NEWS… BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT
Particularly due to the cost of living crisis, more and more Brits are choosing to switch from traditional homes and embrace a simpler (and less expensive) way of living.
According to the National Caravan Council, registrations for new campervans and motor homes have risen by 71% this year, while over 10 billion people have watched videos on TikTok tagged as #vanlife.
Given it costs an estimated £1500 per month to run the average family home, the savings that can be made are undoubtedly a draw for people.
They certainly were for Harri Cooke and Nicky Horsley, both 23.
When the couple, from Berkshire, left university they moved to London, but expensive rents and a desire to see the world led them to look into a property on four wheels.
The pair bought a van and revamped it in 2020, and now live a nomadic lifestyle where they work remotely from wherever they are.
They’ve now driven their fitted-out vehicle across Europe, travelled the US, and earned followers for sharing their journey on Instagram.
‘We came out of University and although we did rent for six months, we thought it was such a huge cost,’ said Nicky.
‘It’s definitely cheaper, we built our van completely off grid.’
Harri and Nicky were initially attracted to setting up home on the road due to the flexibility it could offer.
Nicky said: ‘It was about the freedom to start with, being able to travel and park your house where you want to explore.
‘A lot of the benefits of living in a van have been bi-products as we didn’t expect, for example, a cheaper cost of living, meeting loads of great people and just having a completely different way of life.’
Looking at the costs associated with these portable homes, Carmats.co.uk calculated that the couple are saving up to £5,000 a year on utility bills alone, when compared to a standard house or flat.
Against the average annual mortgage cost, they’re saving £3,000 per year on the property itself – and a whopping £15,744 when compared to London rental prices (which come to £1,832 monthly according to HomeLet).
Nicki and Harri have kept costs down in the van by investing in energy-saving appliances and using camper-friendly apps.
Harri said: ‘We have a £250 solar panel that powers our laptops, we also use an app called “park4night” that shows you where you can park for the evening and fill up your water tanks – often it’s completely free too.’
More recently, Harri and Nicky converted a school bus to roadtrip around America in. It was then when they realised just how much money they were saving by living a simpler life.
‘We actually converted the American school bus on an Airbnb host’s driveway, and then we travelled around the States for a month,’ said Harri.
‘We saved so much money by doing it that way and we loved every minute, it was a crazy experience.’
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Adjusting to their new home has been far from plain sailing though, with the couple advising other people who want to live a more nomadic life to consider the negative angles they may not have taken into account before.
Nicky said: ‘Before moving in with someone, especially into a van, you need to make sure you know that person inside out because it’s a very small space, so you definitely need to go into it understanding that.’
Despite the small cons, they say they would recommend this way of life to anyone who has carefully considered it, due to the new places and cultures that can be experienced and the savings that can be made.
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