What you should know before living in a camping car

The idea of ​​leaving everything to live in a camping-car tempts you, but you still hesitate? 🤔

This is completely normal, and we also asked ourselves a lot of questions before deciding to live in a motorhome all year round. Of course, it didn’t happen overnight, but here we would like to share some answers to any questions / questions you might have before you jump into motorhome life.

In this article, you will therefore find a summary of the questions we are most often asked. The goal is for you to have all the keys to living in a van all year before you go (for real) and give up! Here are the points we will cover 👉

  1. Why live in a van?
  2. How do you choose the right camping car?
  3. How much should you budget for living in a van?
  4. The advantages and disadvantages of life in a van
  5. Travelling and working in a van?

1. Why live in a camping car?

Yes, we know, this is a bit like the existential question asked by your uncle jack during a family dinner and which can give rise to some debates, but it deserves to appear in this list

To the question “Why live in a motorhome”? The answer we often give is: “why not?
No more jokes, it is justified to ask yourself this question if you plan to do it and to understand what are the reasons and the deep motivations which push you there?

Here are our answers to comfort you in this choice of life:

  • Because you can have certain freedom and quench your thirst for adventure and exploration🌍
  • Living a daily life that is never the same, if you are looking for challenges, then life in a motorhome will be quite suitable with a constantly renewed routine!
  • Being closer to nature: this is one of the advantages of life in a motorhome, if you are already a fan of Mother Nature, and you would like to find a way to connect with it even more, then life on a campsite -car is made for you! What could be better than a sweet awakening by a small river or by the fiery ocean?
  • Adopt a simpler and more minimalist lifestyle: if you are looking to challenge your consumption patterns, then bingo, living in your motorhome is definitely a way of forcing yourself to take what is strictly necessary. And believe me, you quickly realize that you don’t need the 30 dresses in your closet or the 40 pairs of dusty shoes;)
  • Adopt a posture of openness to others and to the world: living in a motorhome also means knowing how to adapt and open up to encounters on the way, and to the cultures / traditions that we will discover as we go. as we travel.
  • Living in the present moment (thank you Eckart Tolle), when you live in a van, the notion of time is very different. Already, we live more in accordance with the weather (sunrise and sunset), and therefore, we are necessarily more attentive to what surrounds us, we are also less entertained by television, or anything that life can offer us. in a classic house or apartment.
Moutains in France

There are still so many other reasons that I could expand on in a dedicated article! But we’ll come back to that later.

2. How do you choose the right camping-car?

Here is a question we are asked very often, and it is essential: how to find the vehicle of your dreams? 🚚

Let’s assume that you are not a billionaire and you are looking to either refurbish a motorhome or refit a van, or just buy a used motorhome, as we did. Here are some tips and tricks to make the right choice during your visits.

The size

Here, the question to ask yourself is: what lifestyle do you want and where do you want to go during your trip? We opted for a small size camper van , without a nasturtium, in order to be able to park in certain villages, or in towns, without being limited in relation to size (as proof: we have was able to park in old Nice, something that would never have been possible with a larger motorhome!)

Our motorhome is 2.5 m high and 5.2 m for information. Size is a determining factor when of your research, then ask yourself the right questions.


What type of engine to live in a camping car?

The choice of engine is not necessarily the first criterion when buying a vehicle.

However, motorization can be an important factor depending on your lifestyle and your needs: do you want to go to the mountains, take the highways or smaller country roads? & nbsp; Our advice : do not buy gasoline vehicles, they consume a lot more and gasoline is also more expensive. Either way, gasoline engines wouldn’t really be made to handle big loads. Note also that the trucks work with diesel engines, because this is the most suitable solution.

Do not be too worried about the engine power with turbo, the idea is not to go to 180 on the highway (anyway, motorhomes do not go not very quickly). Often times, engines last longer when they don’t have a turbo.

Finally, I would advise you to look on the Internet for models of motorhomes or vans and the problems related to the engine that come up most often (longevity, reliability).

Our engine is a Mercedes , apparently quite robust engines that last! We’re already 20,000 km away, and the mechanics predict a bright future for Bill!

The clutch

Essential when you visit used motorhomes, these are some of the elements that determine the good health of your vehicle ! The clutch tends to wear out more quickly on motorhomes, and if you have to change it, you should count at least 1000 euros, if you can avoid it, that’s better.

Take the test ! You need to be able to check – when you are driving the van and changing gears – that the clutch is working properly. A simple tip for this: push the clutch fully, and release your foot little by little, if you notice that the vehicle starts to move forward when you have already lifted your foot for a while, this is not a very good sign. and that can tell that there are already signs of wear.

Track moisture!

Fourth super important criterion for us to live in a motorhome! Make sure when you visit the motorhomes that there are no leaks or hidden moisture! Because as soon as you finalize the sale, and you notice after the 8th day of rain that your motorhome is taking in water, you will experience a real nightmare. It happened to a couple of friends who hadn’t checked out, and the whole motorhome was actually rusty and moldy behind some shallow planks that had been added by the owner.


So: extreme vigilance, really check everywhere for the slightest leak or the slightest sign of leakage (warped, stained paint, etc.) The most frequent places to check: around windows, at joints, and outside the campsite- because ! For example, on the attachment points, is the rendering ok? Or is it old and cracked? Also be sure to watch the walls with fresh paint. It is often a sign of concealment.


If you prefer wild camping, then you should opt for a motorhome equipped with solar panels. In fact, solar panels have become almost systematic on motorhomes for optimized energy autonomy. It all depends on your consumption, but we generally recommend two solar panels with a minimum of 200/300 W to be able to use a computer, charge laptops, etc.… that’s what we have installed.

Purchase price, installation, consumption … The list of our recommendations for making the right choice could go on forever and we plan to make a blog article dedicated to this subject very soon! 😄

3. What budget to live in a camping car?

The subject of the budget was one of my biggest preoccupations at the beginning when we started to take an interest in “van life” 💸.

We had looked at various blogs on the subject to compare the rates allocated and to make our own estimate. So, what budget should be planned for living year round in a motorhome ? Insurance, gasoline, food, tolls, administration (telephone packages, subscriptions), gas …

Here is an estimate for two (we can tell you if it has changed after our first months of travel) 👇:

  • Food: 500 euros / month
  • Water / Services: 15 euros / month
  • Petrol and tolls: 200 euros / month
  • Gas: 60 euros / month
  • Telephone packages: 50 euros / month
  • Comprehensive insurance: 37.5 euros / month
  • Bonus activities / leisure: 100 euros / month

    Which gives us a total of 962 euros in total for two people! I hope this criterion shows you how much life in a van is worth because it is not that expensive! Everything will depend on the roads you take, the speed at which you go, and we have not taken into account the expenses to be expected in the event of accidents, or minor injuries … To be continued.

4. The advantages and disadvantages of the Van life

Before embarking on life in a motorhome, a little recap of the advantages and disadvantages of “van life” may be necessary, here is a non-exhaustive list that we have drawn up.

The advantages of living in a motorhome

To take up the points mentioned at the beginning of this article,
here are the advantages we see from living in a motorhome 👇

  • The freedom to travel and explore
  • A simpler pace of life, more minimalist consumption and reduced time dedicated to housework or household chores!
  • A stronger connection with nature, which induces a feeling of general well-being
  • Unique encounters on the road with other nomads.
  • A routine that is never the same!
  • Constant learning, about yourself and in relation to all the places you visit. You learn and discover a lot more by living in a van than by staying sedentary. Or in any case, we learn differently.

The disadvantages of life in a motorhome

  • Comfortable living space: you can’t expect to take 30-minute showers, or even be able to cook on a 10-foot-long worktop. It is also necessary to empty the toilet regularly. In short, each space in the van must be optimized in order to be able to move around and live there properly.
  • Energy management (water, gas, electricity) which requires constant vigilance to ensure that nothing is lacking.
  • Places to sleep: we must be in constant search of new places to spend the night, or even a few days, which if possible meet the following conditions: wifi, beautiful view therefore a spot in nature for followers, sometimes if we can find a river or a water point in order to be able to enjoy it in summer and cool off. In short, it is research and vigilance that can sometimes lead to fatigue in the long term.
  • The weather: if it rains for 8 days, we must admit that life in a van is less dreamy, stuck in a cramped space. Not to mention the noise of drops on the roof.
  • The lack of moments alone (when traveling as a couple). Hence the importance of continuing to cultivate the little moments when this is the case, taking a shower for example, or going for a walk alone.

5. How can I earn money and live in a camping car?

Financial matters are legitimate: how are you doing financially? Moreover, there is often this cliché or this rumor that when you live in a van, you are always on vacation! FALSE.
In fact, we work, yes if! 💼

So here are some possibilities for successfully making money while living in a van.

Be seasonal to alternate work and travel

It is quite possible to work on a temporary basis during a certain period of the year, and to travel thanks to the savings the other part of the year.

There are many jobs depending on the season. In winter, of course, we think of jobs in ski resorts (hotels, rental shops, etc.). In summer, you can work as a waiter, in restaurants, on a campsite, and in the fall, you can even harvest!

Be a freelance or digital nomad

This is the option we have chosen. It is a bit of the status that makes you dream because you can travel, while earning money and being independent. However, not always easy, especially if you start at the beginning!

Many jobs exist in freelance : graphics, communication, online education… And why not work on the road? Give yoga classes in cities where you move? Or cooking lessons?

You should also know that it is now possible to remote work much more easily since the Covid crisis. Many companies have accepted this way of working and are opening positions in “remote”. & Nbsp;

So in any case, all you need is an internet connection, a computer and you can work from anywhere … Including from a van!

In short, there are a lot of ways to finance your trip, and as mentioned in the budget section, you don’t need a lot of money to live in a motorhome.

The final word

There you go, we hope we have answered some of your questions before you start motorhome life ! You will be able to readjust your decisions and weigh the pros and cons to travel all year round in a motorhome!

Do not hesitate to contact us if you need more information or if you have any other questions, we will be happy to answer them!

👉 If you can share this article with your loved ones! This will give us a little boost to make ourselves known, improve our ranking on search engines and quite simply inspire others to live in a motorhome!

See you very soon! 🙌

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