Advice, and mistakes to avoid, when resting for a few hours on your camper before resuming your journey.
It may seem obvious, but deciding where and how to rest when you travel by camper, is about taking the right decision, avoiding any possible problem. Where should you rest at night time, how should you move inside camping sites or rest areas, what tips should you follow?
Here are our recommendations.
It is advisable that you give yourself enough time to find your night time resting spot so that you can make sure it does not turn out to be an unpleasant meeting point and so that, if needed, you can still find another area. Very isolated spots or tucked away areas may look romantic but they are best avoided. Also, be careful with places that are too crowded or near sources of disturbance (parking lots near night clubs or stadiums, etc.)
Motorway resting areas are gradually becoming less attractive than they used to be: increasingly crowded and noisy, it is best to assess them on a case by case basis. It is probably better to travel a few more kilometres to find a quiet village with the right spot for your camper, where you would not stand out and would be able to sleep well.
Of course your stationing should not disturb or damage other residents, whether they be other camping guests, motorhomers in other camper spots, or local residents of the area you selected for your free camping. We want respect, and therefore we must be the first ones to show respect.
In the hosting structure (resting areas, camping sites, rural hotels, parking lots), any movement must be at walking pace: for the safety of children who are probably nearby, to avoid pointlessly raising dust, mud or other things that may mess those who had taken their place before you.
If needed, and allowed by the hosting structure, you can connect to the electric grid to re-charge on board batteries and use any appliance needing 220 volts (hair dryer etc.).
You will need a tripolar power cable that is sufficiently long (at least 25 m) and a few plugs to insert in the available socket (multiple plugs, with the right attachments for several countries, are now on sale). From a safety viewpoint, it is important to avoid hasty connections that could result in a short circuit in the event of rain.
If you are free camping, outside an organised structure, remember that this may not be allowed in some countries. It is best to get information before hand and then decide: having the Police wake you up in the middle of the night is not the experience you wanted to go on holiday for!
Even where it is generally permitted (as it is in Italy, under Art. 185, para 2* of the Highway Code), free camping may not be permitted locally, or temporarily, or for some classes of vehicles (not camper vans, for example, but all vehicles above 25 ql.) so even here it makes sense to get information before hand, perhaps from the local police.
It goes without saying that the law does not all allow wedges under the wheels, outside steps or doors and windows opened outward.
Some other small piece of advice: you should try to park your camper on a flat surface, maybe with the help of a little spirit level fixed on the floor, in a point where the driver can see it; you will sleep better, there will be no problems with sink and shower drains and, especially, the fridge will thus work in ideal conditions. If possible, you should place the van in such a way that the sun will never directly hit the side where the fridge is: you will help it work better this way.
You should also avoid making noise that will disturb crews parked near you: you should reduce your use of power generators to a minimum, and certainly only when other people don’t have to share in the emissions.
Also, if there is enough space when you arrive, do not get really close to other parked camper vans: let’s respect their privacy and vital space.
With these recommendations, we want to wish all motorhomers the best on their camper journey (and resting)!