Story of the Unexpected Events During Our Campervan Road Trip

Travel creates unforgettable memories, either good or not-so-good one. The reality of travel sometimes also do not match our initial imagination about the place. It may become a sweet surprise if the reality exceeds our imagination. It may also become a nightmare if the reality is not as good as what we imagine. 

Traveling is an art. What makes traveling exciting is the unexpected things that we might encounter, either in a good way or bad way. However, this can be minimised with a good preparation. A good plan is necessary for traveling, but having too much expectation is not. Everytime we travel, we always leave our expectations open. 

We had some unforgettable memories regarding the unexpected during our campervan trip. We will share some of them in this post so that you don’t repeat our (silly) mistakes 🙂

Never be Half-hearted on Vehicle Insurance

It happened during our road trip in New South Wales, Australia. We were from Eden town and heading to the next town, driving our campervan following the Google Maps navigation. However, there was a road detour along the way and we were directed to a narrow road. With such a long campervan, it needs a good skill to be able to drive pass through the road and make a turn. Especially, when there was a few cars parking at the turn. We didn’t aware that there was a short pole at the turn. When we made a turn, the right body of the van grazed the pole and made a long scratch. Oops!

What makes it worse was, we only sign up for a half-coverage insurance. It means that we still bear some liability if something bad happened. At the end of our trip, we should pay about AUD 1,800 for the damage. Thankfully, we purchased a travel insurance and it covers the vehicle excess.

Lesson learned: Always purchase a full-coverage insurance for your road trip vehicle.

Never Delay Refueling

We were on our Western Australia road trip at that time, driving from Perth to Albany. We always so excited of having a road trip. The beautiful scenery along the way captivated your attention. Unfortunately, it made us forget to look at the fuel bar too. When we passed a petrol station, the fuel bar was still half. We didn’t stop there, thinking that we still can make it into the next petrol station. However, didn’t check the nearest petrol station from there, which apparently was almost a hundred kilometers away. Oops!

The drama started there. We keep on staring at the fuel bar as we drove along. And when there was one bar left, we decided to turn off the AC until we could find the next petrol station. Of course, we were nervous! We were afraid to be stranded in the middle of nowhere because running out of fuel.

It was already dark when the fuel indicator shows a half-bar. Thankfully, wifey saw a petrol sign showing a direction to a small town named Cranbrook. So, we made a detour to that town to find the petrol station.  As it is a small town, it was very quiet. Almost no people we could find outside their homes. We drove around the town but couldn’t find the petrol station. We were really afraid that the tank might be totally empty before we could refuel.

There was one small pizza restaurant open, and hubby decided to go in and ask for direction to the petrol station location. The restaurant owner then showed us a direction. At least we know that the petrol station is really still in operation. Finally, we found the petrol station. It turns out that it was an unmanned station, and the surrounding was pitch black. Anyway, we were so relieved that we could make it. It was really an unforgettable moment, and we got a lesson learned.

The life-saving petrol station in Cranbrook, Western Australia.

Lesson learned: On the map, pin petrol stations along your route before you start driving. When the tank is half empty, go for a refuel straight away. Don’t delay, because you don’t know if you can find another petrol stations again in few kilometers ahead.

Do Not Trust Google Maps Blindly

As a traveler, we tend to trust Google Maps fully as we are not familiar with the area. It was in Australia when we drove from Sale to Walhalla, Victoria.

We were glad that Google Maps shows us the fastest route, as we intended to join a pre-book mining tour in Walhalla. Almost reaching Walhalla, the navigation told us to turn to a gravel road. What we understand from a quick research, Walhalla is a small town. So, we thought it’s a bit make sense that there will be some part of the road that is graveled. We kept on driving, but we were still on a gravel road after tens of Kilometers. At that time, we realized that it must be a wrong way. It was too late to turn back, as we are already a half-way.

No through road

We decided to go forward hoping that the graveled road would lead us to the main road. But, we were wrong. We had to stop as there was a river in front of us. It was impossible for our campervan to go through as it is not a 4-WD vehicle. Oops!

We had no choice but to turn back and tried to drive to the nearest main road from there. The navigation led us to a narrow path, with a cliff on both sides of the road. We hold our breath in every turn, and finally relieved when we see a paved main road.

We reached Walhalla right before the tour starts. Apparently, it was the last tour of the day. We were glad that we could make it after our real struggle on the way.

Lesson learned: Check the route before you go. If necessary, view it in Google Street Maps so you have a rough idea what the road will be like.

Always Bring Your Campervan Key with You

This is our silliest mistake in our trips. We are aware that we should never leave our key inside the vehicle but one mishap made us do so. It was in Twizel, New Zealand when it happened. In a cold morning, we are outside our campervan and is locked from inside because we didn’t bring the key along with us. We already had the worst scenario in mind, we have to call for a help and it will need at least 2 hours to arrive. Meanwhile, we had to wait for 2 hours without warm clothes outside the van.

Our worry subsides when our neighbor camper greeted us and asked what happened. We told him that we’re locked. As he rented the same type of campervan from the same company, he offered to try to unlock the door with his campervan keys. Viola, it worked!! I don’t know if it is pure coincidence that the key was matched. But we were so thankful to him.

Lesson learned: As the subtitle says, always bring your campervan key with you wherever you go

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