Van Life - The Beginner’s Guide to Living in a Campervan

December 5, 2018 in Tips for Travellers, Tips for Owners, Travel and Camping Hacks & Tips for your Motorhome

Are you tired of feeling so trapped in the city? Spending day after day surrounded by buildings and traffic. Can you remember the last time you had a breath of fresh air? Real fresh air, not the kind your humidifier produces. If this is the case for you, it is time for you to make a change, to take life back into your hands. You need a city break, you need freedom, you need a campervan. The life of a motorhome traveller can seem daunting to beginners, but it really does not have to be that way. Read this article, go find yourself a lovely motorhome, and then we can officially pronounce you a motorhome owner, a van lifer . We promise to hold your hand along the way, and prepare you for this wonderful journey to come.

Goboony Van Life H2 Living Campervan Motorhome Forest

Is Living in a Van for Me?

Only you can know! And you may surprise yourself by settling into it well. Take it as a challenge, not a punishment. Embrace minimalism! Embrace wet wipe washes and peeing behind a bush. Whilst living in a campervan isn’t for everyone, we can assure you that it is a freedom you will not find elsewhere. You can read up on things to know when deciding if van life is truly the life for you.

Check out some tips from experts on Porch to see if vanlife is for you!

Important Tips Before Buying

  • Make sure to consider space! Either way, you’ll probably have to learn to pack lighter than you usually do on holidays. But if that is going to be a real struggle, be realistic and head for a bigger size.
  • How many people will be usually sleeping in the motorhome? If you always travel with your partner but once a year the kids or friends might join, is it really worth buying a bigger van? For those moments it may be best to get a cosier model and invest in a nice tent!

  • Check the mileage! Low mileage will assure you dozens of trips of the years free of car troubles. But if your motorhome is more for sleeping than driving, this shouldn’t be your biggest concern.

  • Get it checked out by a mechanic first. They can inform you of the state it is in, and this could save you thousands later on.

  • Try not to let the interior be your deciding factor, as this is one of the easiest things to fix later. And it can be super fun to decorate it in your own style.

  • Find out about similar experiences! If you don't know anyone with their own campervan, check out blogs like Outwit Trade, which contains real vanlifer testimonials.

Goboony Motorhome Campervan Van Life H2 Sky

What are the Best Vans to Live Out of?

While we can advise you on some of the best vans to live in and the basics of converting a van to live in, in the end this is such an individual decision. We can provide you with all the information, but only you know which campervan suits your needs and style. The best thing you can do is research, just look around for more inspiration. There are dozens of great van life blogs out there, such as this one from Van Clan on the best van to live in.

Our first, and most important, piece of advice is to test the motorhome lifestyle first, through renting a van for a few days or weeks! On our website, we provide you with hundreds of different options, so you can begin testing if this lifestyle would suit you and what facilities you’re looking for. If you’ve got a van in mind, find it on our website and test it. You can also ask the private owner any questions and for advice. But once that is settled…

  • Volkswagen. Going for a Volkswagen is always a safe choice for a beginner van lifer, as many have already been converted to live in, and thus very little needs to be done to make it a home. They are the quintessential campervan, providing the perfect vintage backdrop for your photos. There is also a strong community for Volkswagen van owners on and offline, so advice is but a few keystrokes away! However, we recommend these vans for individuals with some prior car and engine knowledge, as these can be notoriously fickle and possibly break down.

  • Conversion vans. A typically full-sized cargo van that has been converted to accommodate family camping and road trips. One of the most spacious forms of van life. These bring the benefit of also having been already converted and usually fare lower in price than their competitors. However their low price can be reflected by low quality, so check carefully before you buy! If you're looking for advice on converting a van, be sure to check out Outbound Living for a wide variety of tutorials, blogs and more on van conversion, van life and more!

  • Cargo vans. This is perfect for adventurers and off-road fans. It provides the ultimate flexibility for converting the van and designing it to your taste, and is the most subtle home on wheels. Ensure to check the engines carefully for this design, as if maintained correctly they can last a lifetime. The most conventional style of van, its’ simplicity will pay off when you can enjoy a hassle free beer watching the sunset, after a long day of exploring.

  • If you’re set on a small motorhome, you can look to this blog for detailed descriptions of each type of small motorhome! Or if you’re still not sure and just want to know what is new in the field of motorhomes, read up on the newest campervans.

Goboony Motorhome Campervan Van Life H2 Forest

What are the Van Life Essentials?

The trick to surviving in a campervan is to reduce all van life essentials. Plan ahead, but also be open to new surprises and new opportunities. Here are some of the top tips from van lifers.

  • Embrace the minimal lifestyle and double check every item you bring or purchase. Do I really need this? Can I survive comfortably without this? Will I use this item every other day? Bring enough clothing that you can survive until you reach your next washing opportunity, but throw away this societal idea of not re-wearing an outfit. You’re travelling, no one even knows what you wore the day before!

  • Think of the climate where you’ll be travelling, is AC something you’ll need to keep sane? If so, perhaps investing in it, but restricting yourself to those desperate moments is a wise decision.

  • Find a way to keep drinks or food cold, if a fridge is not in your budget then invest in a nice coolbox. That cold drink will save you during a heatwave and it will be an investment that you never regret.

  • It is useful to have a gas cooker for making your meals, or a very good camping stove. And invest in some specialised camping utensils to save space - the wonders of the spork! You can even get pots and pans that slot in together to save space.

  • Consider that you’ll often be existing in remote areas without electricity, so invest in a good flashlight, or even a reading light that you can attach to your head! Make sure to have a good power bank, you never want to be without a working phone in an emergency!

  • Some of the most vital van life essentials will be in your toiletries bag. Ensure you stock up on sunscreen, insect repellent and aloe vera, aim for broad creams and medicines that can help a variety of ailments.

  • Bring things to keep you entertained, as you can longer rely on an episode of Eastenders every evening! If you need a bit of film entertainment, a laptop and some second hand DVDs will go along way. Otherwise take the opportunity to explore hobbies or try new things. Stick a mountain bike to the back, or a surfboard! Bring an easel and paints, some good books, a guitar… the list is endless. Take back your life, and let yourself learn more.

Goboony Van Life H2 Living Campervan Motorhome Interior Man Woman

Okay… and now?

Now? Now you go! You’re ready for the road, you’re ready for the freedom! Start mapping out a route, or just start driving. If you want some road trip ideas, check out our following road trip ideas:

But it doesn’t stop with a route! A road trip isn’t just about destinations, it is the journey along the way, so here are a few blogs to help with that as well:

Goboony Van Life H2 Living Campervan Motorhome Forest

And you’re set for vanlife to change your way of thinking! All we can advise you is to just do some thorough research, the internet is filled with tips, experiences and advice. And so is Goboony! Experience the van life, even just for a few months, or you may regret it for the rest of your life. Not quite convinced or looking for more van life inspiration? Head to Beanies and Bikinis, a great blog that will teach you everything you need to know!