How to turn your van into a cozy camper vehicle

Traveling in your own house on wheels to explore the incredible spots and routes throughout Spain and the rest of Europe is an increasingly popular option.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 10:29
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How to turn your van into a cozy camper vehicle

Traveling in your own house on wheels to explore the incredible spots and routes throughout Spain and the rest of Europe is an increasingly popular option. Among other things, because of the many advantages that caravanning offers compared to more traditional tourism, such as freedom of schedule and movement. But is it as easy to camp a van as it seems?

First of all, if you don't have much experience, the ideal would be to rent a van or a motorhome to get started in this world and, at the same time, learn from typical rookie mistakes for future getaways. On the other hand, if you already have more experience and your needs and preferences are clear, you will prefer to buy your own van and customize it as a camper.

This option will compensate economically if you are going to travel many kilometers, but customizing a custom van (and therefore, homologating everything necessary for the transformation to be legal), is neither the cheapest nor the fastest process. In return, the time and money invested will be well worth it.

Camper vehicles are the most versatile option to enter the world of caravanning, as they offer almost infinite options to adapt these vehicles to your lifestyle and your way of traveling. Informing yourself about the options on the market, new or second-hand vehicles, and asking advice from more experienced users is a good starting point, but also being very clear about your budget.

This includes not only the purchase price of the van itself, but also all the expenses it entails, such as maintenance, inspections, insurance and specific parking for when you are not using it. Thus, the final price will depend a lot on the size and age of the van, the elements you want to include and the quality of its finishes.

To give you an idea, and leaving the price of the vehicle aside, camping a van with complete but basic equipment (including kitchen, portable toilet and shower) can cost between 10,000 and 20,000 euros. But the bill will grow with each skylight, solar panel or appliances you want to include. The same in terms of quality of insulation, materials, extras such as closets or a full bathroom, for example.

The decision between buying an empty van or one that has already been camped is a very personal one. Although buying a ready-made van can save you some time - and a lot of measurements -, it is also usually more expensive and it may not adapt exactly to what you have in mind. On the other hand, camperizing yourself, with the help of professionals who are experts in the field, or a mixture of both, gives you the freedom to design the space to the millimeter and according to your tastes: an empty van will be like a blank sheet of paper.

In the market you will find solutions that can help you. From basic conversions from furniture and accessories (available in large stores and specialized sports stores) to complete customizations with all the comforts.

There are also intermediate options, such as the original kit or modular campervans, which until now were more basic and common for small or medium-sized vans (type Berlingo or Jumpy, respectively). Now they are manufactured even for large volume vans. An example of this is those offered by the Spanish VanCubic, which consist of removable modules that will save you a good deal on approvals, with prices starting at 16,000 euros.

In addition to the above, it is important to highlight the growing community of camper travelers who share their experiences, advice and recommendations online. Platforms such as specialist forums, social media groups and blogs offer a valuable source of information and support for those venturing into the world of caravanning. If you are determined to camperize your van, participating in this community will allow you to learn from the experience of other campers, discover new destinations, learn camperization tricks and find inspiration for your own adventures on wheels.