I spend a good portion of my life living in The Dub; this year alone I’ve spent over 80 nights sleeping in the van across 8 different countries. It is the nature of my work, and often also the way we choose to spend our holidays. Spending that amount of time living in your van makes you quickly learn how to keep things running smoothly and I thought I would share some of my top tips for harmonious #vanlife…
1. Everything in its place… In such a small space it is so important to stay organised. First step, everything needs to have a place where it is stowed. Second step, put it back in that place when it has been used. Simple really; no excuses. If it is not being used, there is a good chance it is in the way…
2. Sweep away… It is not pleasant when the van gets grubby. I find the deck gets gritty quickly as I’m climbing in and out in all conditions and what’s on the floor quickly gets transferred to the seats and bed. I keep a little dustpan brush by the handbrake and try and sweep out every day to keep on top of it.
3. Ready or not? I could walk out to the van right now without grabbing anything from the house and know I’ve got what I need for a night away. Over the years I’ve fully stocked the van with all I need and, if you can, keeping the van like this means you can go when and where you want without worrying about forgetting anything.
4. Beware rising damp… A couple of days of rain can make the van a damp place. Air the van whenever there is a break in the rain. Don’t leave too much wet kit lying around as that just adds to the condensation problem. Of course, if it gets really bad, go for a drive with the heater on full!
5. Are you hungry? I find shopping little and often the key to keeping the van stocked. A few fresh items in the fridge, a handful of tins and always a bottle of red wine stowed somewhere! As a minimum, I have a couple of tins for a warm meal in the back of the cupboard at all times (my preference is chilli) and take care to replace them if they are used.
6. Pack lightly Just because you have a van, doesn’t mean you have to fill it! The less stuff you take with you the less you have to move around to do things and the easier #vanlife is. I try and limit all my day to day clothes, and toiletries etc to a single holdall, even if I’m going to be away for a month of biking and watersports.
7. Plan to relax #vanlife is a simple way to live and if you embrace that idea you relax and experience it at its best. Take some games, something to read (books are great, ebooks take up less space!) and take every opportunity to soak up the sights and sounds of the place you are visiting.