How to convert a van for travel, including bathroom and kitchen


A couple spent more than $40,000 converting their van into a hotel-on-wheels, with a fully working tiled bathroom and mini kitchenette.

Sarah Gray, 28, and her husband Robert, 39, from Yorkshire, UK, purchased the $19,000 Mercedes sprinter van last year.

The couple said they decided to do up the van as they struggled to book their own holidays due to their work in the agricultural industry

They then spent $22,600 on its renovation, and were forced to learn how to rewire the electricals and test the van’s weight limits.

The couple began by installing solar power ($2170), plumbing and heating ($3620), insulation and sound deadening materials ($540) and wiring ($720).

With utilities in place, the couple moved on to panelling the interior ($1800) and laying down flooring ($540) before installing their bathroom ($1720), kitchen ($1800), windows and seating ($2170) and bed ($630). Tools for the project ($540) and new wheels ($3000) completed the costs.

“As full-time farmers, we can’t always plan trips in advance, so we really miss going on holiday. The van seemed the perfect solution for us,” Ms Gray said.

“We started off by marking out the different areas we wanted on the floor to check sizing and space followed by cutting out holes for the windows and ceiling fan.

“Then, it was a matter of installing the windows, fan, and all of the utilities before covering this with the new panelling.

“The bathroom and kitchen were installed, and we painted the kitchen light blue. We also put in a bench seat although we ended up taking this out due to weight restrictions. Then, it was a matter of finishing touches.

“We’ve never done anything like this before so we had to learn a lot of new skills but Rob is pretty handy anyway as a farmer and his friend Kev was on hand to help.”

The couple finished the project and hoped to be able to travel around Europe with their four dogs Walter, Ellie, Reggie, and Patty.

Yet having completed the project in March this year, the COVID-19 pandemic halted Sarah and Robert’s travel plans.

They eventually hope to drive around France, Spain, Croatia, and Italy when unrestricted international travel returns.

“The van has given us so much freedom to visit wherever we want and wake up with incredible views without paying a premium hotel room price,” Ms Gray said.

“We can visit remote places and be completely self-contained as long as we’re stocked up. Our dogs can travel with us so we can take walks in the stunning scenery and meet like-minded travellers.

“COVID-19 has put our travel plans on hold but we’re so glad we converted it when we did as the pandemic has certainly caused van and campervan prices to rise.

“Prior to the first lockdown, we managed to visit the Lake District, the Cotswolds, and North Yorkshire.

“We are looking forward to travelling further afield and abroad – and not just to the tourist hot spots but to hidden gems too. We’ve had plenty of time to dream up travel plans.

“Our van allows us to have a slice of home on the road with all of our home comforts. You can do it on a budget or high end but at the end of the day, it’s all about the experiences and memories gained from being on the road.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission


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