Laddish drivers, grubby occupations, boring, functional designs. Vans don’t exactly stir the best connotations. But this isn’t fair at all.

If life’s what you make it, then surely the same goes for your automobile. And with a van, as opposed to a car, the opportunities multiply.

For starters. Not only do you have a means of transport, but you have a guaranteed roof over your head. Whether your work takes you around the country, or you just enjoy travelling and not being constrained by travel plans.

vanSource

Well why not go the whole hog and buy a caravan, you might say? Sure. But they are expensive – not to mention cumbersome. Also, finding a place to park them can be the subject of a muddle of arbitrary laws. This is where custom-made vans excel. They are easy to maintain, inexpensive, and are unsuspecting. You can park them whenever you are done travelling and they don’t cause a disturbance.

Here’s a few tips for those who dare to fight prejudice and learn to love the van.

Finding the right model

Scrap your car, and put some of your savings into finding the right van for you. Ideally, you want something affordable, as you’ll need to spend a fair amount of money converting it into an abode. But don’t skimp on cash when it comes to the vehicle’s reliability. Remember, this is supposed to get you from A to B, and be a reliable place to rest.

Make it Livable

This is actually the fun part. However, you’ll need to be realistic about what you can do, and you might need an extra pair of skilled hands to help you with. Pinterest is a good place to start for inspiration. As you’ll see, a little storage, and somewhere to lay your head, is all you need. But depending on your budget, you can go as crazy as you want, adding sinks, electrics and cooking equipment too!

1970_VW_CamperImage: Wiki

Know Your Van’s Limits

No matter how well you pimp your van-ride, it’s not a long term replacement for a hotel, or caravan. Firstly, you don’t have the room to install showers and other amenities. A large number of service stations actually have decent shower facilities, so you can still enjoy relative freedom.

In fact, it might be impossible to do away with hotels and the like altogether, but the important thing is that you’ll only need them some of the time.

Be Aware and Beware of the Law

One of the perks of a converted van vs. a camper van, is that there are far less legal grounds for the police to come knocking. They sometimes tell people to go park elsewhere, claiming that it’s “antisocial” to sleep in a van near private residences. But that’s the only thing you have to worry about. Caravan owners must get planning permission to stay anywhere for over 28 days. But no one expects the van owner!

One more thing to remember. If you are taking the van on a long trip and decide to pop into a local establishment before settling in the back for the night, don’t forget that police may assume you intend to drive it. It’s only logical after all. So don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Apart from that, enjoy your travels!