When it comes to things we all want to do more of, travel tends to be at the top of the list. And if you’re looking for a unique way to do it, a camper van is a brilliant choice. Not only does it give you the freedom and flexibility to go where you want, when you want, but it’s also a great DIY project that you can sink your teeth into. You want a space that feels comfortable, secure and that you can call home when you’re on the road, but it might be hard to know where to start. Here we have put together some top tips for creating a converted camper van that is sure to get you inspired to start…
What are some benefits of converting a camper van?
There are many benefits to converting a camper van into your own travel accommodation. This includes:
- You have the freedom to travel anywhere you like
- You don’t need to fork out on expensive accommodation and meals out when you are away
- It creates a great DIY project for you to sink your teeth into
- You can make it look exactly how you want and tailor it with specific features
- It can feel like a home away from home
- You don’t have the same luggage restrictions as if you were taking public transport such as a flight or train
Look for inspiration from others
The first thing you want to do when you are deciding to convert a campervan is to look at inspiration from others. There are a host of travel blogs online that can give you some ideas, as well as sites such as Pinterest or Instagram where you can search for converted camper van images. Make a moodboard of all the things you like and put the best bits together into your van.
Decide on the type of van you want to convert
There are many van types on the market and you need to think about which one is best for you. When it comes to deciding this, consider how many of you will be traveling in it and how much space you’ll need. Will you be traveling solo, as a couple or as a family? Do you want to add more kitchen or bathroom space, or perhaps a spot to work? Decide on all the elements you will need and use this to help you decide the best one and the best size for you. Different types of vans will also be different prices, so budget is something to consider also.
Try and do as much of the DIY yourself as you can
DIY is exhausting but rewarding and when it comes to your van, but doing as much DIY as you can you will save money and also have it looking exactly how you want it. From cutting down the bamboo wood plank decor to painting the walls and installing the kitchen, there are so many things you can do. Think about where your skills lie and it can be a good idea to look on websites such as YouTube to find tips on how to do certain bits of DIY.
Think about the aesthetics
Your van conversion is somewhere that you are going to be spending a lot of time in and as such you want it to look right. Think about the aesthetics and if you want it to look rustic, modern or scandi for example. You could also go for a mix of different looks, but it’s generally recommended to find one certain theme. Once you have the look sorted, it can make both the DIY process and picking out the items to furnish and decorate your space a lot easier. From eclectic pieces of furniture to the artwork you put on the wall (securely of course!) There are a lot of choices here.
Add in as much clever storage as you can
Let’s face it, a van doesn’t have that much space so you want to add in as much clever storage as you can. Find ways that you can add drawers or sneakily create more space. You could have a bed that during the day converts into a table. Make shelves of different heights and add storage under dining chairs for example. There are many clever hacks you can use in order to utilize as much of the space you have as possible.
Have a budget in mind and try to stick to it
Doing up a campervan can be expensive and it’s easy for the project to run away with you. To stop it racking up costs that are too high, have a budget in mind at the start of the conversion and try to stick to it. It’s a good idea to write down a rough list of everything you need for it to go ahead and how much you estimate each thing to cost. You should also add in a budget for unexpected costs as no matter how hard you plan, there always tends to be a caveat or two that crops up! This will help you to be prepared and not left in the lurch should you need to spend a bit more along the way. When budgeting, always try to over budget as opposed to under budget so you’ll have money left over rather than the other, worst-case scenario where you run out halfway through.
Don’t underestimate how long it might take to complete
As with any DIY project, the amount of time it takes to complete can be totally different to what you might expect. You might think it will take a few weeks but it ends up being a lot shorter or longer than this. It’s better to allow more time so you don’t have to get refunds on any bookings you’ve made, or have to keep changing your holiday days from work. If you overestimate you know it will be ready rather than having a big trip planned and not being able to go on it.
Take it on a test run before going on a big trip
Once you have converted your camper van, it can be tempting to take it out on your big vacation. While this is an idea, it’s better to take it on a small trip or even sleep in it outside your home for a night or two. This will give you an idea of what you will need when you are on the road and help you to find out if you have forgotten anything before it’s too late. After all, it’s much better to test out and find any design flaws when you can easily fix them, rather than when you are on your holidays stuck in a remote destination for example.
These are just a few top tips when it comes to creating a converted camper van. A project that is fun to sink your teeth into but that also comes with a great reward, there’s nothing better. Make sure to do your research and plan how you will convert your campervan properly so there are no snags that you hit on the road. It’s also a good idea to take photos throughout the process so you can track what it looked like before and after – and can be proud of your efforts! Have you ever converted a camper van? What are some pieces of advice you could give to anyone wanting to do the same? Let us know in the comments below.