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Renting a camper is the perfect way to travel flexibly without having to buy and maintain your own. That’s why we rented a T6 California Ocean from Roadsurfer in the middle of August and traveled to Norway for 10 days. In this blog post, I’ll tell you my experience with a rented vehicle, how to find the most beautiful places to stay, and what you should be aware of before you travel to Norway.
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The T6 California Ocean
We went for the same Volkswagen model as we did it for 5 days in June (story highlight: Harz). In August 2018, I travelled with a proper RV, with a shower, a toilet, and a luxury interior. I also wrote a detailed blog post about this trip. The idea to rent a T6 came from my boyfriend, who did some research about the vehicle some time ago. It unites the feeling of a mobile home and the driving experience of a normal car. You can easily rush over the highway with 160 km/h, the turning radius is relatively small and it has enough strength to drive up steep roads. Due to the folding roof, you can stand and sleep in the car. When the roof is down, the vehicle isn’t even 2 meters tall. Therefore, you have to pay less for the ferry and you can use the Trolltunga parking lot in Norway, which is only accessible for cars under 2 meters. In short, the T6 California Ocean is equipped with everything you need and is still as compact as a regular car.
Below I answered your most frequently asked questions.
How do you take a shower?
There is an outdoor shower, that is connected to a water tank. But the water is cold and there is no possibility to heat it. That’s why we looked for public showers at parking lots, showered at friends’ homes (you also meet people quickly on vacation), or cleaned our selves in a lake with biodegradable soap.
How did you go to the toilet?
The vehicle has no toilet integrated. During the drive, we paused at parking lots or at the side of the street. At night we looked for campsites with a WC or at least a possibility to go the toilet in a safe way. By the way, toilet paper is way more eco-friendly than tissues. The paper industry took years of research and development so that tissues don’t dissolve at your nose and in the washing machine anymore. That’s why they also don’t do it in nature. Toiletpaper is designed in a way that degrades fast in nature. Best use untreated toilet paper without fragrance.
How do you cook?
The van has 2 gas-hobs, a sink, a fridge, and 2 cupboards for foods. The gas can be turned on and off and is enough for 2 weeks on the road. The fridge is also turned on when the car is off. The coldness of the fridge can be adjusted with the same monitor as the folding roof and the park heating. You can sit inside the van and use the built-in table or take the table outside that is hidden within the side door.
How do you dry wet cloth when it rains?
Since it it rained a lot on our Norway-trip, our jackets and shoes were wet all the time. But they dried very well when we turned on the park heating at night and put the clothing next to the heating and the shoes in front of it. The heating is very effective and needs only 1liter diesel for 5 hours.
Is it cold in the van at night?
To be honest, I wasn’t cold a single time. This could also be due to the fact that we have been sleeping under the roof together. Further, we had the right bedding. It is only cold in the beginning before you cuddle into the sheets. Trough the park heating the heat goes upside and the folding roof has good air circulation. Altogether it feels much warmer than in a tent.
What about the costs?
When you rent a vessel at Roadsurfer you pay ca. 120 € incl. insurance per night. On top are tolls, ferries, gas, foods, water, entrance and parking costs, and sometimes the cost of campsites (if you choose to sleep there). Because wild camping is legal in Norway and the battery of the van is loading trough driving, we didn’t spend a single night at a campsite. We just didn’t need it. So we saved a lot of money and had a cheap journey although Norway isn’t a cheap country to travel in general.
How did you find these stunning locations to stay at?
Norway offers a lot of lakes and fjords. Really a lot. That’s why there are many unbelievably beautiful places nearby the water with a beautiful view. Not all of them are made for camping because they are too slant, not passable, or private property.
Tip: There is an App called Park4Night, where other campers mark and rate parking positions. I can highly recommend the app. You can also filter criteria like shower, electricity, water access, and other options. The ratings from other users are really helpful. The filter option is only available if you have a subscription, which is really cheap and worth the money in my opinion.
Where did you rent the van?
You can have a look at the Roadsurfer website, which locations are close to you. There is e.g. a rating between Düsseldorf and Köln and places in Berlin and Munich. Roadsurfer offers different vehicles on demand. Some have more facilities and are e.g. better for 4 persons than the T6 Califonia.
Altogether we were really happy with the Roadsurfer service both times. The campers are clean and modern and potential damages are checked before the trip. The T6 California is pretty comfortable and because of the park distance control, it’s easy to park for novice drivers. There is nothing negative other than for some people renting a van seems quite expensive. In my opinion, it’s a good possibility to find out if you enjoy traveling with a mobile home, if it’s your first road trip. Then it’s definitely worth the money. Afterward you can still decide if traveling on 4 wheels is your style or not. Van life is THE trend on social media at the moment and many people are building their own vans or buying campers for road trips. After 3 journeys with a van, I am now sure that I love this way of traveling! It has so many benefits, especially flexibility and it’s also a little romantic… 🙂
In the end, you have to find out for yourself and a rented camper is a beautiful possibility to do so. I’d love to know if you could imagine traveling in your own van – just let me know in the comments. 😉
Norway as a travel destination
Would I recommend the journey to Norway with the camper? Absolutely! No country that I’ve traveled so far is more suitable for a road trip. You can park just everywhere you want ( if there is no prohibition sign), there are plenty of stunning locations and just little people in general. The distances are so big with hardly any public transport, which makes having your own vehicle necessary. Traveling with your own home on 4 wheels is nowhere as much fun as in Norway. On every corner incredible nature spots are waiting, one more beautiful than the other. In the next part, I’ll tell you some more points that are good to know before the journey.
During summer it can be hot, but you should still take warm cloth with you. In the mountains, we had 5-10 degrees and some hiking paths with snow. Further, you should have good hiking shoes and waterproof clothing. Norway is known for its spectacular nature, but also for its discontinuous weather. If you don’t own the right clothing you can find Outdoor-Stores in almost every little village. The weatherproof cloth is a basic need in a country like Norway.
Alcohol and cigarettes can only be imported in small amounts, so inform yourself about the restrictions before you go to Norway. Foods are slightly more expensive than in Germany, but not too much. If you buy seasonal and regional you get the same prices as in Germany. Imported goods like tropical fruits, rice, and chocolate are more expensive than goods with shorter ways of transport. When you buy smart you can shop cheap in Norway. We already bought basics like tofu, falafel, noodles and beans, and also other vegan products in Germany. We bought fresh fruits and vegetables on demand in Norway. In total, I think our buy was only a little more expensive than in Germany.
In order to use bridges, tunnels, ferries, and certain roads in Norway, I recommend getting the Autopass in advance. You get a discount on all ways and crossings you have to pay the toll for. You just stick the little box to the windscreen and at the end of your journey, you get the bill. This can take a few months, just so you know. I think this way of paying the toll is pretty relaxed because it’s accessible and easy. The AutoPass can also be used in Sweden and Denmark. If there is no AutoPass box in your car, when you cross these countries they will use your number plate to send you the bill in the mail.
I already told you about an app to find beautiful spots. Sometimes we tried to find some just with Google Maps, but to be honest we never found a good one. Many houses and private streets aren’t available in Google Maps, which is really confusing. In the end, we used Park4Night again to find us a nice spot. Only high up in the mountains, where really nothing and nobody stays, we once found a lonely road close to a lake. That’s where we met some sheep while brushing our teeth in the morning and where we didn’t meet a single person half a day. For the typical tourist spots I’d recommend using the app and the rest of the time I’d look for a place to stay the night as long as it isn’t too dark. At night it’s hard to see if there will be a good view the next morning.
So much stunning nature. So many must-sees and possibilities to experience something new. I absolutely fell in love with Norway. Next time I travel to Norway, I will definitely go by camper again. The country is pretty long and you often have to drive long distances. Due to only spending 10 days there, we didn’t even manage to visit the northern part. Many of you recommended the Lofoten to me, a group of islands that are sometimes called the “Hawaii of Europe”. Norway is the perfect country for nature lovers (like me) and the more time you can take for a trip there, the better.
On Instagram, you can find a story highlight called “NORWAY” for some visual insights. Make sure to watch the story highlight before you go to Norway. 🙂
Last but not least, here are some of my Norway highlights: