Our budget holiday started in Singapore then onto Vietnam. Our next destination was planned to be Laos and then Cambodia however friends of ours decided to get married right in the middle of our adventure  and as such we had to figure out a way to make sure we made it. The wedding was in Chicago which felt like half way around the world from where we were. Seeing we had to go a long way we decided to stay for a few weeks and explore and we are glad we did. Not only was the wedding fantastic but our entire trip to America was awesome. Kel had previously lived in San Diego before so was keen to head back and see what it is like know and Al had never seen any of California’s national or state parks. With budget in mind we found hotels and a rental car were going to be really expensive so we decided to try the camping option and rented a small camper from Lost Campers. It was a great decision and we had a blast.


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Driving through the Mojave Desert.


It was the summer school holidays while we were in the US and as such prices were pretty high. The cheapest we could find was Lost Campers. They had pretty good reviews online for the most part and although being basic,  had everything we needed so we booked in for 14 days of fun.

Our camper was essentially a family wagon with a collapsible bed in the back, a make shift sink and some camping gear in the back such as a stove, table and chairs. The camper also had a rooftop based awning for shade although we never actually pulled this out. The camper was a good size in that the bed was large enough for two people and it was small enough to look like a normal car in the day which meant it did not chew fuel and was very easy to drive and park.

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Check out this campsite. Right near the highest point of Yomesite. Magical view.

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Al cooking up a storm at our campsite just outside Yomsemite.

We did a have a small transmission problem with our first van however Lost Campers were quick to change it out with a new one when this did occur.

The camper was easy to drive and park and the set up for the bed was also very straight forward. Having the table and chairs in the back was a real advantage as you could make the most of the great campsites we found. We spent many hours staring at the views. The stove had two burners which was awesome and there was plenty of kitchen bits to ensure you could whip up a feast. It was a simple and fun way to explore California. Check out the camper we had below.


We had tried to research camping spots as much as we could before we landed in LA however we found the information online to be very contradictory. In summary what we found was that free camping in California could be a bit tricky and was not encouraged. We did however find ways around this.

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Camping is the best way to see Yomsemite.

The national parks and state forest all have campsites and some allow dispersed camping. The campsites we found were pretty expensive with some over $20 USD per night. This normally included only drop toilets and a fire pit. However it is always nice to camp somewhere you know you have permission to be.

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This was a $5 campsite in Bishop. There were toilets and every spot had a table and fire pit.

Dsipersed camping was allowed in some areas which essentially means you can camp where every you want following a few guidelines however all the parks and Forrests were different so we went into the info centres everything we entered a new area for the best info.

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Free campsite in San Bernardino National Forrest.

The biggest discovery on the trip which saved us a few dollars were casinos. In California casinos have been set up on Indian reservations. Most of the casinos allow you to camp in their carparks and some even have specials areas set up for campers. Noting they are open 24hrs it means you have the facilities you need and the security of parking in a safe area. They normally just ask that you check in with security when you arrive. We loved staying in these places as the campsites were free and you could always join the players club of each casino which normally gave you a sign up bonus of some sort (players clubs are free).


The campers have all been fitted to ensure that a double bed fits in the back. It is very easy to set up and we found the bed really comfortable. Being without a shower and toilet can somewhat restrict things however there are ways to work around this and we did not find this to be too restrictive.


The single best thing about this camper was the freedom. We could go pretty much where ever we wanted and stay in some great places for free or close to free. The info centres at each of the parks had great information and often helped us find free campsites, some with toilets.

Having the ability to also just use it like a car was a big advantage.


We really enjoyed our camper, even though we lost a day due to transmission problems (the day’s charge was refunded). The car was easy to drive and park and the set up was very quick. It had everything you need for a great outdoor adventure.

The ability to camp right on the beach and right up in the mountains was fantastic and waking up to the sounds of waves hitting the shore and birds singing is always a great experience.

The staff at Lost Campers were great and for $65 a day we think it was an absolute bargain. There are plenty of more expensive campers out there but if you are like us and are watching your budget carefully then this is the bargain holiday for you.

Get out and do it! If you mention our blog when you booking you will receive a good discount. Lost Campers. 


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