With more and more Brits preferring to make a home behind the wheel instead of a white picket fence, life in a van is no longer a last resort but a popular first choice across the UK. These van lifers share their experiences as they roam, inspiring others to take the path less travelled - just head over to Instagram to check out over six million #VanLife posts!
There’s more to this movement than adding a motor to the tiny home trend. Far from a passing fad, it is a way of life that trades materialism for minimalism, mundane routine for outdoor adventure and slavery to the corporate grind for freedom to take control of your time.
While the appeal of waving goodbye to rent or mortgage fees may attract you to this nomadic lifestyle, it’s the ability to experience whatever you want, wherever and whenever you like, that keeps so many van lifers on the road.
Provided you’re physically and mentally prepared, van life offers invaluable opportunities to discover the world, grow as an individual and realise what truly matters in life. And, yes, you can also slash your expenses.
Everything considered, it’s no surprise that adventurers all over Great Britain have been quick to jump aboard this ever-growing bandwagon. Below, we delve into the reasons behind its speedy evolution, how you can get involved and which van lifers to check out for some travel inspiration!
As a van owner, you can earn over £10,000 each year by hiring it out on Camplify. As a holidaymaker, Camplify helps you to find the perfect rental so that you can experience the joys of van life without having to own one yourself.
Equipped with living essentials and home comforts in one convenient space, you can enjoy the freedom to wander wherever the journey takes you. And adventure awaits at every turn. Luckily, campervan living - and motorhome or caravan living, for that matter - offers the flexibility to explore like no other.
Tied to neither a lease nor a strict travel agenda, you can discover the open road at your own pace! Loving a certain town? Stay another night. Not feeling this camping spot? On to the next. With its inherent spontaneity and endless opportunities, you can live van life your way.
A Chance To Cut Costs
Thanks to no more rent, mortgage or utility payments, life on the road can save you serious money – particularly when it comes to housing.
With an average rent of £967 in the UK, surging living expenses are a key driving factor behind the van life movement.And don’t get us started on London, where renters face an eye-watering average of £1,694 per month!
Now imagine saving up to £20,000 a year on housing and spending as little as £15 a day.
But make no mistake: van life is not the magical answer to zero expenses. You’ll still need to pay for petrol, vehicle maintenance and campground facilities. As you are in almost complete control of the amount you spend in these domains, your costs will ultimately depend on your lifestyle preferences.
Less Is More
Your van won’t have as much storage space as a house. That means you’ll have to re-evaluate your belongings, only bringing those that serve a necessary purpose or genuinely ‘spark joy’, as Marie Kondo would say.
Honestly, this is a blessing in disguise. Minimalist living takes you back to basics, teaching you to make do with less, appreciate the little things and recognise that your happiness doesn’t rest in excess. Put simply, van life is good for your soul.
Oh, and everything you need is within arm's reach!
Time For The Things You Love
With its freedom and flexibility, van life is a celebration of our finite time on this beautiful planet. Whether you want to spend the day hiking with your partner, splashing around in the sea with your kids or painting the surrounding landscape in peace, a van can take you there.
Not to mention that less living space and fewer impulse buys minimise your housekeeping duties and pressure to afford the unnecessary. With a simpler day to day, you can devote more time to your hobbies, interests and relationships. In other words, things that actually matter.
Friendships Across Great Britain
There’s no community like the van lifer community! With over 500,000 touring vans in use across the UK, you’re guaranteed to meet new and interesting people from all walks of life as you roam from campground to campground.
What’s more, chances are they’ll be like-minded campers who understand your lifestyle on a deep level. That means you can skip the small talk and create meaningful connections from the offset.
Prefer to keep to yourself? The beauty of living in a van is that you can go your own way when things don’t quite click. Whatever you do, make sure to join a Van Life Facebook group for handy tips, expert advice and travel inspiration from fellow adventurers.
Mother Nature In All Her Glory
The nature of van life will have you spending most of your waking hours in the great outdoors - camp beside pristine beaches, at the top of towering cliffs, within wild forests and surrounded by vast moorlands. Essentially, you can immerse yourself in the UK’s most stunning landscapes, calling the wilderness your new home.
And don’t let the fear of freezing put you off - you can maintain a comfortable temperature inside your van all year round, no matter the weather. A propane heater will keep you cosy in the chill of winter, while reflective window coverings and a ventilation fan can cool you down on warm summer days.
Grow With The Flow
To thrive on the road, you need an open mind, an appreciation for simplicity and an enthusiasm for embracing the unknown.
Each day brings new experiences, with little certainty over where you’ll go, what you’ll do, who you’ll meet and where you’ll camp. While this can be daunting at first, you gradually learn to roll with the punches and accept change. And that feeling is oh so revitalising.
Challenges will rear their heads here and there, but you will overcome each one as you embrace the adventure. Because for every unexpected setback, there will be ten incredible moments that make it worthwhile.
Join The #VanLife Movement
Try Before You Buy
Make sure that van life is right for you before you invest in your own vehicle. Camplify works with van owners across the UK so that prospective buyers can rent a caravan, campervan, motorhome or camper trailer for a trial run holiday – no matter the location or budget.
Simply visit our homepage to search for your perfect van. We have thousands of rentals just waiting to take you on an unforgettable adventure!
Why Choose A Camplify Van?
Listings are rarely decorated in branding, so you can get a real sense of what it’s like to live in your own van.
All vans have unique layouts and features to feed your conversion inspiration!
Every hire is covered by comprehensive insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance, so you can enjoy peace of mind on the road.
To learn more about Camplify for hirers, click here.
Purchase The Right Van
Buying a van is the greatest step towards that life-changing adventure you’ve always longed for. Unfortunately, if you don’t do your research, it’s easy to fork out more than necessary.
Given the sheer volume of pre-owned vans on the market today (and in good nick, mind you), buying second-hand is your best option. While a brand new model could set you back over £50,000, one third of respondents in a Caravan and Motorhome Club survey reported buying a second-hand campervan for under £10,000!
Another key consideration is which type of vehicle to go for. Not sure where to start? We’ve compared the best campervan makes and models in the UK to help you get your search underway!
Make It Your Own With A Van Conversion
Now for the fun part. Your once-in-a-lifetime adventure deserves a one-of-a-kind van, so kit it out! These days, the standard of van conversions is unbelievable, with van lifers pulling out all the stops to make their spaces as beautiful and functional as the houses they left behind.
Converting a van is no easy feat, but it gives you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, as well as a sense of satisfaction and pride you cannot imagine. We promise your future self will thank you for putting in the effort, with a clever set up making van life infinitely easier.
Rather leave it to the professionals? Get in touch with a company like Rustic Campers or Wild Van to have an expert create a bespoke van conversion just for you!
Stock Up On Van Life Essentials
As well as the obvious items like linens, cookware and camping chairs, a few other pieces of gear are vital to all van lifers. Firstly, you should always pack a solid set of tools (think pliers, spanners, duct tape etc.). Even if you’re clueless when it comes to mechanical repairs, there’s a strong chance that someone else can help you to fix the issue. But not with their bare hands.
What’s more, never hit the road without a GPS locator beacon. When driving through remote wilderness, you want to be sure that you can contact emergency services if something goes wrong!
Making Money On The Road
It’s all well and good to treat a temporary road trip as a blissful vacation, but van lifers intending to wander indefinitely need to generate some sort of income. To sustain your nomadic lifestyle, you’ll either have to save up a hefty sum before you leave or figure out a way to earn as you go.
Luckily, there is a plethora of ways to make money on your travels, from digital freelance work and online content creation to seasonal farming and manual labour. You name it, a van lifer has done it. And with the UK’s Office of National Statistics claiming that 50% of us will be working remotely in 2020, now’s a better time than ever to join the flexible workforce!
Our advice? Devise a plan before your journey begins so as not to spoil your adventure with the stress of a dwindling bank account.
Share The Love On Camplify
There’s a silver lining to every cloud - even the gloom of returning from your van life escapades. With Camplify, you can hire out your campervan when it's not in use and earn up to £500 per week in extra income. As well as this, you’ll be helping other adventurers to experience the joys of the open road!
Once you've created your Camplify listing, just sit back and wait for the booking requests to roll in. Importantly, you control when you hire out your van and who you hire it out to.
A modern movement spurred by countless uploads of idyllic destinations, ace adventures and enviable conversions, there’s no better way to get your fix of van life inspo than on social media. Whichever your preferred platform, you’ll find well-known wanderers sharing their van life wisdom!
Need some names? Discover some of our favourite van lifers below.
Otis & Us
Join Katy, her husband and three young children as they adventure across the UK and Europe in their trusty campervan, Otis. A travel blog created while Katy was on maternity leave, Otis & Us shares all of the family travel inspo you need, with product reviews, activity ideas and van lifer tips galore.
A couple of UK-based van lifers, Simon and Dee create custom, hand-built conversions when they’re not out exploring our roads. After transforming their van into a fully functional home four years ago, they now share their skills so that fellow nomads can experience the joys of van life, too. Check out their unique van conversions for some genius design ideas!
A few years ago, Mike Hudson left his home in Hull to explore the world in his DIY van conversion. Thanks to Mike’s honest and vivid recordings of van life, it’s ups and downs, Vandog Traveller is your go-to resource for conversion advice, travel tips and nomadic living tricks.
Head over to Kat’s award-winning travel blog for a particularly beautiful account of van life. Kat quit her job as an air traffic controller to travel the world with her husband in their new motorhome. Having now covered over 60,000 miles, their Instagram is flooded with stunning photos from Stonehenge to Petra!