We’ve just arrived back in the UK after an epic eight week adventure travelling around Sweden in our campervan. Taking our VW Transporter abroad for the first time meant a lot of preparation, as we journeyed through France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Each country has different regulations and items that you’re required to have in or on your vehicle, and while researching these we found a few additional items to ensure our travels ran smoothly. In this blog post we’ll go through the equipment we brought with us, from essential tools and safety gear, to comfort-enhancing items and entertainment options.

High Visibility Jacket

When driving in Europe, most countries require you to carry reflective jackets for each passenger in the vehicle. These should be in an easy-to-reach place (i.e. not stuck at the bottom of a cupboard!) so that you can easily grab them in an emergency. In some countries, you can be heavily fined if you don’t wear a reflective jacket if you break down or have an accident. For such a cheap item, and one that doesn’t take up too much space, this is a no-brainer to add to your packing list!

European Headlight adapter

If you’re driving a vehicle that is designed for driving on the left-hand side of the road, you will need to buy headlight adapters so that you don’t dazzle drivers when you drive on the right-hand side in Europe. Again this is a legal requirement in European countries and you’ll receive a fine if you’re caught using your headlights without them.

The included instructions initially look overwhelming, but these stickers are quick and easy to fit!

LPG Adapters

If you have a refillable LPG tank in your camper and are planning to travel abroad long enough that you’ll need to refill it, packing a set of adapters will make this task a lot easier! Different countries in Europe require a different adapter to fill up, and whilst some refilling places will have these available to use, it is not a guarantee. There’s a guide on myLPG.eu explaining which adapter you’ll need, but investing in this set of three will mean you’ll always have the right one to hand!

Warning Triangle

This is another legal requirement for most countries in Europe. If you break down you will need to place a warning triangle behind your vehicle to make it more visible to passing traffic – especially in poor visibility conditions, like rain or fog. A warning triangle will alert other road users to your presence, allowing them to slow down and avoid a potential accident. If your van is on the smaller side and you’re conscious of taking up valuable storage space, it’s possible to buy a warning triangle that folds into a small package to save room when not in use.

Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is one of our top campervan essentials! Not only is carrying one a requirement in some countries, but why wouldn’t you anyway? When travelling in your campervan or motorhome there are numerous ways a fire can unexpectedly start, from leaving a gas stove unattended when cooking, to a mechanical fault in the engine or bad wiring in your electrical system. A fire extinguisher is your first line of defence against a fire spreading and damaging your home on wheels! Pair this with a smoke alarm and you’ll have peace of mind that you’re prepared in case of a fire emergency, and your camper will be safe!

First Aid Kit

It’s always a good idea to carry a first aid kit in your vehicle, no matter where you’re travelling. Owning a well-equipped first aid kit means you’re prepared for minor injuries, sudden illnesses or emergencies. It’s especially essential if you’re on a road trip in an unfamiliar place, or remote areas – you may find yourself too far from the nearest pharmacy, doctor or hospital to reach immediate care. While we’re on the subject, if you regularly take medication it’s important to ensure you have enough to last your entire trip, as you may not be able to top up your prescription abroad.

Magnetic UK Sticker

If you’re driving your campervan or motorhome across the channel to Europe you’ll need a sticker to identify that your vehicle is from the UK. (Unless your number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag, in which case you will not need an additional sticker). It’s a legal requirement to have this identifier displayed on your van, and you will face a fine if you’re seen driving without one. Additionally, since the end of 2021 you must ensure you have a ‘UK’ sticker and not one of the older ‘GB’ stickers.

We found that a magnetic sticker is superior to an adhesive one for several reasons; firstly when we returned from our trip it was easy to remove and keep for our next adventure, and secondly, it didn’t damage the paintwork or leave any residue when we removed it from our van. Initially we had been concerned that our magnetic sticker would not be strong enough to stay put for the duration of our trip – we had visions of it falling off and receiving a fine! But we needn’t have worried as we travelled for eight solid weeks through rain, hail and snow, and our magnetic sticker stayed in the exact same place the entire trip.

European EHU Adapter

Before we set off on our trip, we didn’t initially think we would need a European hook-up adapter. From all the research we undertook before we left the UK, we were of the understanding that most campsites had upgraded to use the same cable as the UK. However, this wasn’t the case – particularly when travelling through Sweden – and we had to purchase an adapter whilst we were away. For peace of mind, it’s worth getting one of these short cable adapters before you travel so you don’t have to scramble to find somewhere to buy an adapter while on your trip.

SIM Card with EU Roaming

Since Brexit, most mobile phone companies have capped or even stopped including EU roaming in your allowance. To save some money, we opted to pick up a new Tesco Mobile Pay-As-You-Go sim card for our router (see below) as Tesco still include uncapped data for travelling in the EU. We bought a 50GB monthly data bundle, which Tesco doubled for the first two months as part of a deal, and we found this was more than enough to email, stream movies and update our social media! The mobile speeds abroad were super fast – so much better than the UK – and we recommend Tesco if you’re in need of a Pay-As-You-Go sim card. Be wary of their terms and conditions as their fair use policy does state that you need to be in the UK the majority of the time, but it was perfect for our two-month trip.

Portable WIFI router

A portable WiFi router gives you a dedicated wireless internet connection in your van for all your devices! We use it to connect our iPad to the internet for watching films on Netflix, and uploading content to our Instagram & blog. The router also acts as a hub for our security cameras & Victron equipment. Having a dedicated WiFi router for our trip to Sweden meant that we could save the roaming data on our phones and have a dedicated sim card for using data abroad.

Portable Jumpstarter

We’ve previously posted a full review of our portable jumpstarter as it’s one of the essential tools we bring everywhere we go, and we’d definitely recommend investing in one for your next campervan adventure! Imagine you accidentally leave the lights on overnight and wake up with a flat battery, or your van simply doesn’t start when you’re heading off for a day of exploring. It’s enough trouble calling out roadside assistance to jumpstart your vehicle when you’re in your own country, let alone when you’re travelling abroad and need to navigate a language barrier before finding help! This is especially useful if you’re in a remote or rural location – the peace of mind knowing you can get yourself started again without any assistance or stress is worth the investment!

Water tank adapter

This item is not necessarily essential, but you’ll find it makes life easier on the road. Before we bought this adapter we would both need to be involved in the task of filling up our fresh water tank. One of us would ensure the hose was securely positioned in the fill-up point on the side of our van, while the other was in control of running the tap and checking the water level in our tank. Now it only takes one of us as the adapter connects the hose and securely fixes it in the fill-up point. A simple addition to our kit, but it makes a world of difference!


For our first few campervan adventures, we had a couple of cheap head torches in a drawer that we’d initially invested in when house sitting – useful for when we needed to take a dog out for a late night wee! These torches were pretty weak and, while they did the job for a quick walk around the garden, we’d go through so many batteries that cost-wise it made sense to upgrade them. What a difference it makes to have a good quality torch! Even on the lowest setting, this tiny torch packs a punch which is useful for finding items in the dark, lighting up a campsite at night or checking under our van for any issues. The fact that it’s rechargeable means we’re no longer going through batteries and can simply use the included cable to keep the charge topped up.

AutoVox Rear View Mirror

The AutoVox rear-view mirror is a game-changer! Driving a bigger or longer vehicle can be intimidating when you’re on the opposite side of the road, getting used to the rules of driving abroad. The AutoVox rear-view mirror is a digital mirror that replaces your built-in rear-view mirror – you simply hook up a camera at the rear of your van and the always-on screen clips over the top of the mirror. If your van has a long wheelbase or your cab is separate to the living space, to where you can’t easily see out the back of your van, having an AutoVox mirror means you’ll still be able to see what’s behind you when driving. We found this particularly useful when travelling through Germany, where cars seemingly appear out of nowhere at high speed! The second benefit of the AutoVox is that it doubles as a dash cam, both at the front and rear, so you can capture footage of any incidents. In Sweden, we used this feature to save footage we captured of a wild moose by the side of the road!

Carpuride CarPlay portable in-car entertainment system

If you’re going on a campervan adventure abroad you’ll spend a lot of time driving on unfamiliar roads. Nowadays everyone relies on navigation systems, and over our years of travelling we’ve found that nothing beats Google Maps. For a while we were using our phones on a mount attached to our dashboard to navigate, but the smaller screen size was less than ideal when faced with complicated directions. We looked at updating our van’s head unit to one that supported Apple CarPlay, but found that a decent system would cost upwards of £1,000.

We then stumbled upon a company called Carpuride who create touchscreen, wireless devices that support CarPlay (and Android Auto). It was far cheaper and removable too, meaning if we upgrade our campervan or switch to another car we can keep the unit, and it’s future-proofed in case the technology gets a major upgrade in the next few years as we won’t have invested in an outdated head unit. The device connects to your existing head unit, either via Bluetooth or via an Aux cable, and you then connect your phone to the Carpuride to have full wireless Apple CarPlay in your campervan on a large, clear display. It has so many added benefits – a choice of navigation apps; Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze etc., you can make and receive calls or messages hands-free, and play music from a variety of streaming platforms.

Additional Items:

Tyre Inflator: Essential for maintaining the correct tyre pressure in your motorhome or camper, ensuring safety and fuel efficiency without the need to find a petrol station and work out foreign instructions when abroad. We also have a TyrePal monitoring system so that we can keep a close eye on the tyre temperatures and pressure so that we can be alerted before anything goes wrong.
Rechargeable USB Fan: This keeps you cool during warm nights or long drives without draining your camper’s battery. Especially handy if you don’t have AC in your van!
Various Tools: Wrenches, drills, screwdrivers – always handy for any unexpected repairs or adjustments.
Card Games: For some fun and entertainment during downtime or rainy days, everyone needs at least one or two games in their camper!

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Having the right gear can make all the difference in ensuring a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable campervan adventure abroad. We hope you’ve found some useful items to take on your next adventure – happy travels!

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