My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

How to Make Life Better as a Van Lifer in a Campervan

When you either love to take trips in your van for the weekend or you’re a fully-fledged van life enthusiast in the UK, it’s not all open road and van life festivals. There are various things to deal with as a campervan owner with either a pre-built campervan or a converted one that you renovated yourself. Here are 5 ways to make van life better in your campervan.

Get the Right Insurance

The topic of campervan insurance is a hot one on Facebook Groups and other message boards. Insurance for campervans is a tricky one in the UK. Not all vans are converted officially and approved by the DVLA as campers, for instance. The requirements change periodically, like needing to have two windows and a table to qualify as a campervan (up from one window previously).

Insurance details are important too. You must get the right type of insurance, otherwise it may not be valid with a campervan. Getting insurance during the conversion phase and insurance coverage for post-conversion are issues to be aware of.

Get a competitive quote that covers what’s needed. To do so, check through these insurance quotes from Quotezone.co.uk. The company has strong relationships with many insurers and can find the right policy to match your van life requirements.

Decide on Your Overnight Policy

Some campervan owners aim to do urban camping by parking in residential streets. This is raising the ire of homeowners who are seeing this happen more and more. When campervans are taking up precious and limited parking spots, it can prevent friends or relatives from visiting their homes and finding a convenient parking space.

Decide how you will overnight in your campervan. This especially applies if you’re living in the van full-time. Consider whether you need to urban camp to be near work, or whether you can stay on official campsites or in laybys. Also, an increasing number of pubs are making their car parks available overnight for a modest £5-15 fee – the lower fee usually includes an expectation that you’ll order a pub meal or have a drink in their facilities.

By carefully planning where you’re staying overnight, it’s possible to avoid upsetting neighbours or landowners alike. With a new potential anti-van life law coming out, that’s all for the better.

Don’t Expect to Live without Bathroom Facilities

Many campervan owners don’t include bathroom facilities in their van. This is bad planning and creates potential issues with local people. Keep to the rule that if you’re not going to stay at pubs or campgrounds, then you must include toilet facilities in your campervan. Doing less is unacceptable and will only lead to problems later. Enough said.

Working from the Road? Plan Better…

Working from the road is an article in itself, but we’ll aim to cover a few of the basics that newbies overlook and run into difficulties later.

Have a Place to Work

Some campervans are sufficiently small that there’s no dedicated dinette or table to work from. That can still be okay if you plan for that. For instance, installing a table affixed to a rotating arm allows a table to be moved into and out of position in line with the available seating. This can work in smaller vans where a dedicated table or desk isn’t practical.

Create a Quiet Working Environment

Know how quiet you need it to be to complete your work. If you require a quieter environment, it’ll be necessary to plan your parking spots more carefully. If you’re in the build-out phase, don’t skimp on the insulation as it will provide more soundproofing too. Also, take advantage of noise-cancelling headphones to block out ambient sound.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Situations Where You Cannot Work

By planning, you can get around potential issues before they happen. For instance, checking on the Wi-Fi connection before parking up and adding levelling blocks is worthwhile. Using a speed test app is perfect to test a potential spot first.

Reduce Dependence on Deadline-specific or Fixed Hours in Remote Roles

When and where you can work is less predictable when you’re mobile. If the first two potential spots to park up won’t work but looked good on the map, then you’ll eat into extra time finding a viable one.  Due to the lack of predictability, it’s beneficial to move away from deadline work or remote roles with fixed hours. The more restrictive the work expectations, the harder it will be the adhere to them.

Internet Facilities 101

We cover the internet as a separate topic even though it does overlap with work. People are so connected nowadays that it’s just as much of a life problem, as it is a work problem!

Use multiple 4G providers to access a good signal wherever you are. Don’t expect 5G to be available everywhere and anticipate a drop-down to 3G at times too.

Use an aerial on the roof to pick up signals from a greater distance. Also, have an action plan for when you have no signal in a mobile blackout zone because, even with the best-laid plans, it’ll happen to you at the worse possible time.

Van life can work out well when it’s planned properly. It’s when failing to invest in the resources necessary, not structuring your life to adapt to it, and not taking adequate steps that van life adds more complications than it removes. So, if you’re going to be a van lifer, put the effort in to set yourself up properly.