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Top tips on how to holiday off the beaten track

British families are expected to staycation this year with one domestic trip booked very 11 seconds immediately after lockdown was lifted, according to one report.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has teamed up with camping expert Martin Dorey to compile a list of top tips on how and where to holiday off-grid in your campervan this summer.

Online interest in its California campervan and new, larger Grand California, soared by up to 250% since March 2020 when lockdown began, giving Volkswagen a unique insight into the holiday market.

So, whether you’re a first-timer, or just a little rusty, environmentalist and author of the Take the Slow Road travel series, The Camper Van Bible and Cookbook, Martin Dorey, has this advice:

Top tips for campers:

  1. MAKE FRIENDS: Wild camping is truly wonderful. But you do need to do it properly. Get permission from the landowner, park up where instructed and be nice to everyone. In a socially distanced way, of course.
  2. PACK LIGHT. Take what you need and no more. Even in a big vehicle with plentiful storage like the Grand California, keeping tidy is the key to keeping calm. Too much clutter just gets in the way, causes arguments and raises stress levels.
  3. DO YOUR CHECKS: Have you got enough gas, water and food to last you a few days off the beaten track? Empty your grey waste tank before you go as well.
  4. RESEARCH A LITTLE: Books, maps and apps are your friend when it comes to planning an off-grid adventure. Read up a little and get to enjoy more of what you love. Seek out the secret places and find your own slice of paradise.
  5. ON THE LEVEL? An easy way to check if the van’s level (for the BEST night’s sleep ever) is to half-fill a glass of water and put it on the table. Bingo! A DIY spirit level. The new Volkswagen California T6.1 has a built-in inclinometer to check if you’re on level ground, with the new feature accessed via the touchscreen.
  6. PLAN A WASH AND BRUSH UP STOP: Going to a campsite with fresh water, emptying facilities and washrooms every few days will help you to stay out longer. Plan a night on a (Caravan and Motorhome Club) site and set yourself up for the next few days of blissful, off-grid camping.
  7. A RESTFUL NIGHT: Eye mask and ear plugs? You don’t need them! The Grand California and California have black out blinds that will let you snooze on until dawn. But if the dawn chorus does wake you? Go with the flow. Make a cuppa, sit on the step and fall in love with nature. That’s what wild camping is all about.
  8. COOKING UP A STORM: Eat fresh. Eat local. Pack staples like rice and spuds, plus some useful spices (Smoked Paprika, 5 Spice) and pick up delicious, local and fresh produce along the way. Simple is best with great ingredients.
  9. LEAVE IT NICER! Clear up when you arrive and before you leave. This is really important! If anyone thinks you’re the cause of mess you won’t be welcome back. And neither will the rest of us. Thank you!
  10. GET OUT THERE!!! Whatever it is you love to do – go and do it! Walking, cycling, kayaking, surfing or just lazing by the river. Wild camping puts you right there.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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