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Van life made easy

In collaboration with the Go-Van community

Life in a van is the stuff of dreams… And for good reason, because it offers the freedom to explore with all the comforts of home! You want to try out van life? Whether for a weekend or your next holiday, here are a few pointers to begin!

Go-Van | © Sépaq

Pleasures and benefits of van life

It’s a trend that we can see everywhere: on the road, in parks, on Instagram, and even on lottery tickets… Whether for a two-day getaway or an epic multi-month odyssey, RV travel offers many advantages.

First of all, freedom: to head off and sleep wherever and whenever you want (well, almost!), without a schedule or booking. The weather’s good, so why not hop in and hit the road! You can stay deep in the woods, on a pier or a deserted beach, at the foot of a climbing wall, or right downtown for a festival.

Another advantage is being free as a bird while having everything needed on hand and easily accessible, including food in the fridge, running water, toys for the kids, sports equipment, bathroom facilities, and more.

Life in an RV is also synonymous with simplicity: no need to pitch or dismantle a tent; the kitchen is always ready for use; and the beds can be made in a jiffy. The pleasures of a simple life!

An excellent option for families

This is why camper vans are an excellent option for families. The small fry love having a familiar ‘house on wheels,’ with their stuff and their stable environment close at hand. As for parents, they appreciate the simple independence and comfort of a camper van. It’s raining? Not to worry! It’s easy to spend a day reading, drawing, playing board games while admiring the scenery, and staying dry. Those of us with kids love small luxuries such as running water, a fridge, a kitchen area, and all the essentials for the little ones right nearby.

Go-Van | © Sépaq
Parc national de la Gaspésie
Parc national de la Gaspésie Go-Van | © Sépaq

An affordable option

Depending on how you make use of a camper van, it can be an affordable way to travel. No need to book flights or hotels for your holidays, no or fewer restaurants… Whether you rent or buy an RV, you’ll avoid a number of expenses. Other than the vehicle itself, the camper van budget is limited to gas and occasional lodging/parking fees. Many travelers like to sleep in unusual, isolated, and free natural areas, while others will prefer to spend the night at a more traditional campsite. Sépaq offers no fewer than 4,700 RV sites. You’re sure to find your little corner of “natural” paradise at a reasonable price.

Start by renting

You want to try out RV life? The good news is that in Quebec, a number of companies now offer the possibility of renting recreational vehicles for a few days or more. This is the perfect option for discovering this way of traveling before perhaps considering the purchase of your own vehicle. Even if you plan on buying a camper van, renting it first allows you to clearly identify what you need in terms of space, facilities, and equipment. The ideal vehicle for a couple that loves to hike is not the same as for a family of cyclists or water activity enthusiasts!

Buying your vehicle

Are you ready to purchase your own vehicle? Please note that you can find recreational vehicle models for all tastes and budgets, used or new, from $5,000 to $100,000 (and more). Handy folk can also design and put together their own RV. Models and plans are available online, as are many videos by travelers documenting their vehicle’s makeover. If you want a custom model, there are companies that can produce just what you’re after. Do you need interior storage space for your motorcycle or a trunk at the back with a bike rack? No problem!

Another option to make van life accessible to all is a Quebec company that now offers conversion kits for minivans. This way, your everyday vehicle can easily be turned into a camper van for weekends or epic odysseys, meaning that you don’t have to buy another. How smart is that!

Parc national du Bic
Parc national du Bic Go-Van | © Sépaq
Parc national de la Gaspésie
Parc national de la Gaspésie Go-Van | © Sépaq

A few destination ideas

With the van naturally comes the idea of a road trip, which is certainly a possibility but not the only way to go! No need to travel thousands of kilometres to appreciate a recreational vehicle. For some, heading out in the RV is part of the weekend pleasure of playing sports at their favourite park or discovering other spaces, visiting family, or attending a sporting event where the action is.

Did you know that there are even van life get-togethers? Organized by Go-Van or specific clubs (for example by Westfalia), these are great opportunities to meet people with shared interests while discovering new places.

National parks and wildlife reserves are also choice locations for camper van excursions. Near your home or deep in the woods and far away, ranging from three-service to totally rustic campsites, these Sépaq destinations offer thousands of sites at the heart of outdoor activities. And if you want to discover a number of parks during the same  trip, here are five dream itineraries for discovering Quebec’s beautiful nature. Enjoy!

Our favourite national parks for van camping

A stone’s throw from MontrealParc national des Îles-de-Boucherville offers around 15 RV spaces, with the feeling of being far from the city while merely one bridge away. You can head there any weeknight on a whim.

To explore natureParc national de la Gaspésie offers a number of splendid campgrounds. To enter why not take an interesting detour by way of Réserve faunique des Chic-Chocs? But watch out for moose!

To appreciate the sea airParc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay is a must. For a beluga-watching adventure, why not take a day trip all the way up to Baie-Sainte-Marguerite sector?

For amazing discoveries: Parc national du Bic, with its camping sector nestled between Baie des Cochons and Baie des Ha! Ha!, as well as Parc national d’Opémican, the latest addition to the Quebec national park family.

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