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Features Motorhomes and campervans

What is Van Life?

If you’re a campervan, motorhome, or even caravan owner, chances are you’ve seen a rise in the use of the ‘Van Life’ term.

You only have to scroll through your social media feeds to notice the #VanLife trend.

The hashtag has around 11.3 million posts on Instagram and over on Camptoo, an Airbnb for campervans, bookings are up 150 per cent this year on last.

Indeed, it’s a phrase by which this very news publication takes its name, but what is Van Life and where did it come from?

Van Life itself is of course, nothing new. Campervaners and motorhomers have long been enjoying the freedoms that come with a home on wheels.

It’s a new generation of bloggers and vloggers that have established a ‘Van Life following’, to which they’re broadcasting the wonders of living in a van, both on a part-time and full-time basis.

It’s thanks to this that ‘Van Life’ is being discovered by an increasing number of adventure-seeking individuals, couples, families and friends.

Ex-work vans are being completely transformed into dream dwellings on wheels, retro camper vans lovingly restored and recommissioned and sales of luxury motorhomes and caravans are booming.

It’s a beautifully varied community of all ages and backgrounds.

There’s no single right way of living your Van Life.

There’s no single right way of living your Van Life. Van Life is what you make of it.

For some it’s buying a used van, stripping it back and creating something wonderfully bespoke to meet their own needs and wants.

For others, it’s heading to a showroom and buying a professionally converted campervan, of which the choice of options has never been greater.

And for those that have plenty of cash to splash, it’s about buying the ultimate home-from-home in the form of a luxurious motorhome.

For all of the above though, it’s about a pure passion for adventure and exploration.

That’s not to say that it’s hard work.

Is Van Life right for me?

The lesser-publicised aspects of living in a van that can often cause great stress and anxiety includes knowing where to park and stay overnight, the exposure to extreme weather and having to make money while on-the-road – and that’s not to mention the toilet situation.

Once you’ve considered the reality and, assuming that you’re still game, you’ll soon find yourself wanting to hit the listings in the hope of finding that dream van.

Hold that thought though. It’s widely recommended that newbies should consider hiring a campervan, at least once, before taking the plunge.

It will not only help you decide if Van Life really is for you, but it’ll give you a much better understanding of what you’ll need and want from your own van.

Scrolling through Insta, there’s no-doubt that Van Life looks idyllic – who wouldn’t want to wake up, overlooking a different picturesque landscape everyday?

It’s one of the many blessings, campervan and motorhome owners have long enjoyed – only the secret is now out.

Thanks to social media and Covid pandemic restrictions encouraging a staycation boom, many are giving Van Life a go for the first time.

And while the sudden growth in popularity has caused some overcrowding and waste problems it’s adding strength to calls for better UK camper and motorhome facilities – and that’s got to be a good thing.

The Campaign for Real Aires (CAMpRA) is great success in its work to promote safe, overnight parking spaces for campervans and motorhomes.

The organisation has been involved in the setting up of around 115 aires (overnight stopping areas for owners of self-contained campervans) across the UK in the last year, with a further 50 more expected to be opened in the year ahead.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Van Life Matters newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest UK Van Life news, tips and advice.

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