It’s becoming an increasingly popular trend for people to escape from the daily grind by selling their house and possessions, buying a van and hitting the road for a full-time life of adventures. These days, you can’t move for perfectly curated Instagram shots of travellers and their vans, and there is no denying it’s an exciting way to see the world.

However, to really make van life work for you, there’s a lot you need to think about. Disclaimer: with the ongoing pandemic – the dreams of van life might temporarily paused.

This article will help you discover if the lifestyle change is right for you before you commit to buying that van.

What is important to you

There is a lot more to van life than simply rushing out and buying the first or cheapest van you come across. You need to know what you can’t live without and make sure your new home is appropriately equipped. Some people must have access to Wi-Fi or other electronic devices for work or keep in touch with family.  This will require careful thought and planning, especially if you need to revolve your days around internet café opening hours.

Two happy campers in a van

Equally, others will prioritize access to showers and toilets, and you will need to decide if you can survive by using campsites and public toilets, or if you should invest in modifying your van. Remember also to consider what you will do on rainy days, and make sure the space is suitable for you to spend hours in there without feeling uncomfortable or cramped. 

Finally, be sure to budget appropriately, working out whether you want to prioritize spending money on kitting out the van, or on your food and excursions when you are travelling on the road. Always make sure you keep some savings for emergency van repairs, hotel stays or other unexpected problems that may crop up.

Be flexible with plans

The absolute best reason to switch to van life is for the freedom that just can’t be found when living in a physical house. You can literally pick up and move on to new scenery and friendships whenever you feel like it. It’s important to have end destinations in mind, especially if you are travelling in peak season when places to park up for the night are in high demand.

A Camper Van under the Blue Skies

However, don’t feel like you can’t deviate from the plan. Van life is unpredictable, and you need to be happy to roll with the punches. You might fall sick and have to stop for medical treatment. You may blow a tyre or encounter other mechanical problems. Read more about what the U.K government says about converting a vehicle into a motorcaravan here.

At some point, you’ll likely be disrupted by roadblocks or weather warnings and have to change the route. Van life is a rollercoaster and you’ll want to be sure you can cope with the ups and downs before making the permanent change in lifestyle.

Have a trial run

Even once you’ve thought through all of the above, you should still have a practice run before buying your own van. Whether it’s going camping to get used to the campsites or renting a motorhome to figure out if you can really live in a downsized space, without all your modern conveniences, it’s important to try before you buy.

Most people who fail at making the switch to van life are those who haven’t properly thought about the ins and outs of the practical nature of living in a van. Once the initial excitement of travel subsides, you need to be sure you’ll continue enjoying your new lifestyle.

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Aron is an avid blogger and digital marketer. In the evenings you can find him running along the promenade or tackling one of the many books on his shelf. He enjoys a whiskey at the end of a hard week.

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