As you probably know (unless you’ve been hiding somewhere with no internet / Instagram connection, in which case I am so sorry), my friend Nikki and I have just wrapped up a ten day adventure, living the #vanlife from bohemian Byron Bay to tropical Cairns (and a little nip up to Port Douglas on the way).
We make excellent travel companions, mainly ‘cause we don’t want to throttle one another by the end of the trip (much) (kidding hehe), and we try to see a little bit of Australia together every year. This year, we couldn’t go past the route we chose because while we were planning we were feeling winter to our bones- and so, we headed for sunshine.
We decided to go with JUCY because we didn’t really want to pay for care hire and accommodation, and because that #vanlife I mentioned had been calling our names from our feeds and our friends for a while.
What we didn’t realise ‘til the trip was just how many good bits come with travel in a van, and a JUCY van especially!
Here are a couple of reasons that we reckon so:
No lugging your belongings around.
If you’ve done any travel, you can probably attest that moving aaaaaaall of your stuff from place to place to room to hotel to villa to car is up there with the best of the not-so-good-bits. When your home is the way you’re getting from place to place, you don’t ever have to really cram all of your luggage in your suitcase- just pop in the front seat and go.
Five star views, for not much dosh!
A hotel on the esplanade, overlooking a beautiful lake or ridiculously close to whatever attraction you’re after is quite often a little out of the student / young folk budget when you’re on the road for more than a few days. There’s something so sweet about camping by or stopping for lunch in spots that you know you could never afford to gaze at with bricks and mortar around you.
They’re surprisingly good on petrol!
Our van (we hired the CHAMP, which is the mid-range option) came with a little button on the side of the gear stick which when pressed worked some seriously incredible voodoo kinda magic and dropped our fuel use down to next-to-nothing. This was confirmed when we accidentally turned it off for a day and couldn’t work out why we were suddenly going through as much petrol as people had warned us vans do! Apparently, the feature stops the car from revving too high and wasting petrol. Also, they take standard Unleaded 91: none of that expensive stuff
The community is flippin’ awesome.
One thing that we adored about travelling with JUCY was spotting all of the other JUCY vans and cars on the road. Sometimes a beep and a wave or a big grin and thumbs up is just what you need to feel like you have community in a town you’ve never visited before! The same goes for camping in caravan parks, or in sites- it feels like you have the friendliest neighbor when you know you’re living such similar adventures, no matter where you’re going or where you’ve been.
Pretty bloomin’ self-contained.
Our van didn’t need any power to run when we were parked, and was full-to-the-brim with everything we could possibly need except a loo and a shower. We had all of our sleeping stuff and cooking equipment (including a butane stove to make copious amounts of pasta on!), a fridge to keep our roadside mangos cool, shelving and a top-net in the penthouse (we’ll get to that bit later) and lights galore within the van. We also found out that we could keep our electrical bits plugged in via the lighter-phone-charger-dealio while we slept without conking the battery out, and we all know it’s a pretty great feeling when you wake up fully charged.
See! Told you we’d get here. Arguably the most fun bit of our van was The Penthouse- a wind-up tent-like situation that sat on top of the van. It was great to not have to sort out the back of the van (which, y’know, covered in our stuff) every day to sleep, the space was really roomy, and it was an absolute savior when we hit Tropical North Queensland and needed some ventilation so that we could sleep without being sweaty messes. Also, there’s a ladder to climb up, and you can’t tell me that bunkbeds aren’t the best part of an old-school sleepover.
The vans? Comfy AF.
One thing that JUCY have thought about that a lot of hire-car companies don’t really seem to is comfort. The beds were great for a solid ten-hour sleep, but what stands out the most are the seats. When you’ve got ten-hour driving days stretching ahead of you, little arm-rests like your grandma might have are ridiculously useful, and the seats themselves are perfect to sink back into. How good.
They’re pretty bloody spacious.
Now, I wouldn’t say that Nikki and I are untidy, or that we have no idea how to keep our stuff controlled, contained and cool as a cucumber, but I will say that sometimes things happen and we spread out a bit. Or a lot. Luckily, even being the happy mess that we can be when we’re together, we didn’t once feel pushed for space or claustrophobic- a true feat when you’re spending hours upon hours in the same spot. The front seats are roomy, the back bit is mooooore than enough for two travelers and about right for four, and the penthouse- well, you already know how I feel about that. There were also heaps of little storage spaces, which came in handy non-stop.
The van kind of becomes your home and you can add your own touches and you spend some much time in it that it feels really familiar.
I know it seems like I couldn’t add anything else to this heading, but it’s my blog so I’m gonna. We loved this point because a) it meant a trip to Kmart was on the cards and b) it was so nice feeling that sense of safety and comfort the second we got back to the van from a waterfall or a beach or a hike (or Kmart). Home is wherever you park it.
You can find them in a car-park really easily, haha!
There’s really nothing I can add to this one.
Check out the competition I’m running with JUCY at the moment to win three-days of van hire to put towards your own adventure in AUS, NZ, or the USA! See my Instagram story (@lovechloejane) for giveway goodness, best of luck! x