Buying a ready-converted campervan, however - apart from setting you back some serious money - doesn’t allow you to create a bespoke van like no other on the road, so you might prefer to convert your van into a camper yourself!
Creating a layout that works for your lifestyle is essential, so plan out how you want to use your van before excitedly ripping out the seats!
If you’re tall and hope to stand fully upright in your van, a ‘pop-top’ roof that pushes up to give extra headroom can be a godsend. Will you be travelling on family adventures? Some pop-tops come with folding bunks that fit into the roof space, while you can also buy hammock beds to suspend over the cab seats at night for smaller children.
Do your research on which campervan is right for you. Old-school VW splitties and bay windows remain highly coveted, but they can be expensive to run and are not always as reliable as their water-cooled counterparts.
Mercedes Vitos and Ford Transits have generous space, while smaller vans such as the VW Caddy and Citroën Berlingo are well worth investigating if you’re travelling solo.
Small details like cutlery drawers and clothes storage might sound really boring when all you want to do is hang out around the campfire, but, trust us, you’ll be glad of detailed planning in the long run! Visit a couple of van shows and check out how other vanners have configured their space. Owners are a friendly bunch and most are than happy to talk for hours about how they converted theirs.
If you’re handy at DIY, you can save a substantial amount by converting your camper yourself, although it might take longer if you’re fitting it around work and family life. You’ll have more motivation in the summer months, as well as longer daylight hours to see what you’re doing.
You might want to rope in help from some tool-savvy friends - with payment by way of campervan road trips, of course. There are loads of step-by-step videos online, as well as advice on the best materials to use for each task.
Van conversion companies are a better bet if you don’t know one end of a jigsaw from the other, but do get a number of quotes, as prices vary considerably. Ask for recommendations and bear in mind that reputable companies will have long waiting lists - often of many months. If you buy your van in March and expect a full conversion by Easter, you might not end up with the results you hope for.
When you convert a van into a camper, it’s essential to tell your insurer as it could affect the vehicle classification and, therefore, the cover you need. You must also mention any modifications and, if you’ve carried out all of the above, there’ll be a few.
Admiral Campervan Insurance covers your van for a number of uses, and you’ll be pleased to know our policies include benefits such as:
- Windscreen repair
- Sat-nav cover
- 24-hour emergency helpline
- Stereo cover for that all-important road trip playlist
- European cover
All that’s left to do now is decide where to go! Whether you’re keen to park up overnight and try a little wild camping in your van or prefer the relative ‘luxury’ of campsites, there are lots of great websites to help plan your trip.
Consider joining a club such as the Caravan and Camping Club, which welcomes all types of camping units and gives generous discounts when you buy from a range of retailers, visit worldwide attractions and travel abroad by ferry.