Converting a van for a cheap vacation may be all the rage, but here’s what the experts won’t tell you

Approaching your 50th birthday is a big milestone for most of us, perhaps a time to spend a little and treat yourself to something special.

Financial advisor Mark Swann did just that – he celebrated his half-century by buying his dream RV.

Mark Swann's camper conversion included some luxury kits


Mark Swann’s camper conversion included some luxury kits
Mark's Ford Transit Custom now includes sleeping quarters and a kitchen area


Mark’s Ford Transit Custom now includes sleeping quarters and a kitchen area

After hours of watching “Van Life” videos on YouTube, Mark decided it was time to take the plunge.

He explained, “I was frustrated with our neighborhood, frustrated at being stuck in traffic every time I went to the shops.”

“I’m dying to move to Cornwall but can’t realistically afford it and thought getting a van might offer better access to the South West.”

“Now I’m a bit older, I feel like I want to get out and explore – hopefully the camper is the perfect way to do that.”

Mark is a man who likes to get hands on and try things out for himself and was considering working on the conversion in his spare time.

He said: “All the experts seem to think you can do everything yourself, but I fooled myself that without the right tools, resources or skills I could do a quality job.”

“It took me quite a bit of time wasting money on the project, otherwise the reality would be that I would have a van full of holes just sitting in the driveway.”

Eventually, Mark saved enough to buy the van he wanted to convert and, with help from RV specialists The Dub Hut, managed to secure a Ford Transit Custom.

Mark explains: “I chose a Ford Custom because you get more bang for your buck compared to a VW.

“The problem was I still paid £24,000 which meant most of my £35,000 budget was gone.”

Mark went back to some long hours of work and careful saving to build up his money.

“It was tough and took a long time, but at that point I knew I wanted The Dub Hut to do the work for me.”

They outfitted a pop-up roof, diesel heater, windows, rotating passenger seats, rocking bed, fridge, sink, two-burner stove, power outlet, and solar panel on the roof—it even included extra soundproofing and insulation.

Mark said: “It took me two months to collect it and the total conversion work came to £17,500 which meant I went over budget by around £6,500.”

“The extra money that ran out hurt a little, but I didn’t mind knowing the job would be done properly.”

“I could have tried it myself, but the company walked me through the options and made constructive suggestions to get what I needed and reduce the overall cost.”

“The end result was superb – I’m glad I didn’t get drawn into doing the work myself.

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“I now have a real RV that is re-registered as a five-seater van with windows.

“I won’t be going months at a time, certainly not at the moment, but I think we’ll start with long weekends and build it up slowly – I think our first trip will be about 50 miles to the coast, find a nice pub , walk the dog, stay overnight and go home in the morning after a nice cup of tea. Converting a van for a cheap vacation may be all the rage, but here’s what the experts won’t tell you


DevanCole is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DevanCole joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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