Traveling via camper van is arguably not for everyone. Still, there are plenty of up-sides to bringing your abode with you as you explore the countryside (or an entire country). At the same time, not everything about mobile living is Insta-worthy.

Though you might see your favorite IG influencer glamming it up in their cross-country camper travels, that's not always the reality. In truth, some aspects of camper van living are really tough (and don't even get us started on traveling with kids this way!).


To help you decide whether camper travel is worth a try, we'll explore the pros and cons of traveling this way.

All Your Stuff Is Onboard

While it's convenient to not pack and unpack your belongings at every stop (sorry, backpackers), camper travel also means you've got to haul everything everywhere.

Pro? No baggage to haul, and you only unpack once you get home. You can bring treasures from home without worrying about security—just lock up before you head out anywhere. You can actually put things away, too, instead of piling stuff up and sitting on your suitcase to get it to squish in.

Con? You literally have to bring your house when you go on day trips. After all, a "camper van" is not a fifth wheel or travel trailer. Camper vans are the type you drive, with your bed, bath, and beyond in the backseat! So, that means anytime you stop, you might not fit in a standard parking space. Even if your vehicle fits, local authorities might watch you suspiciously to make sure you're not illicitly camping overnight.

It's Tight Quarters... For Everyone

Existing in a small space is "in" right now. But at what cost? When you're traveling, you need space to enjoy your downtime. And while a potentially gross hotel room or hostel quarters may not give a ton of amenities, you can probably walk across the room, at least.

In a camper van, you're elbow-to-elbow with your partner or traveling companion—and the portable toilet. Which may not be an issue if you're traveling solo...

It's nice that you don't have to leave the "room" to cook, change clothes, or use the bathroom... But it's also annoying to not have room to stretch your arms out.

Pit Stops Are No Problem... Most Of The Time

Having a toilet onboard is an amazing option. But not all camper vans have a portable potty—which can make the hygiene aspect of camper van-ing it a problem. Of course, if you do have a toilet, you can pull off the side of the road and use it anytime.

The drawback to this is you'll also need to empty it at some point, too. For that, you'll have to navigate to an RV park or another spot with a dump station designated for such waste. Good luck with that, especially if you're renting a camper van in another country.

Food Is Super Affordable & Accessible

Another feature worth noting is the storage space and kitchen amenities in camper vans. Even the most rudimentary setup can involve a camp stove and space to stow canned goods, which can make travel dining super affordable. You can load up on groceries anywhere along the way, wherever items are cheapest or freshest.

This is clearly a pro!

But at the same time, if you have a full kitchen setup, you also need to refill water tanks, top off propane or other fuel sources, and ensure backup power so the food in your mini-fridge doesn't go bad. Even solar panels aren't an all-encompassing solution since cloudy days can wreak havoc on your plans. Oh, and cooking in a camper van? You'll need to have some creative recipes at the ready since there probably won't be an oven or microwave (unless it's a super tiny one).

Travel Costs Are Way Different Than Hotels/Flights

So, what about the price? Is camper van travel superior in that way? Or is traveling via camper a more expensive experience than you're able to budget for?

The truth is, your travel costs can be way more affordable than booking hotels and flights in many cases. Especially if you own a camper van or can borrow one from someone for free or cheap, there's little up-front cost involved. There are many places you can camp for free throughout the United States (it's called boondocking) and in other countries. Many RV parks have low-cost space rentals, too, especially if you stay for a long time. Hello, cheap beachfront access!

On the other hand, if you don't own a camper van, you'll have to rent one. And here's the bad news: depending on where you're renting and in what season, a camper can be a huge expense. People who come to the US from Europe routinely pay thousands of dollars per week to rent small RVs and camper vans from commercial companies.

Good deal, or way too expensive for traveling on four wheels? You be the judge.