Hey, it's Wendy here. And nope, I am not going to tell you how to have a great campervan holiday. Why not? Because I don't drive. Getting behind the wheel scares me to death, and I don't even own a valid driver's licence anymore. It's public transport for me all the way!
Nevertheless, I do realize there are some destinations that are really best explored by automobile. New Zealand is one of those destinations.
And so, I'm going to leave this one to the experts and hand over to our guest bloggers, Katie and Josh from Delightful Vegans. Here they are!
We’ve recently come back from New Zealand where we hired a campervan for 12 days! It was an amazing trip full of adventure, wonder and some challenges too.
Renting a campervan is a fantastic way to get around. It’s great to have your own set of wheels. Then you’re free to go wherever you want. It’s better and cheaper than renting a car and staying at hotels too, because you are driving around and taking your house with you!
Here are some tips for travellers who may be thinking of renting a campervan on a holiday:
Before your Campervan Holiday:
- Download offline maps for your smart phone / tablet. This way you can access a map all the time - even when you don’t have Internet access. Just be aware that in big cities the GPS could drop out. This happened to us in Wellington and we were driving around while the GPS location was bouncing all over the place.
- Find out if you will need an international driver's license to drive in your destination country.
- Check all the prices before you go - including hidden extras. We thought we were getting a really cheap campervan deal, but it turned out when we got there that it didn’t have all the inclusions we needed – like a gas bottle, toilet chemicals, etc. You really need these items when you are travelling in a campervan.
- Consider getting wireless Internet access. It's extremely handy, especially if you work online or would like to contact family and friends. We used a company called Wilh-ma, which was reasonably priced and worked for light internet usage. [See below for details on a special deal from Wilh-ma just for Nomadic Vegan readers!]
- Bring a USB charger that will plug into the cigarette lighter in your campervan. This saved us many times during our travels! When you are driving around a lot, you can charge the phone from there, and you will also have access to the offline maps you downloaded so you'll know where you are going.
- Bring a portable power device that can be charged through a USB connection. Some models can even recharge your phone or other devices multiple times, so they are extremely handy!
- Do your research on options for dining out. If you'd like to treat yourself to a dinner out on occasion, search HappyCow and local Facebook groups for vegan-friendly restaurants. These resources are also handy for finding health food stores where you can stock up your pantry.
Wilh-ma is offering Nomadic Vegan readers $15 OFF the rental of a pocket Wifi device for use in New Zealand. And that's on top of other promotions ($30 is the maximum combined discount)! Just email your reservation confirmation ID to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them The Nomadic Vegan sent ya, and the folks at Wilh-ma will hook you up!
During your Campervan Holiday:
- Stay at powered sites every couple of nights. This will allow you to charge up your devices, dump your waste, fill the fresh water reservoir and take a refreshing, hot shower. The rental company should be able to provide you with a list of camping sites when you pick up your campervan.
- Make a grocery list for your first supermarket stop. The fridge in the campervan will probably be quite small, so look for shelf-stable foods that are nutrient-dense and that will give you a slow release of energy throughout the day. See our list of recommended foods below.
- Buy the biggest bottle of drinking water you can find. You will use water more often than you think (for brushing your teeth, making tea, boiling noodles, etc.). We bought a 15-litre bottle and wedged it snugly in a cupboard. It never spilled once throughout our whole holiday!
Recommended Foods for a Vegan Campervan Holiday:
- Vegetables: salad mix, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, etc.
- Starches: couscous, noodles, potatoes, crackers, etc.
- Spreads: peanut butter, coconut cream, hummus
- Herbs and spices: chilli flakes, tumeric, salt, pepper, cumin powder, Italian herb mix, etc.
- Pro Tip: Bring small quantities of these herbs and spices with you from home, so you won't have to buy large packages and be stuck with leftovers. When passing through customs, be sure to declare any food you bring into another country.
An Easy Vegan Camping Recipe
Easy Gado Gado
1 cup of couscous
1 cup of broccoli (you can use any vegetables - cauliflower, sweet potato, etc.)
Bean sprouts or salad mix or both
For the sauce:
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut cream
A pinch of salt and pepper
A pinch of chilli flakes
3 to 4 tbsp hot water to mix
Fill two bowls with half a cup of couscous each. Add a bit more if you are hungry!
Cover the couscous with hot water, then cover the bowls with plates and let sit while you make the rest.
Boil the vegetables in hot water until tender.
For the peanut sauce, mix all ingredients in a cup and stir well. Add more hot water if it’s too thick.
Remove the plates from the couscous and fluff up with a fork. Add the cooked vegetables on top. Serve with salad mix or bean sprouts and pour the sauce over the dish.
You can mix it up as much as you like! Add more chilli if desired. We added olives, sesame seeds and toasted coconut. Get creative with whatever you have on hand!
And if you're heading to New Zealnd, remember that you can get $15 OFF the rental of a pocket Wifi device from Wilh-ma. Just email your reservation confirmation ID to email@example.com and tell them The Nomadic Vegan sent you. Happy camping!
About the Authors:
Hi! We’re Josh and Katie, the Delightful Vegans! Our recipes range from being super easy to others that may take a bit more time. Exploring the world in our travels gives us new insights to our creativity in food - so our recipes are usually a fusion of different flavours and styles from around the globe! Josh is the tech and photography guy behind the scenes while Katie dreams up, creates and styles marvellous food to share with the world!