Make this year a summer of love in a vintage VW bus

Tara Gould from VWHeritage offers some top tips for a joyful summer in a classic camper.

Whether it’s the earlier Split Screen VW or the later but equally gorgeous Bay Bus, there’s just something about the classic VW camper that can’t be beat. Yes, you may have had one too many summers in it with your grandparents as a child, yes,  you may have spent a small fortune keeping yours on the road, and yes, everyone does seem to want one.  But, there is a certain nostalgic charm and style that makes this vehicle the most appealing camper out there.

The classic VW bus,  built between 1955 and 1979, is a symbol of freedom and the open road.  Small wonder it became synonymous with the surf scene,  1960s hippydom,  and was the chosen vehicle for Bob Dylan’s album covers.

Dub dreams

If you’re dreaming of a piece of the VW love action, you won’t need to break the bank and fork out up to £20,000 for a decent used model, there are now a growing number of classic VW hire companies springing up nationwide to accommodate for the appeal of a UK based camper van vacation.  This Guardian

article covers the best of them while offering useful guidance, and Camperbug  is a campervan hire website, listing some of the loveliest campervans for hire on the internet.

Top tips

When you do start your research though, check for hidden extra costs, such as charges for kitchen equipment or bedding.  If you’re going long distance it’s most economical to choose the unlimited mileage option.  If you’re sticking closer to home, many companies offer a cheaper limited mileage package but be careful – if you go over you may have to pay a substantial fee.

Planning versus spontaneity

Joyful experiences and surprising events often come from being spontaneous. You don’t want to take the fun and adventure out of your trip but not enough planning and you could find yourself stuck on a layby at midnight with screaming kids and no campsite for miles.

Planning your route, journey times and doing a certain amount of research around places to stay or camp will mean there is space left to be explore and be impulsive in between.

Top tips

Plan long drives for times when the children are likely to sleep.

Book the first two or three nights and then leave the rest open for adventure.  Once you’ve arrived you’ll find out the best places to go from the locals.

Go wild in the country

How much room have you got in your bus? The more stuff  you can pack to have fun with the more you’ll enjoy your holiday.  Taking your own equipment will save you money too. Bikes,  a kayak, wetsuits, surf boards, a kite, shove it all in!  Nothing beats wild swimming or kayaking in some of the UKs most beautiful rivers, while off road cycling is something all the family can enjoy.  You’ll enjoy the exercise, connect with nature and  experience that sense of freedom and fun that make for a really memorable holiday.

Top tips

If you’re thinking about wild camping it is a bit of a grey area in the UK.  There will be beautiful remote spits where you can park up and stay for one night, but be prepared for a knock on the window and a police man telling you to move on.  In Scotland though wild camping is allowed, which means you can put up a tent anywhere, but the right to roam act specifically excludes all forms of motorised camping.  It’s a lot more accepted overall though so as long as you respect the environment and don’t make mess or loud noise you’re less likely to be moved on than in the UK. In France a scheme called France Passion, brings together a network of thousands of French farms and vineyards where owners will let you camp on their land for free for holders if you have the guidebook (www.france-passion.com).