the 5 unusual visits to Aix les Bains Riviera of the Alps ,  recipes typical not to be missed and the wine route of Savoie .

You will find here all the useful tips to spend pleasant holidays in van taking advantage of the nature. Small precision, we have a VW California T6 van.

  • In the van, it is possible to sleep anywhere. The gauge of a van (2 meters high) makes it possible to pass under most car parks, which allows, depending on the place, access to the seaside and to enjoy the landscape more easily.
  • Take advantage of the ”  off season “, so you will be less crowded and more likely to find the perfect place to stay.
  • Prepare a minimum your stay, even if wild camping is really disconnecting, sometimes it is very nice also to enjoy facilities (sanitary, aquatic, sports …) especially in the campsites. Take some coordinates before departure. There is also a well-known mobile application ”  park 4 night  ” which gives information on places (sometimes idyllic) where one can park in the wild.
  • In my opinion, 2 guides are essential to have with you : the guide Acsi (around 20 € for one year) which gives very interesting discounts in the campsites throughout Europe (the night will be between 11 € and 19 €) August. The guide France Passion which is awesome because it allows to sleep with the farmers or the areas that offer the accommodation on the ground for free (the guide costs about 24 € for one year).
  • In van, you have to be minimalist , no question of bringing your house back on vacation. Take the essentials at the clothing level: warm clothing, a beach outfit, an evening outfit and a sports outfit. Also, fast drying towels (Decathlon’s are perfect), and if you plan to stay in the mountains, make sure you have a good feather duvet (if you sleep in the roof of the van).
  • For more comfort, you can use the stationary heating of the van (which pumps in the diesel), it heats very well, consumes little, and runs the engine off. The recent vans are equipped with it. You can also invest in a heating Soléa (minimalist and heater well).
  • Same, if one sleeps in the raisable roof, one must think that one will breathe the good air of nature while sleeping. Just remember to check (if you are allergic) that the chosen period is not pollen because otherwise you will not sleep well in the lift. You can also have an air quality meter.
  • Having the badge for the toll booth is also very practical, but be careful to go to the right places (because the van is 2 meters high).
  • Equipment level, having the hard plastic tableware is ideal , because otherwise hello noise as soon as you take a turn. Also a must-have is folding tableware ( folding salad bowl, folding bowl, salad wringer … from Outwell or Alice Delice for example). In the same register, everything that is non-slip is great.
  • Electricity level, the van is equipped with 3 batteries that recharge while rolling. However if you stay stationary for a long time, invest in a small solar panel Aukay. Even if the recent vans are equipped with power outlet, you will not be able to plug everything on. The reason is simple, your small electric meter will not have enough power and you risk “blowing the pellets” and at worst setting it on fire. Be careful. For information, a laptop can be plugged in without any problems, making sure that the outlet does not become hot. In nomad mode, you will not be able to connect an electric coffee maker for example, you will not have enough power. On the other hand, in camping, you can connect your van (the van has a big outside socket) to the electric meter located on the camping site. So, by being connected to the meter, you can use your coffee maker without worries. To connect to the campsite,
  • If you stay in a campsite, investing in a floor mat is also a little comfort, which will save you from bringing land (and others) back into the van. The Trigano rugs are very resistant to size 2,50m x 4.50 m and 450g / m2 (for this to be quite thick).
  • Even if the van is equipped with a fridge, sink, and gas hob, having a small gas stove is great for cooking outdoors including frying or other. Personally I use a lot of Marion Vitalizer (a great steamer) and doing it outdoors is very convenient.
  • Level personal hygiene, mesdame, I strongly advise the ”  piss standing “, sincerely, it is very very practical, especially in van. For the toilets, the van is not equipped with toilet on board, you have the choice between the chemical wc (the Porta Potta are very good and small) or a folding seat in dry toilets (type Bog in a bag with compostable bags), it’s up to you to see what is simplest and most practical.
  • For the shower, you can either make a cat toilet by heating a little water or take a shower in the trunk of the van (once opened, the trunk has a plug connected to the water and you plug in the shower head). If you are modest or do not want to wash in a swimsuit, add a tent suitable for the safe and you will have a perfect shower area. In camping, you will have showers, think of having fangs or flip-flops.
  • One of the biggest concerns when camping wild is to get water . You have in most vans landscaped a reserve of 35 liters of water. If you are careful and are 2 to live on board, you will be able to hold 3 days. You find water in the service areas (eg on the motorway), you have blue markers in some supermarkets (next to service stations), or you can go to the cemeteries glamorous, but practical in case of need). Have a soft can and a funnel to fill your van with water, or even better, a retractable pipe. Having an emergency jerricane is also handy.
  • From a laundry hygiene point of view, you can either go to the laundromats , the campsites or do it by hand. There is the washing machine from Scrubbathat works without electricity (I have not tested it but it looks powerful). The only downside is that you can not put large quantities in it. I recommend you always have a clothesline with you, which you can hang between 2 trees.
  • For the interior cleaning of the van, the brush is your best friend !! It is perfect for removing dust and dirt. To pass the floorcloth, take special wipes floor type St Marc with bleach, and a small brush, that is more than enough.
  • Is it possible to travel in a van with children? Yes of course, the California T6 is equipped with 2 beds (one at the top when the roof is raised and one at the bottom). You can easily sleep at 4. Some people will say that the space is too small, certainly, it’s not a 50m2 but a 5m2. The experience and adventure of the van is to live outside. Your garden can thus extend to infinity. We met some couples with toddlers delighted with their adventure. Ditto for animals, they adapt easily to this way of life.
  • Van vintage or modern van? I love vintage vans, but our choice has turned to a recent California VW van. We are not do-it-yourselfers or mechanics, and we wanted a vehicle that could travel long distances without breaking down.

Good road to all and be careful. Think that a van is heavy, you do not roll in the same way in a van as in a car. The braking delays are lengthened. Take the time, you are on vacation …

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