It is not just the UK embracing vanlife in a Covid-ravaged world

Van life is sweeping the globe

By Emma Dodd

With the uncertainty of foreign travel that has come with the coronavirus pandemic, Brits have embraced the staycation and sales of motorhomes, caravans and campervans have been booming.

But it’s not just the population of the UK that has opted for holidays at home recently, as folks in Europe, the US and Australia have all been embracing the vanlife trend as borders close and travel corridors disappear.

Take Germany as an example, where motorhome registrations hit a record high in 2020 and show no sign of abating in the next 12 months.

According to the German Caravaning Industry Association, there were in the region of 80,000 newly registered motorhomes last year alone.

The situation is similar across the continent and manufacturers are taking note of the trend and looking carefully at the types of leisure vehicles that are proving popular.

Compact campervans that can be put to use for impromptu getaways, as well as driven on a day-to-day basis, are seen as the ultimate purchase in an unpredictable world.

Klaus Rehkugler, the new head of sales and marketing at Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “We are very satisfied with the current order situation for our Marco Polo camper van family – in 2021 we want to sell around 25 per cent more of these vehicles.”

He went on to say that the brand intends to take advantage of a real potential for growth that it predicts is coming in subsequent years.

In Australia, there’s also an appetite for smaller leisure vehicles, as staycationers set out to explore their own backyard.

This is being driven by a desire to be more environmentally responsible and cost-conscious. It’s easier to heat and cool smaller motorhomes than vast RVs.

CNBC’s Jim Cramer summed up why the appetite for living the vanlife has been ignited all over the world in recent months.

He said: “Camping … is the perfect Covid vacation” and “you can still practice social distancing, especially if you’ve got an RV. One of these things lets you shelter in place and travel at the same time.”