How To Make Your Van A Home Away From Home

The perfect van additions to make life more comfortable

By William Coleman

Your caravan is very much an extension of your home, hence the old say “your home away from”, but what are the creature comforts that make your leisure vehicle the ideal accommodation when you’re touring around the country?

There was a time where a lot of people that I knew would just use what came as standard with the caravan and not really spend too much more on making the van much more than just a roof to sleep under a few times a year. As time goes on people are spending a much larger amount of time each year in their vans, especially during the winter months so inevitably the needs for comfort has grown.

For those who are spending more time in their vans you can see some slight differences in their on board kit; real cutlery (not your basic travel set), electric kettle, luxury bedding sets and even espresso machines!

So what are the more “non traditional” items that are being added to vans to make them more homely?

The Modcons

A lot of sites have WiFi you can connect to, sometimes free and sometimes chargeable, but in reality it is usually not that good unless you are pitched within a few meters of the router and can just be a total waste of money.

In this day and age most information is now available on the internet, making print info slightly obsolete and harder to find. Yes we all have smart phone but how many times have you been on remote site with little to no phone reception? This is where on board internet comes in handy.

Onboard WiFi is something I never thought would become a popular product for the caravanner, yet here we are in 2019 and it is one of the fastest selling items in the leisure industry. When on site if you turn on your WiFi on either you laptop of phone you’ll be surprised just how many people have their own personal internet connections in the caravan or motorhome.

My first thought about the large influx of internet hubs in vans was one of confusion, I mean don’t we do this to escape from reality for a little while? But then when you think about it this is the new reality and the internet is very much ingrained into day to day living. Especially if you have children or teenagers with you on holiday.

The Entertainment Factor

Having spent a large amount of time in static vans when I was a child I was very used to having a TV with a built in aerial as standard. As I grew up and spent more time in touring caravans and motorhomes I realised that this is very much a non standard feature in this type of leisure vehicle

In today’s world a lot of vans are sold with, as standard, existing TV brackets, shelves, spaces and connections for aftermarket fitting. Depending on what van you buy some of the add on packages you can choose from will have a fully built in multi media system ready to go as soon as its delivered.

The industry for media fittings is humongous and the options are almost limitless. With systems from Oyster Sat-Tech you can go to pretty much anywhere in the UK or the European continent and watch all of your favourite shows totally uninterrupted. A lot of people even have Sky TV in their caravan or motorhome.

When you think about it having an on board TV/DVD set up is actually not a bad idea at all. The common opinion among the CaravanTimes team is that why would you have a TV when you can be outside exploring the world?

What about when its raining, snowing, night time or early morning? Yes you can sit and read a book or do some chores but why not relax and pop on a film or catch up with Coronation Street? It is your leisure time so put your feet up with a tin of biscuits and a large mug of tea and enjoy yourself.

Coffee Machines?

One thing that has always baffled me is why people still use a boiling kettle? It takes a lot longer to boil, needless use of gas and most boiling kettles hold nowhere near the capacity of an electric kettle, unless you’ve bought a giant one.

Yes it is traditional but people have on board internet so an electric kettle does not seem to far fetched. What about the on board espresso/coffee machine!?

While I was having a chat with the guys and gals from Travelworld motorhomes I noticed that one option they have is to provide a Nespresso coffee machine with their vehicles, it even has its own slide cover built into the kitchen. Something I was instantly a fan of as I do love to indulge in a Longo Espresso from time to time.

You can pick up a Nespresso or coffee machines for around £80-£90 now and have barista style coffee in no time at all. Why settle for an instant when you can have a cappuccino or a flat white?

The one drawback of having an extra bit of kit on the worktop is losing the space but it seems as though, like most modern technology, these coffee makers are getting smaller and smaller so what was yesterday’s issue is tomorrow’s solution.

Fully Furnished

One of the team, I won’t name names, changes the on board colour scheme around twice a year and even goes as far to buy matching colour candles! Some call him impulsive and some call him weird, I am still undecided.

But all jokes aside he does it to make it a much more comfortable living space for him and his family when they are away. It is also very much a family affair as each time a different member of the family get to choose the colour scheme and they then go out as family and try to find all matching sheets, covers and cushions. So what may seem impulsive to some soon turns into fun for all the family.

Certain companies sell matching sets for the entire van so you no not have to spend hours in Ikea bickering over what throw to buy. Prima leisure, along with Bailey of Bristol, released exclusive sets for their brand new 2019 vans so you can add them on without having to leave to house.

For me it is all about adding my own personal touches to the van to make it my perfect van. There are not on board WiFi hubs or external satellite systems, it is a lot more simple than that. The right bedspread and blankets followed by a fully kitted out kitchen with all my favourite cooking utensils and that is it.

Yes I did keep an old espresso machine and that has now found a new home in the van, what can I say, I love me an early morning double espresso.