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Driving across the country in a camper van whilst also being a digital nomad? Here's the place to learn how to and discuss the lifestyle! Moderated by Armando Costantino & Melony Candea, co-founders of Westfalia Digital Nomads, a lifestyle blog dedicated to #vanlife while being a digital nomad. They've been on the road 4+ years!
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By Elizabeth
#5003
Hey, I'm 18 and my last exams are coming up in may/june. After that I'll be done with school and want to potentially set up my life in a van. I love travelling and love the idea of free living where ever i go and the ability to pack up and go whenever. I'm planning on either getting my own unconverted van and doing it myself with my boyfriend or a semi converted one and making it my own. We're also planning on potentially getting a dog.

I just wanna know what to potentially look out for/ cons of living in a van. For example, I don't know if I'll be able to afford the insurance and how this compares to living in an apartment etc. If it's a similar price range I'd take the van though. Similarly, I'd like to know what vans are best. I've found an excellent site that provides me with all the materials I need so I just need advice on what electricals are best (I'd like to get solar panels but again I don't know how affordable this is) or how to fit them. Ideally I'd have wifi so I can set up a home run business out of the van. For a general price range I'd be selling my car for roughly £5000 - so thats the most I can spend on a van.

Any other things I should look out for or any tips would be much appreciated :)

p.s.
Will the insurance for travelling through Europe be a hell of a lot more expensive?? This is also one of my concerns
User avatar
By Chad
#5018
I'm from the states so I won't have insight into many of those questions. Hopefully someone here has more experience with this.

My parents moved into an RV last year and are having the time of their lives. They went with Renogy Wanderer solar setup.
I think they have a 400W kit and it is working well to power their electronics. I'd highly recommend Renogy if you need solar panels. The set was around $500 when they bought it off Amazon.

With your budget, I wonder if it's cheaper to buy a second-hand camper - rather than do your own conversion?
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By Mel Candea
#5020
Hi Elizabeth. :) I'll assume since you wrote in pounds, you're in the UK? We've been traveling in our van with our dog across Europe, but our insurance is based in Bulgaria since Armando has residency there. However, we know a few people who can answer your specifics. :)

About insurance, Mike at Vandog Traveller (the forum): https://vandogtraveller.com/forum/livin ... insurance/

About electrical and solar for conversion, Zach at The Vanual: http://thevanual.com/electrical-and-solar

And there's a guest post with tips for newbies on our site: http://westfaliadigitalnomads.com/the-t ... bies-make/

A guest post I wrote about living in a van as a woman: http://www.nomadtopia.com/what-i-wish-i ... t-vanlife/

And lastly, for WiFi we have 2 portable routers (we both work online from the road). One is a Huawei (https://consumer.huawei.com/en/support/ ... s-routers/) and an Alcatel 4G LTE. For UK options, this link might help: https://www.campervanlife.com/travel-gu ... -internet/

Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy Monday. Mel :)
User avatar
By gnomadhome
#5154
Hi Elizabeth,

That's quite an exciting transition there! My wife and I took the plunge into vanlife almost two years ago - starting by selling all of our belongings, then buying a van and converting it ourselves, and finally hitting the road about a year ago.

To help new vanlifers like yourself build your own DIY campervans, we've put together a very detailed free guide that goes over all aspects of a campervan conversion:

https://gnomadhome.com/build-your-van/

I also second the recommendation to check out Van Dog Traveller. We used his site and ebook extesively in our build. Build a Green RV and Cheaprvliving are also great resources, though a bit more US-based.

Best of luck on your journey and feel free to hit us up with any questions!

~John

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