What To Pack For A European Road Trip

You’ve booked your campervan, mapped out a route and you’re ready to hit the wide open road. Passport? Check. Credit Cards? Check. Hiking Boots? Check. You’ve packed all the usual necessities but setting up camp and moving your portable home does not come naturally to all. If like us, you’re not a regular camper, we’d recommend the following packing tips and advise that you consider these other items for your next road trip.
One of the bridges connecting the Lofoten Islands - Norway


1. Cooking Utensils

We were quite fortunate as Spaceships Rentals included everything for our road trip. As a base, you should consider: portable gas stoves, gas canisters, saucepan, frying pan, multi-purpose knife, chopping board, tongs, spatula, a bucket for washing up, cutlery, plates, bowls and mugs.

2. Toilet Paper

Carry some with you as public toilets will often inconveniently run out. Toilet paper can also be used as back-up tissues and for mopping up any other mistaken spills.

3. Insect repellent

Particularly in summer, you will need insect repellent if you plan to camp anywhere near water. Come prepared!

4. Flip Flops

Your feet will welcome a rest from heavy hiking boots or an entire day in sneakers. Flip flops will be useful around campsites and shared bathrooms.

View over Prague at sunset, Czech Republic
Wandering the streets of Vilnius Lithuania
Blausee, Switzerland

5. Sunscreen

The sun can be scorching hot in parts of Europe so don’t forget to slip, slop, slap. We recommend reapplying every few hours.

6. Wet Wipes

For the days that you go without showers, wet wipes will provide a temporary refreshing solution. Wipe off your sweat, sunscreen, insect repellent and makeup and please ensure you dispose of your rubbish considerately.

7. Hand Sanitiser

Some public toilets along the highways won’t have running water, so hand sanitiser is an effective alternative solution. The same applies prior to cooking so as to not use up your water supply (refer Item 13).

8. Microfibre Towel

Lightweight and fast-drying, microfibre towels are a traveller’s trusty companion. Easy to hang after showering at campsites, many microfibre towels also fold up quite tightly meaning they won’t take up too much room in your bag.

Strolling the streets at daybreak, Vilnius
Jasmine stands on a rock looking up at the peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo in The Dolomites, Italy

9. Keep Cup

We were each gifted a Keep Cup for Christmas last year and they proved their versatility during our European campervan trip. Whenever we could, we ordered our coffees to go in our Keep Cups to reduce our carbon footprint. We also made our overnight oats for breakfast in these cups as they were the perfect serving size for a mix of oats, almond milk, chia seeds and fruit.

Keep Cups come in a range of sizes and colours and is a terrific initiative to do your part in reducing humanity’s carbon footprint. You can order your Keep Cup here.

10. Eye Mask

Our campervan had stick on curtains to provide privacy and to block out the light. Given we were travelling during European summer and our travels took us up into the Arctic Circle, there were days that we experienced almost 24 hours of light. Unfortunately, our curtains didn’t always stick and there was always slivers of light that managed to sneak into the van while we tried to sleep. Fortunately, we had an eye mask each and it proved to be a lifesaver!

11. Ear Plugs

Depending on where you choose to sleep for the night, you may encounter some night noise. Whether it be traffic, the ocean, a thunderstorm or just noisy neighbours, pack a pair of these if you’re a light sleeper or for just-in-case moments. Traditionally, ear plugs have been made from foam. If discarded irresponsibly, they will cause more damage to the environment. Reusable silicone earplugs are an alternative as well.

12. First Aid Kit

For obvious reasons but particularly so if you decide to partake in any rigorous physical activities. You can buy basic first aid kits that include bandaids, alcohol wipes, bandages and cotton buds that will prove helpful for any scratches and grazes. If you forget, you can pick one up at petrol stations and camping stores such as Decathlon.

Holding hands and admiring the view of Manarola, Cinque Terre

13. Reusable Containers

As we had a portable gas stove and a fridge with our rented campervan, there were times when we needed to store our leftovers. Reusable containers proved to be a useful storage solution.

To also reduce our plastic usage, we purchased two 5L water containers at the beginning of our trip. At every chance, we refilled these containers and would use the water for drinking, cooking and washing up. Many rest stops in Switzerland and Austria had fresh glacier water available from running taps and in Scandinavia, we discovered that many large petrol stations had tanks that were easily marked as “drinking water” so that travellers could fill their bottles free of charge.

14. Thermos

As we didn’t have a kettle, all our hot water was boiled on our portable gas stove. We used hot water for washing up but also boiled a bit extra in the evening and stored it in the thermos so that Jas could have a hot cuppa in the morning. Having a thermos keeps the water pretty hot for almost 24 hours and will save you from pulling out the gas stove each time.

15. Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Following on from #13, we re-filled out water bottles every morning and carried with us during the day. We tried our best not to buy bottles of water to reduce our plastic usage.

16. Torch or Headlamp

We packed a headlamp with us in case we needed to use the bathroom at night. We didn’t end up using it in the end as the sun didn’t set until late the further we travelled north. During the winter time, this will be the opposite. We’d recommend packing a torch or headlamp in case anything happens to your smartphone.

Directions on the trail of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, The Dolomites Italy
Jasmine stands on the shoreline in Swedish Lapland with a blanket wrapped around her during sunset, Sweden

17. Reusable Shopping Bags

The simple act of taking reusable shopping bags to the supermarkets is a small act to helping reduce waste in the environment. When buying fruit and vegetables, we tried our best not to bag them in individual plastic bags too.

18. Picnic Blanket

For those moments where you spot a field of wildflowers and can lay down a picnic blanket with your lunch spread and enjoy the sunshine. Can also double as a blanket for chilly evenings. Spaceships Rentals also included a fold out table and two chairs so we were able to setup picnics at every stop.

19. EU Breakdown Kit

Different European countries have different laws and regulations around necessary equipment for your vehicle. For example, as we hired our campervan in the United Kingdom, we were required to attach headlamp converters when driving in Europe. France requires all vehicles to carry a breathalyser and most countries instruct drivers to have a fluorescent triangle and high vis vest should you have a breakdown. Snow chains will be necessary on certain roads during winter.

As we hired our vehicle, we were fortunate that Spaceships Rentals had included all the necessary equipment in our campervan. If you’re unsure, be sure to check with your rental car company. Many petrol stations are equipped should you need to top up supplies.

Jasmine & Bevan hold hands at sunrise on the edge of the Old Town of Warsaw, Poland

20. Car Charger Adaptor

Our campervan had two USB ports and two cigarette lighters. Bevan bought a car charger adaptor from Amazon which plugged straight into the cigarette lighter port. This meant that while we were driving, we could charge our phones through the USB ports and our camera batteries through the cigarette lighter port. If you’re quite far between campsites or won’t be stopping long in cafes to charge your electronics, this adaptor is a good choice for the camera batteries.

21. Raincoat or Poncho

No matter the season, prepare for rain. Pack a lightweight raincoat or poncho for the rainy season or for when you unexpectedly get caught in a downpour.

Did we forget any other trusty essentials? Let us know in the comments below!


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