Warmer weather is here, and the timing is right to hit the road and journey into the wild – van style! Campervans make trips lasting several weeks feasible with flexible accommodations for nights under the stars, in a tent, or on a cozy mattress inside the van. While the best part about a #vanlife adventure is the feeling of freedom and spontaneity, you’ll still want to preplan your journey beforehand so there aren’t as many hiccups down the road or in the woods.

Maybe you’ve decided to go on this journey in-between living situations, or perhaps you’re settled but anxious about leaving your home alone for several weeks. Self storage is an excellent option to protect your things before moving into a new place or to securely store the possessions that you’d rather not leave sitting at home. Those in the Toronto-area will find Abacus Self Storage offers a wide range of unit sizes for your situation, and they maintain facilities that are incredibly clean, well-kept, secure, and climate-controlled. In addition to several security features, they have a back-up power system, so you’re covered for every scenario, including summer blackouts.

Whether you’re renting or owning, make sure your van is in proper working order. If you’re not accustomed to driving a large vehicle, it may help to do some practice driving in-town before hitting major highways. Test out the appliances and the condition of everything in the van, and if something isn’t working or correct, notify the rental company to either fix it or to offer you a fully-functioning replacement. You don’t want a moldy mattress or a broken stovetop.

At minimum, plan a general route. You’re flexible with the van, but it’s a good idea to know the major stops and legal campsites that allow for overnight stays (not every park does). You don’t want to be stuck driving around aimlessly at midnight. Read reviews of campsites and their rules. Too many lights and too many people might not be your scene. It’s also wise to know where you can stop and fill up the van with fuel as well as nearby towns in which to refill on provisions.

To help make a packing list, envision a full day. Go through your morning, afternoon, evening, and write down the things you’ll be doing on a perfect day and an imperfect day: brushing your teeth; hiking in the sun (or rain); feasting on your catch-of-the-day and cleaning the dishes; reading by lamplight in the van because it’s cold and raining; trying to find an outhouse in the dark using a flashlight. Please be kind to the earth by packing biodegradable dish soap, shampoo, and baby wipes. Only take the essentials – keep it light. There should be lots of room to hang out in the van without feeling cramped.

Consider reasonable food options and how to keep and cook them. Bring snacks for woodland treks. If you don’t have immediate access to proper garbage receptacles, have sealable containers handy to store your garbage and recycling. This will help prevent wild animals from visiting your site, especially if you’re sleeping in the van and want to leave your smelly garbage outside.

Lastly, remember you’re in a vehicle and the nature of your trip is flexible. You can fetch items on-the-go. Your things are safely protected in self storage with extra security measures (plus, your camping gear can be kept in your storage unit once you return). Don’t get bogged down by trying to plan everything perfectly – you’re free!

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