Van Life Europe

Ok SighSee Im finally doing it. In a few days Im taking a flight to Europe with my gf to buy a van and do our best trying a "van life" for 4 to 6 months.

Im doing my research but Im a little nervous, I know nothing about cars beside being able to drive manual.

What would you suggest me as essentials in buying/maintaining and in general, camping in a van over Europe? Thanks

Also, general Van Life 101 thread I guess

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  1. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    Lol

    Have you two lived in a van together before? Extreme close quarters is something that makes or breaks couples very quickly.

    Forget about a furnished camper van for anything under 50k euro, btw. You really need to do your research and have something line up or purchased before you arrive.

    It even sounds like you have never done this shit at all. It's complicated and takes a lot of trial and error, just winging it in a foreign country makes the process much more difficult, especially when you try to sell the van when you are done and find out youre going to lose 10k euros.

    I really can't stress this enough: reevaluate your plans and maybe try a backpacking trip together first. If you have to 'vanlife' you can rent a camper van for a couple weeks that has everything you need. It will be as expensive as a hotel+car+extra, but it will be training wheels for actually doing it.

    • 11 months ago
      Anonymous

      We have already travelled backpacked together. We have also slept in our car for short weekly getaways. We are buying/selling the van in country where I speak the language

      Im open to rent for 1-2 weeks before committing to buy anything. Good idea

      • 11 months ago
        Anonymous

        never did it before but getting a legal parking spot might be a challenge in some areas, especially around the cities. camping lot places are scarce in summer, usually they are being booked months before hand by boomers who are the main "van camping" group in europe. and aside from that i only know no railway park and ride that offers cheap parking for a few days. commercial parking lots are often intended for just a few hours.

        where will you park the van?

        • 11 months ago
          Anonymous

          >where will you park the van?
          He doesn't know. Let him find out.

        • 11 months ago
          Anonymous

          Yes, I got greenzones which its an app showing closed areas depending of your car. Probably paying for wikicamps as well.

          I might get free zones from here to there, but as

          https://i.imgur.com/pscIu1V.jpg

          I summer travel through Europe in a Prius. I would try that first on a shorter trip in the US because it basically takes a mattress and some sleeping bags to make the car camping ready and if it works for you it's the superior way to travel.
          >If you plan on travelling a lot, gas is insanely expensive in the EU - approx double the US prices in most countries. For example, 100 kilometer/62 miles in a Prius through France will set you back approx $6. Unless you're buying brand new, your standard camper van will be approx $18 per 100 km, if not more.
          >Money you save on gas can be spent on a room one or two days a week so you don't live like a complete savage all the time. You're gonna hate van life after a few days and a reset with a hot shower, a clean bed and a wash of your clothes is invaluable. Five days in a Prius with the weekend spent in a clean room is far better than seven days a week in a van. Plus, driving from room to room gives you some type of purpose and a sense of adventure.
          >Heater runs on the battery (engine charges it a few minutes every hour) so you can heat the car at night in a pinch.
          >If you cover up the windows you can stealth camp at normal parking spots. Which is nice because camping spots are also insanely expensive.
          >Most reliable car ever made.
          >Consider a big SUV tent so you have more "indoor" space when need be, for example spending a day at a lake or innawoods or cooking some food.
          >Get some portable solar panels and a portable power station/solar generator plus a heater.
          >Trangia alcohol stove for cooking.

          says you cant go full hobo or you will go mad in a 3 days begging for a good shower. I plan to mix between free/paid campsites, couchsurfing and pay proper hostels (booking/airbnb) from time to time. For the big cities we will park the van on the Park and Rides. Is it usual to leave cars for a few days on those places?

          >But you're not going to lose too much time and money on doing the impossible, which is to buy a camper van within a few days in JUNE for not a somewhat okay price, and sell it without a bad loss.
          Campers are more expensive in the summer, you can still buy them. Plenty of people wait til the summer to sell their campers. You sell it in the next summer. You seem to make everything seem hard. Stop being whiny

          Exactly, thanks. Im already texting some people. It gets easier if you are willing to go to a small town to pick it up/pay for an inspection

          https://i.imgur.com/pscIu1V.jpg

          I summer travel through Europe in a Prius. I would try that first on a shorter trip in the US because it basically takes a mattress and some sleeping bags to make the car camping ready and if it works for you it's the superior way to travel.
          >If you plan on travelling a lot, gas is insanely expensive in the EU - approx double the US prices in most countries. For example, 100 kilometer/62 miles in a Prius through France will set you back approx $6. Unless you're buying brand new, your standard camper van will be approx $18 per 100 km, if not more.
          >Money you save on gas can be spent on a room one or two days a week so you don't live like a complete savage all the time. You're gonna hate van life after a few days and a reset with a hot shower, a clean bed and a wash of your clothes is invaluable. Five days in a Prius with the weekend spent in a clean room is far better than seven days a week in a van. Plus, driving from room to room gives you some type of purpose and a sense of adventure.
          >Heater runs on the battery (engine charges it a few minutes every hour) so you can heat the car at night in a pinch.
          >If you cover up the windows you can stealth camp at normal parking spots. Which is nice because camping spots are also insanely expensive.
          >Most reliable car ever made.
          >Consider a big SUV tent so you have more "indoor" space when need be, for example spending a day at a lake or innawoods or cooking some food.
          >Get some portable solar panels and a portable power station/solar generator plus a heater.
          >Trangia alcohol stove for cooking.

          Grat post, thanks. I already lived/travelled in a hatchback very similar to the Prius and I agree. If I dont get a good deal with a van im open to get a station wagon/hatchback and a tent. The reason im "upgrading" from a car to a van its because I need a good sleeping surface and its 2 of us now

          https://youtu.be/kcgA5aPkGTE

          I pretty much this did already and again, after a week you are already yearning for a room, thats what I want to avoid with a proper camper

          • 11 months ago
            Anonymous

            Green zones is for emission areas not parking

    • 10 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Forget about a furnished camper van for anything under 50k euro, btw.
      Lmao how can some people be so delusional but talk with such confidence lol.

      You can get good campers under 10000 euros easily

      • 10 months ago
        Anonymous

        Where?

        • 10 months ago
          Anonymous

          All over Spain and Portugal
          >t.Spanyard

  2. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    It's June, dude. June. good luck finding a camper van now. People book theirs months in advance.

    I would recommend eg. renting a bigger Volvo/Kia/random SUV instead, and maybe a random tent from Decathlon. That way you can go from camping ground to camping ground, so you still have the camping experience. But you're not going to lose too much time and money on doing the impossible, which is to buy a camper van within a few days in JUNE for not a somewhat okay price, and sell it without a bad loss.

    • 11 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Good luck finding a camper van now. People book theirs months in advance.
      Youre not the first one who mentions this, but I see plenty of camper vans on marketplace. Not very concerned about finding one

      • 11 months ago
        Anonymous

        >come to place for advice
        >get warned
        >"nah I know better tks tho"

        You deserve what is about to happen to you, and I will leave it at that.

    • 11 months ago
      Anonymous

      >But you're not going to lose too much time and money on doing the impossible, which is to buy a camper van within a few days in JUNE for not a somewhat okay price, and sell it without a bad loss.
      Campers are more expensive in the summer, you can still buy them. Plenty of people wait til the summer to sell their campers. You sell it in the next summer. You seem to make everything seem hard. Stop being whiny

  3. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    I summer travel through Europe in a Prius. I would try that first on a shorter trip in the US because it basically takes a mattress and some sleeping bags to make the car camping ready and if it works for you it's the superior way to travel.
    >If you plan on travelling a lot, gas is insanely expensive in the EU - approx double the US prices in most countries. For example, 100 kilometer/62 miles in a Prius through France will set you back approx $6. Unless you're buying brand new, your standard camper van will be approx $18 per 100 km, if not more.
    >Money you save on gas can be spent on a room one or two days a week so you don't live like a complete savage all the time. You're gonna hate van life after a few days and a reset with a hot shower, a clean bed and a wash of your clothes is invaluable. Five days in a Prius with the weekend spent in a clean room is far better than seven days a week in a van. Plus, driving from room to room gives you some type of purpose and a sense of adventure.
    >Heater runs on the battery (engine charges it a few minutes every hour) so you can heat the car at night in a pinch.
    >If you cover up the windows you can stealth camp at normal parking spots. Which is nice because camping spots are also insanely expensive.
    >Most reliable car ever made.
    >Consider a big SUV tent so you have more "indoor" space when need be, for example spending a day at a lake or innawoods or cooking some food.
    >Get some portable solar panels and a portable power station/solar generator plus a heater.
    >Trangia alcohol stove for cooking.

    • 11 months ago
      Anonymous
  4. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    Speaking as a car enthusiast.
    Learn to get comfortable with the following:
    Jacking up your van and putting it safely on Jack-stands
    Changing a tire
    Changing your oil
    Checking your oil biweekly
    Checking fluids semiannually
    Jump starting your van with jumper cables. Jumping car with battery jumper box
    Changing battery
    Using garmin or other gps tracker than your phone
    Heat insulation and humidity dissipation methods
    Running electric or diesel heater safely
    Having water washing basin system
    Managing your Septic system. If your van doesn’t have get one off those emergency waste buckets to shit in

  5. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    I've done two weeks in a motorhome around Scotland and that was enough. this was when the uk was going full moron with covid; my in-laws were too frightened to leave the house let alone use their camper van so we got to go on their pre planned north coast 500 trip just for the cost of fuel + food (every paid attraction was closed kek). NC500 is an excellent trip btw

    like other anons said in europe it is normally only boomers going on these trips and they book everything up months to years in advance. Vans are also classed differently to cars for road rules; you can't rely on being able to pull over in a non authorised camper van site without someone phoning the police on you (really). there's an entire subculture of stealth campers where people make their van look like some tradesman's battered heap of shit to avoid people moving them on

    the other group of people living out of vans are people who do things like watersports taking long weekends down the beach. They put up with it for a few days not months.

    It is also peak season for van purchase right now. Pickings are thin and expensive.

    You'll have a much nicer time just driving a prius around between airbnbs with occasional overnights in a tent.

    • 10 months ago
      Anonymous

      Yeah, I feel im still missing the right app/website to figure out the parking situation

      Honestly couldn't imagine anything worse. You get close to anything remotely interesting you'll be swamped with traffic and parking tickets. Take the train and flixbus, carry a two person tent, use hostels and occasional hotel. It will be much less unpleasant.

      Im in my later 30s and I cant see myself carrying all my stuff from one place to another. If I dont find a good van deal I would at least get a prius-like car like other anons have suggested

      Don't do what I did and get an empty van and hope to learn how to build it as you go along if you're not really diy. It's been pretty stressful, and 6 months later we're only at the electrics stage. If you're getting it pre converted you still need to know the basics how everything works in case something goes wrong.

      I really wish we'd bought a pre converted one so I wouldn't be still stuck in my wet shitty country instead of sunbathing on the roof of a van and drinking wine.

      But I'm just a pessimist.
      If anyone has encouragement I could really use it

      Oh yeah, I would get it converted. No time for that and no DIY skills at all.

      Why so gloomy, where are you at the moment and where do you want to go?

      • 10 months ago
        Anonymous

        What do you mean parking situation? Have you not heard of Park4night? App with all places to park , utilities etc, used all over Europe

        I'm just stuck on my rainy, overpriced island ( Ireland) and want to travel Europe

        • 10 months ago
          Anonymous

          >Have you not heard of Park4night?
          No I have not as I dont live in Europe! Thats the sort of advice I need, thanks

          Dont get to obsessed about the perfect converted van, get out there and have some fun! I know for some people the car work gets precedence over the actual traveln part. Dont let that happen to you

  6. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    Honestly couldn't imagine anything worse. You get close to anything remotely interesting you'll be swamped with traffic and parking tickets. Take the train and flixbus, carry a two person tent, use hostels and occasional hotel. It will be much less unpleasant.

  7. 11 months ago
    Anonymous

    Don't do what I did and get an empty van and hope to learn how to build it as you go along if you're not really diy. It's been pretty stressful, and 6 months later we're only at the electrics stage. If you're getting it pre converted you still need to know the basics how everything works in case something goes wrong.

    I really wish we'd bought a pre converted one so I wouldn't be still stuck in my wet shitty country instead of sunbathing on the roof of a van and drinking wine.

    But I'm just a pessimist.
    If anyone has encouragement I could really use it

    • 10 months ago
      Anonymous

      OP here, the price difference between buying a camper van ready to travel and a regular van is insane. Also way more options and prices are not that seasonal.

      Im aware of but im thinking of just buying a mattress, going to paid campsites so no fines and having a tent just in case they ask

  8. 10 months ago
    Anonymous

    The problem is not buying a van... The problem is selling it

    • 10 months ago
      Anonymous

      Im slowly realizing this as well. Plan to end my the end of the year so winter would be

      >Forget about a furnished camper van for anything under 50k euro, btw.
      Lmao how can some people be so delusional but talk with such confidence lol.

      You can get good campers under 10000 euros easily

      Dont mind the overpesimistic people. You can still get good deals at marketplace

      kek, i have camped with that couple in mexico
      I am guessing thats not you OP

      first google search result, your friends are good at SEO

  9. 10 months ago
    Anonymous

    kek, i have camped with that couple in mexico
    I am guessing thats not you OP

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