Does the idea of lengthy road trips appeal to you? Are you even more excited when you add in the idea of driving a van that also serves as your living quarters?
If so then the ‘van life’ may be perfect for you!
If you have ever wanted to explore Australia then the van life is something to consider. If you do decide to go that way, here are a few tips to make sure your van life is as safe and comfortable as possible.
Make sure the van life really is for you
Van life can be for everyone, from families, retirees, solo travellers, and pets. If you like the idea of driving a van that’s a good start. If you also like the idea of sleeping and living out of the same van then the ‘Van life’ is may be just around the bend for you.
The greatest challenge probably comes for families as you need to keep in mind that living in a van can be quite tight at times. However, if everyone can learn to get along in tight spaces, there is nothing to say a van life is only for singles or couples.
If you are a solo traveller, it’s important to take some extra precautions for safety. Keep friends and family up-to-date on your location, schedule and activities. When it comes to overnight stays, park in authorised camping areas and locations in towns that are allocated for campers and vans to stay overnight. Pets (particularly dogs) are great travel companions, and there is often plenty of room in the van to share with your pal. In addition to being a good addition for safety, having a dog can be a great conversation starter.
Keeping to a budget
When it comes to touring in a van, you need to take into account fuel and maintenance costs. Fuel economy and maintenance costs will be greatly influenced by the model of your van. Getting an older ‘cheaper’ van may quickly come back to haunt you if things start to play up. Investing in a more modern van may also save you significant money on fuel once you hit the road.
Also be aware of other typical day-to-day living expenses such as permits and campground fees.
Save money on fuel by downloading Fuel Map on the App Store, which is home to a comprehensive database of petrol stations across Australia. This app allows you to search for the nearest and cheapest petrol stations in your area. The same developers of Fuel Map also created Wikicamps which is an essential download if you are looking for suitable areas for overnight stays. This app contains information on a variety of campgrounds, caravan parks, and lots of great information and reviews on nearby points of interest.
Creating a comfortable set up in your van
Some people choose to pay for a van with an already established interior. However, it can be more satisfying if you purchase an empty van and make it your own. If you aren’t confident in your own design skills or craftsmanship, there are companies out there who build fit outs for vans.
Comfort can mean many different things for different people. Having a fridge and food storage may be essential for some people while others may have the luxury of some extra budget to go to local cafes, restaurants and shops every day. Having air conditioning, enough space to spread out, or room for your favourite books, can take your van’s comfort to the next level. Get some inspiration for your fit out by checking what others have done:
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Feeling this beautiful space ✨Our van progress has slowed up a bit this past week while we’ve moved house. It’s all done now though and we have settled into a much smaller space by the beach, which will be home for about the next four months while we finish the van 😍 – The windows have gone in and boy do they make such a difference! The space feels so much bigger, so glad we decided to go with the full size windows 👌🏻 – The next steps for us are the insulation, then the electrical work. – Meanwhile guys, we both feel like new humans since moving from the city to the beach. It’s amazing what a daily swim in the ocean can do for the soul ✨ – 📷 @we_who_roam 💕
When it comes to living on the road be prepared to start living your life as a minimalist. Once you add in a bed, cooking equipment, and other general objects in the back of your van, you probably won’t have much room to pack anything else.
There is a high chance that on your first few trips, you are probably going to need to buy a few objects here and there to make up for things you may have forgotten. Once you forget to pack an object on one trip, you will never forget to pack it again.
Finding the best van for you
Just like any important purchase such as a new house or an overseas holiday, there are many factors to take into consideration. When it comes to purchasing a van, you will need to consider what size is best suited for your intended purposes. This includes small minivans, medium Astro Vans, large vans often used by construction companies and mobile businesses, to extra large vans which are perfect for if you planning on living in your van full-time.
You will also need to take into account a variety of features which will impact on the driving experience. This includes drivetrain (2WD-4WD), windows (often hard to insulate), engine size, as well as choosing between petrol or diesel. Ultimately, it’s you who will be spending so much time in your van, so it pays to pick a size and model you love and trust.
If you are seeking a modern and reliable van that is suitable for embarking on the van life, have a chat with Car Search Brokers today. Our brokers can help you find and purchase the right van for your needs. For any car related advice or enquiries please do not hesitate to get in touch.