With travel restrictions and safety concerns looming over our heads, it may be that many of us will be inclined to use private transport - when we're able to get back on the road, that is. And during times like these, it seems more reliable to keep both feet on the ground instead of risking a ruined holiday thanks to a postponed-until-further-notice flight.
The pandemic has forced people to think outside the flight-hotel box and find alternative (and social distancing-friendly) ways to quench their thirst for adventure. A recent survey of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by Auto Trader, has revealed that 71 per cent of Brits who are thinking about a holiday would consider a motorhome holiday. The sense of freedom that comes with a home on wheels has always been an attractive pull, just like the desire to be closer to nature. Travelling in a campervan allows you to go where you want when you want, and it gives you the option to pack up the entire family including any four-legged friends.
It goes without saying that 2020 didn't exactly go according to plan. When our chances to take our mini-break in May shrunk to zero due to cancelled flights, my husband and I were quick to come up with a new idea: to take our revamped Volkswagen Transporter on the road as soon as restrictions were lifted. We didn't have to deal with chaotic airports and were able to avoid crowded places, camping mostly at smaller sites close to a beach or forest.
Both of us work freelance, so we could easily pack up our home office with laptops, chargers and our portable Wi-Fi hotspot to work wherever we decided to pull up for the day. Relatively little planning is needed when you work from home or when you need a change of scenery to boost your creativity. Just hop in your van and drive until you reach a place that you deem fit for your workcation.
Even if you don't want to travel far or you're limited by travel restrictions, a van can give you the freedom to fully enjoy a staycation close to home, keeping carbon emissions low. There might be a park or a nature reserve in your surroundings that haven't made it onto your travel bucket list pre-2020. Now, a simple cooked meal shared with a loved one next to a lake that's surrounded by woods falls under the category "slow travel".
In terms of versatility and sustainability, a campervan has the upper hand compared to a standard caravan. It's usually smaller, easier to manoeuvre through narrow streets than a chunkier caravan, and it can be used year-round, not only for those two designated weeks in summer.
You can drive it to work, fit in your bulkier shopping items and use it for a quick weekend getaway to visit your friends that live a few hours away. Buying a used van and doing it up isn't only easier on your wallet; a DIY project like this will keep you busy during times of travel restrictions.
The revival of campervans certainly ties in with the trend of vacationing with a group including your great grandma and your youngest nephew. Making new memories with friends and family is priceless, especially after months of interrupted video catch-ups with wonky internet connections.
So yes, now is the time to ride the campervan trend. It's a relatively affordable affair that has become even more popular due to the limited options we're likely to face in the near future. There's no one way to travel, and right now we're searching for alternative ways to feed our adventurous spirit.
Keen to join the ever-growing #vanlife community? Here is some inspiration to start your journey:
- Campervan Life: You'll find lots of information here, including tips on buying a campervan, planning a conversion to practical insights into van life.
- There are numerous blogs about campervanning in Europe. This couple has written up an extensive post with lots of insider intel on cooking in a campervan and finding the best spots to stop.
- Considering a campervan workation? This digital nomad Eric Schad shares his tips for a productive life on the road.