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Unleash Your Inner Adventurer By Renovating a Caravan for Travel

In the last decade, many adventurers have taken to renovating a caravan for travel. In 2011, for example, Foster Huntington quit his job to travel the US in his new home: a 1987 Volkswagen Syncro. 

Most of his days were spent surfing, taking photos of his van parked in extraordinary locations and posting the pictures on Instagram. Even though the app wasn’t nearly as popular back then as it is now, he managed to accumulate more than a million followers, often using the hashtag #vanlife. 

Since then, Huntington’s journey has inspired many working individuals to resign or work remotely while living in a van of their own. 

Is it Realistic to Live in a Van? 

Living in a van takes planning, and not all people can do it, but if you have your heart set on hard work and adventure, #vanlife is an attainable goal. 

With the Covid pandemic, a lot of people have started working remotely. For the adventurous among them, renovating a caravan and living in it may offer true fulfilment since you can save money while travelling by living in a van. By refurbishing a caravan to live in, you’ll get to experience Western Australia’s most scenic drives on a whole other level! 

It can also be satisfying to restore a caravan because seeing hard work result in success is hugely gratifying. 

How to Renovate a Caravan 

Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, the ideal van to live in won’t show up at your doorstep of its own volition. Refurbishing a caravan can be a lengthy process—a bit like a treasure hunt if you will! The map may seem complicated at first, but the eventual prize will be worth every drop of sweat.

So, let us guide you through the process of refurbishing a caravan.

1. Find the Right Caravan 

Firstly, you need to find a project caravan worth saving (and at the right price, no less!). 

Here are a few tips to help you when looking for the right van: 

  • Consider anything from the mid-1960s and upwards. The golden oldies of caravans consist of a steel chassis with a timber frame built on top and trusty ribbed aluminium cladding on the outside, making them relatively easy to revamp. 
  • Take your sweet time and avoid making hasty decisions. Make sure to weigh up all the available options. 
  • Choose a specimen with the least amount of possible rust, avoiding the problems of rust holes and water leaks. 
  • Check if it’s mechanically sound. Go to a mechanic and have a professional look it over. 
  • Check the tires. If the van you’re looking at has terrible tires, be sure to factor that into the total cost. 

2. Repair Any Damage Before the Renovation 

Use the appropriate tools to repair the van if it’s damaged. This way, you lay the foundation for a successful renovation process. Rust, for example, is cancerous and can cause many problems later, should you choose not to deal with it immediately after buying the van. 

3. Planning Is Essential 

Before you start refurbishing your van, you must plan your every move. 

Consider the following tips: 

  • Begin with the bed. It needs to be as comfortable as possible— plan according to what would suit you best. Take your height into consideration, as this will determine whether you place the bed along the length or width of the van. 
  • Open floor plans leave space for things like bicycles or surfboards, depending on your personal preference. 
  • Storage space is vital. A raised bed goes a long way! 
  • With small camping cookware and stoves, you can cook outside. Otherwise, you might prefer adding a small kitchenette inside your van. 
  • A functioning cooler or refrigerator is also crucial. It’ll keep your food safe and your drinks cold in the summer. 
  • A battery pack with multiple plug options is essential. Also, always ensure you know exactly how to jump the battery when the need arises! You don’t want to be left stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere. 
  • Learn how to do emergency maintenance for your van’s specific model and always have the appropriate tools at hand. Hello old friend, the multi-tool!
  • Be sure you have an updated map of anywhere you plan to travel on hand for when the GPS signal fails you. 
  • Consider cleanliness. If you plan to live full-time in your van, make sure you have a shower plan, like a solar shower, for instance. 

4. Budgeting Is Key 

Renovating a caravan can be a costly, albeit rewarding, investment. You will need to budget and save money accordingly. 

How Much Does it Cost to Convert a Van into a Campervan? 

There are two main factors at play when converting a caravan into your new home. Firstly, the van itself, and secondly, the cost of restoring the interior into a camper van. 

Interior costs involve building materials, additional labour, appliances, added features like batteries or solar systems, and décor. 

Furthermore, you will have to consider the cost of fuel, electricity and, if applicable, water. 

How Much Does it Cost to Convert a Van to a High Top? 

For extra headroom, you may consider converting your van to a high-top. However, this can be a lot of extra work. The fibreglass construction of most high tops makes it challenging to install a ceiling or solar panels. 

Conversion costs range anywhere between $30 000 and $200 000, depending on the particulars of your modification. 

5. Make It Cosy! 

If you plan on living in your van, you will have to decorate it according to your taste. The only way to live comfortably is to make yourself feel at home in your van. 

Curtains, bedding, lighting and a layer of paint can work wonders! 

Need Help? 

When it comes to renovating a caravan, you will need professional help. From windscreen replacement Perth to car window tinting Perth, Dean’s Autoglass has you covered! Contact us today for a quote.