Hi guys, so by now you’ve probably read some of our blogs about travelling in the van, and some of you may be wondering if it could work for you (if you haven’t read our other blogs then you should definitely check them out!)
Well, the good news is that the “Vanlife-style” is a very flexible one – it’s pretty much down to how you want it and pretty much anyone can live this life so long as they’re happy to put in the effort to make it work.
We’ll start with the part-timers.
So, you want to remain in your lovely warm house and “normie” job, but want a weekend camper for road trips and such… Great!
If you’re looking to have a van that gets used as an escape as and when you like, then I would recommend getting a smaller van that feels like less of a home and more of a cosy place to relax – if you build it right, you’ll have more than enough space for essentials and you’ll be on the road in no time. That doesn’t mean a larger van wouldn’t be appropriate – this is about you and the only “correct” way to do this is the balance of what makes you comfortable and what’s essential.
I recommend a smaller van as it’s capable of fitting through most places and you’ll rarely find yourself competing for the larger spaces at stop sites. You’ll also find it easier driving through those tiny villages we find ourselves in far too often.
In regards to what to bring – that’s down to you. Bring what makes you happy, within reason. Don’t bring a laptop, TV monitor and expect to be using it all the time if you’re not going to be plugged into power/ don’t have a battery setup to support it).
Small time use like this is really down to exactly what you want and you shouldn’t run into many issues when planning your van.
Now, on to the committed hardcore mother-truckers who want to ditch everything at home and get out on the road.
Firstly, don’t get put off by challenges ahead – it’s extremely liberating and the sense of achievement is unbelievable. I was a mix of excited and nervous when I joined Carl and Danny on their travels as I didn’t know what to expect.
Vehicle size is still down to what you prefer, though I would still recommend a larger van as it will lend you plenty of space to move around in and can offer additional storage whereas a smaller van can be more cosey but requires more precise planning and you need to be smart with what you bring.
A larger van would be my advice, as it’s got the space to feel like a home and you’ve got room to play with when it comes to the kitchen, storage and sleeping space.
The main areas where a larger van could let you down is fuel consumption, as they weigh significantly more, and the size of it on smaller roads/ in small villages – though once you get a feel for your size you’ll be able to make the right calls as to where you can and can’t proceed through.
With any van, the main area you’re going to need to put some thought into is the balance of space vs storage; a larger van can either favour “roominess” over storage OR it could offer a smaller space to live in with far more storage. In a smaller van, you’re more limited as you have to really get the balance right from what you need to bring and what you want to bring while still ensuring you’ve got enough living space to be inside during bad weather.
As a topic, this is something I’ll look to cover in a future vlog where I focus on the aspects of building a van – for now, we’ll stick to how adaptable this life is for you.
Something everyone on every Facebook group I’m a part of asks about. Preparing a van can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it.
Again, it all comes down to compromises – a common rule that you’ve no doubt seen by now.
Our van (2003 Ford Transit, Long Wheelbase Minibus) only set Carl and Danny back £800.-, however, they put approximately £2,000.- into the conversion afterwards. This may sound like a lot, but you can easily spend more if you’re wanting better materials, batteries, chargers etc.
If you’re on a tight budget, the best recommendation would be to get a cheap van with high mileage and a good, regular service history.
The reason for this is as a well-maintained engine with a few hundred thousand miles on it is unlikely to be giving up anytime soon – so long as you take care of it with basic maintenance.
Don’t take this as gospel, though. Buying any vehicle of any age could trigger some issues that weren’t known previously and thus get expensive. It can happen to anyone.
The Vanlife can really work for anyone.
Some people don’t even quit their jobs, but instead, opt to just live in their van! The “rent” (insurance + maybe parking costs) is much cheaper than actual rent in a house, generally speaking.
You can shower at your workplace in some cases and alternatively, perhaps you visit your folks every other day to get a shower/ every evening.
It’s really down to you with what is more/ less convenient. There is plenty of online work available when living on the road, so staying out there for extended lengths is a very viable option. It’s really down to what you want, what you can afford and your ability to compromise! If you have any specific questions about the van life then drop a comment below or visit the forum and we’ll give you our best advice!