Trailers for sale or rent
There’s much to be said for buying your own wheels.
There’s a roaring trade in second-hand campervans in London, and once you’ve got your own home away from home, you can pack up and hit the road any time you like.
But remember the costs of maintaining a roadworthy vehicle mount up long after the initial outlay. As well as forking out for road tax, you’ll also need an annual MOT certificate for vehicles more than three years old.
Renting can be more cost effective, especially if you can split the fee with some mates. Wicked Campers has vans from £30 per day, and Just Go from £43.
If you’re happy in a tent, Easy Car offers TNT readers a 5 per cent discount on car hire (easycar.com/tntmagazine).
The small print
Driving in the UK without insurance is a crime.
OK, you’re unlikely to get busted – unless you’re involved in an accident, in which case damage to you, your vehicle, and other drivers and their vehicles, is not covered.
An expensive business and a legal quagmire: don’t risk it.
There are various options, third party insurance (which covers other people and vehicles but not you and yours) being cheapest.
Most hired vehicles will have fully comprehensive insurance – though you’ll usually have to pay an excess on any claim.
Downunder Insurance (duinsure.com) offers cover tailored to backpacker camping trips.
As for a licence, you can legally drive in the UK using your home licence for one year, after which you must give it up and apply for a UK licence.
You don’t need to take another test, but you will need to pay a fee. See dvla.gov.uk.
UK speed limits are measured in miles per hour.
In most built-up areas (easy check: are there lamp posts on the road?) the limit is 30mph.
The ‘national speed limits apply’ sign (see right) indicates the limit is 60mph on single-lane roads and 70mph on multiple carriageways (unless you’re a van, bus or towing a caravan, in which case it’s generally 10mph slower).
Speed limits and other rules of the road are clearly explained in the Highway Code, available from bookshops for £2.50. You can also view it free online via the direct.gov.uk website.
where to go, and will it rain?
Easy answer first: yes, it will probably rain. You need to pack a mac and a sense of humour for your trip – but at least you’ll get the full British experience of being obsessed by the weather.
As for where, with a set of wheels at your disposal mainland Britain is your oyster.
Invest in a national road atlas or, if you want to plan your route in detail, get a local ordnance survey map.
The Camping And Caravanning Club and the Caravan Club have loads of information to help you plan your trip.
Also recommended are the Cool Camping guides by Punk Publishing, which list top campsites across the UK and Europe.
In the meantime, the map above shows areas of Britain which are ideal for a camping holiday, to help get you started.