I’m not going to lie, when I started my role as Head of Marketing at JUCY, I had never been in a campervan before. Sure I knew the tourism industry inside out but I couldn’t have told you what was on the inside of a mobile home for money. With an upcoming USA vacation already locked in, it was an obvious choice to take a few days getting JUCY on the roads of Southern California. As an utter novice, what better to do than share my first-time campfire stories for other noobs like me?
More Than the Kitchen Sink
Booking your JUCY wheels is super easy, particularly online. As part of the booking process, you’ll have a choice for a few additional options to kit you out as best as possible – I highly recommend you take these. I opted for the GPS, wifi unit and personal care kit, which included bedding and towels, and I was grateful every day for all three. Trying to navigate unfamiliar US streets can be a little hair-raising at the best of times but factor in driving on the right (wrong) side of the road and I was so grateful for the computerised instructions of that little unit. How did we manage with just maps before? The wifi was great as it worked when my US SIM didn’t and it was handy to be able to add up to five devices all on the one network. Perfect for a late-night movie in bed too.
Be a Softie
My trip was part of a bigger holiday around the US so I packed my large wheelie for a few state season changes. This proved to be a little incumbersome as the storage is best set up for soft cases – my friends managed to get both of their large backpacks in the handy storage space whilst I had to lug my suitcase up and over squabs each time. With only three of us in the vehicle, this wasn’t too much of an issue in terms of space but had we been a full house, my luggage style would have made the rear a little cramped.
As a good Girl Guide (or Boy Scout), it always pays to be prepared and this is never more true than when you go camping. Being in a campervan over a tent doesn’t change the dynamic that much – you still are sleeping in closed quarters with limited spare space and so with that I recommend that it is advisable each morning to pack a day bag for the next 24 hours so that when you arrive at night, wiped out from a day exploring the local sights, you can grab your PJs and toiletries and quickly get set up for the night. After a couple of days, you do quickly fall into a routine in getting the beds set up and the more organised you are in the day time, the more grateful you’ll feel at night for remembering your girl guide code.
Travel with Caution
Although Gladys (our name for our navigator) has a stilted voice and regularly mispronounces street name, that GPS lady is mighty handy when it comes to navigating the area. However, it’s worth noting that she’s not to be trusted 100% when it comes to the big trips as she’ll give you the fastest route, and that may not always be the best for a tourist. Gladys took us from Palm Desert to San Diego over the 79, a windy, curvy mountainous route that few locals take unless they are sightseeing. Double check online or ask a local before setting off to save yourself any windy-road grief!
A Winter’s Tale
My SoCal exploration took place in December and whilst Southern California is still gorgeous by day in winter, the nights can drop in temperature pretty quickly. The bedding included in the personal kit includes a comforter, blanket and pillow per person but at 4c (brrrr) one night in Desert Hot Springs, it was a little frosty for the underprepared (that would be me) in both the main van and the penthouse. If you are heading to the US in winter, either pack some thermals to sleep in, or ask JUCY for extra bedding.
The Belle of the Ball
I had read that the look and feel of the JUCY Champ stood out on the road but I had no idea how much of a conversation topic we would be driving around in it. Akin to newfound celeb hitting the red carpet for the first time, we were ogled at from cars, stopped in the street to tell us how darling the van is and we were made to feel the belle of the ball at the RV campground. It’s not just the green-and-purple décor that stood out, but the also compact-yet-clever design that made nearby RVs look like clumsy ogres against our princess-like good looks. Making new friends became an added bonus on our trip with people from all over the world stopping to say hello.
It’s Right on the Right
It’s worth noting that if you’re flying in New Zealand, Australia or any long haul route, it’s important to book a hotel for the first night so you drive safely and without fatigue. You definitely need to concentrate more if you’re driving on the opposite side of the road, particularly on unfamiliar streets and it’s so much easier to do that when well rested.
Hopefully my US roadie tips and tricks have helped you get prepared for your upcoming JUCY trip. If you have any questions, drop our team a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call – you can find our number here!