Retrofitting a Van for Travel

Retrofitting a Van for Travel

Travel can be loads of fun—or drudgery. For the other women out there with husbands like men who love to drive, and do not believe in spending the night in a hotel en route to a destination, I feel your pain! I have been on many of these trips, and typically must sleep for the first day upon arrival; I miss a lot of the vacation this way. Of course, I realize he does not want to spend $100 just to take a little nap, so I believe the answer lies within our minivan.

Retrofitting a Van for Travel:
Van for Travel

Vans and minivans can easily and relatively inexpensively be made into good traveling vehicles, if not full campers, by the simple addition of some seats that flip down into a fairly comfortable bed, and some means of gaining privacy. Our Ford Windstar already has very dark tinted back windows, so a simple privacy screen for across the front, but behind the seats, would work well. If you do not have tinted windows, simple curtains on spring extension rods can work. Have you ever tried to sleep sitting up in the front seats of a car or van in a busy rest area? I don’t know about you, but I just feel very exposed. Everybody that gets out of their car nearby or walks past has to take a peek at you, and if you’re squirming around trying to get comfortable, chances are you’ll not be in the most ladylike position. In addition, I “sleep” very lightly in those areas, because I am just nervous and uncomfortable. With some privacy screens and a flip down bed, we can jump in the back and lay down for a few hours of peaceful shut-eye. Of course, if hubby insists on forward progress, I can get some sleep myself.

In researching this project, I have found a number of sites where you can purchase sofa beds for RVs, vans, and minivans. They are available in fabric, vinyl, and leather and a number of different sizes so you have lots of options as to how you want to set up your van. In our case, I would love to simply replace the middle seat with a sofa bed that will lay flat. You could also build your own bed to fit into your van out of plywood and add cushions of thick microfiber foam. This van could be made into a micro camper with just a little work—and then we could afford a lot more travelling.

Comfort features like electric outlets and lights are fairly easy to come by nowadays as many of these types of things are now sold for truckers. You can find a dual cooler and warmer to store food and drinks for your trip, and there are also toaster ovens and coffee makers that can run on 12 volt power as well. Likewise, a small heater and fan is available, and heated blankets can be used in the winter. In fact, there are even small satellite TV receivers available so that you can watch your favorite television show while on the road.  Tents that attach to many minivans and SUVs are also available and can greatly expand the space you have. Campground directories are available for places all over the world, so it is possible to travel inexpensively. Additionally, there are modern and clean travel centers in most areas today, and they include shower and laundry facilities. Roughing it just a little bit can help you see much more of the world for a lot less money.

You’ll have some expenses while travelling in your van: gas, oil, maintenance and repairs. Save some money with cheap van insurance.

Here is a great picture to go along with the post.

Cool Minivan Camper

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