Are you considering living the vanlife? Then you’ll love this post.
Vanlife has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason – it’s a great way to see the world relatively frugally and free. But there are some things you need to know before hitting the open road in a campervan or motorhome.
In this post we’ve curated the best vanlife tips by full-time vanlifers, for living comfortably and safely on the road.
1. Ensure your van is suitable
Plan ahead with any motorhome or campervan purchase. Whether it is a coach build, self build or commissioned van, we see so many people having to rework or replace things later due to unsuitability. Electrics is one of the biggest areas we see discussed heavily and one that can be an endless pit of knowledge and costs. Don’t worry about what other people are using or running in their vans. Ask yourself what you want to use, how to power it and your preferred style of travel. This will help you correctly size a system that is as good in 5 years as it is today.
2. Get to know your vehicle
Before setting out on a long road trip, it’s important to get to know your vehicle inside and out. This means understanding how everything works from appliances, to your electrical system or gas system.
3. Ensure you’re fully road legal
We’re talking about the basics here like ensuring you have tax and the relevant insurance cover, especially if you are leaving the UK and embarking in travel in other countries. Also ensure you have a fully up to date MOT which should ensure your campervan or motorhome is fit for the road.
4. Insurance for your contents
This is something a lot of vanlifers don’t consider. Do you have any valuables inside your vehicle that you need covered on your insurance? If so you’ll need to speak to your insurance provider to see if they’re covered or can be added. You might have to seek separate insurance for contents.
5. Get your finances in order
Whilst living the vanlife is traditionally more frugal than running a house, you will still have expenses to consider. It’s wise to plan and stick to some kind of budgets here. Think about how many miles you can afford to travel every month with the rising fuel costs. How much gas might you need if you have gas appliances? Keep some contingency funds for van maintenance like tyres, brakes and even those unexpected mechanical eventualities.
6. Make the journey count
A lot of time you can get so focussed on researching the next destination to visit that you forget to enjoy the journey there. Take in your current location and explore the area before becoming fixated on where you are going next.
7. Use apps to find parkups
Consider using apps like park4night or Campercontact to help you find safe places to stay overnight. They list sites in the UK and abroad – some are beautiful spots by a lake away from the main road, others are simply car parks that allow overnight camping. Using these apps is also great for finding campsites which is useful if you need to empty your toilet cassette or fill up the water tank. Check the reviews before you visit.
8. Get a good meal plan
Creating a good meal plan makes it super quick and easy to shop for the right amount of food whilst lowering waste. If you also plan on travelling outside of your home country, a meal plan makes it easy to target the ingredients you need from unfamiliar supermarkets. A good meal plan should also make use of common ingredients that are often left over like Veg and Peppers etc. There are lots of meals you can make from excess ingredients.
9. Stay organised inside your van
It can be easy to let things get messy when you’re living in a small space, but staying organised by only carrying the essentials you need, will make your life much easier. Invest in some storage solutions and take the time to put things away properly especially before driving. It can be a criminal offence if items are not stowed away safely.
10. Don’t forget your mental health
Vanlife can be amazing, but it can also be tough. Make sure you’re taking care of your mental health by staying connected with friends and family, getting outside for fresh air and exercise, and taking breaks when you need them. We have personally found the instagram vanlife community to be amazing. You’ll find lots of other people living the vanlife and most people are really open to talk to. Another top tip would be follow full time vanlifers on YouTube. It’s a great way to see how others are living the vanlife.
11. Take it slow
Explore the little things you find and if you have kids, try slowing down to their pace. It is hard to break away from the usually rushing around of vacation style travelling but remember if you’re living on the road with kids, they could spend way more time appreciating the little things. It’s amazing what you see when you slow down.
12. Regular vehicle checks
Check your tires and vehicle fluid levels regularly and always carry a spare wheel. This is especially important if you’re driving in rough terrain or inclement weather. Remember your tyres are the only thing in contact with the road and you don’t want to risk things like blowouts or punctures especially when travelling on motorways.
13. Keep your van clean
Not only will this make your living space more pleasant, but it will also help you keep an eye on any potential problems such as leaking pipes or water ingress issues.
14. Pre plan fuel and gas stops
When you’re planning your route, be sure to factor in gas stations and rest stops. This will help you avoid running out of fuel or being stranded in the middle of nowhere.
15. Carry a first-aid kit
You never know when you might need it, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Check out our best campervan gifts guide which includes a first aid kit on the list!
16. Be prepared for anything
Vanlife can be unpredictable at times. You’ll likely experience potentially extreme weather conditions depending on the country and times your travelling, factor in potential breakdowns and just be as prepared for anything to happen as you can be.
17. Remember to have fun!
Probably one of the best vanlife tips of all time. Think about all of the reasons you are embarking on this journey in the first place and enjoy the discoverability of your new life on the road and remember, you are in control of your own destiny.
Do you have any vanlife tips to share? If so, please reach out to us on one of our social channels and we’ll include your tips with a link back to your social media account 😊
If you found this post useful on Vanlife, be sure to check out our other blogs. We’ve got everything from Vanlife hacks to where to find the best camping spots. Happy travels!