Campervan holidays are great fun and that makes the chance to hire a campervan for the first time a very appealing prospect. But before you take the plunge to hire a campervan there are a number of things you need to take into consideration to help you choose which vehicle to hire, where to go, how to plan your journey and how long you want to be away. Here the campervan insurance experts at Sterling offer their 10 top tips to consider before you hire a campervan for the first time. Your first time to hire a campervan? Tip 1 If it’s your first time to hire a campervan you probably won’t really know what to expect. It’s best not to plan a four week tour of the Scottish Highlands for your maiden campervan voyage. Plan a little more modestly, perhaps a long weekend away, and head for somewhere a little closer to home. You will travel more slowly in the camper than in your regular car so for your first trip out don’t plan to travel more than a couple of hours from home. That’ll be about 100 miles if the traffic is kind to you and most people live within that sort of distance from an area of outstanding natural beauty, such as the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, Exmoor and Dartmoor in Devon, the Peak District in Derbyshire, The New Forest in Hampshire… the list goes on and on. Tip 2 Driving the campervan isn’t like driving your day car. As explained in #Tip1, you will make slower progress and acceleration will probably not be as responsive as in your regular car. When you hire a campervan for the first time it’s also worth remembering the vehicle will be both longer and taller than your car, so beware those low bridges and hanging branches you will come across in country lanes. Parking can also be a problem though most people find reversing an easy manoeuvre by virtue of the van being flat at the back window. Tip 3 Check what’s being provided by the company you’re renting from. The last thing you want to do is set out after you hire a campervan for the first time only to discover there are no cooking utensils or something else you were relying on is no longer being supplied. When you collect the campervan you should be provided with a full inventory of everything you will find inside for you to use. Tip 4 Remember campervans are not particularly roomy so, if the campervan sleeps four or even six, it might well be a bit of a squeeze. Consider taking a tent or awning too, which will give you a little bit more space in which to unwind and store your holiday gear. Whatever vehicle you choose when you hire a campervan, be it a classic VW camper, a Mazda Bongo, Toyota Previa or self build camper conversion, the designers make the best use of the space available meaning there are lots of fold outs and pop ups, but an overcrowded caravan will feel like it’s shrinking if the weather is inclement and you are stuck indoors! Tip 5 Pack very carefully. Very heavy items should be packed on the floor of the camper and nothing should be left out on the sides but stored in the correct places when you are on the move. If you pull up suddenly you won’t want a half full bottle of milk thudding you in the back of the head because it had been left sitting on the kitchen drainer. Tip 6 When you book a campervan site check to see if you have a reserved pitch. If you don’t have a reserved pitch, you may find a great spot in which to settle only to find someone else has nabbed it later in the day when you have gone out to explore in the van. Tip 7 Invest in a rack and take a couple of bikes on your trip. Cycling is a great way to explore the country and the coast and it will mean you won’t have to move the van when you have secured that prime pitch in the campsite. Tip 8 Aim to arrive at your site in good daylight. If you are hire a campervan you probably won’t be too familiar with its features so it’s best to get to know them in good visibility. It will also help you find a good spot to pitch and, especially if you have a tent or gazebo to erect too, the last thing you will want is to be sorting through tent poles and guy ropes in the dark when you are tired and hungry. Tip 9 If you hire a campervan for the first time you will have a whole new world of catering to consider. Campervan kitchens are limited – mostly consisting of just two rings – but with a little forethought you can rustle up some wonderful meals. Research one-pot meals that you can cook (that reduces your washing up too) and take key ingredients with you – you won’t want to waste time food shopping if you are only away for the weekend! You could also invest in a campervan cookbook before your trip. Tip 10 Last, have a blast. There’s very little in this world that provides the sense of freedom that is offered by a campervan holiday. You can get up close and personal with the great outdoors, explore coast and country at close quarters and breath bracing fresh air. You will love it, the kids will love it and, oh yes, you can take the dog too! Peace of mind for you and your campervan Sterling is a specialist insurance provider offering campervan cover for short breaks in the UK. Their policies are perfect for when you’re exploring the world in comfort and style when you hire a campervan. If you do decide it’s the life for you and you hire a campervan, give Sterling a call to find out how much you could save: 0344 381 9990.