A ‘work from campervan’ lifestyle trend has overtaken TikTok recently, with more and more people opting to work remotely from vans as they sight-see across the UK, turning ‘WFH’ into ‘WFC’.
If you’re self-employed or if your employer has recently told you that you’ll be able to work remotely long-term, you might be considering combining your 9–5 with a road trip. But, in order to enjoy this lifestyle, you’ll need to plan how to stay safe and productive while travelling.
To help you find the right balance, vehicle parts supplier PartsForAllCars.com shares all the ways that you can prepare yourself and get out into the outdoors.
Ensure you have valid insurance
One of the first things you’ll need to do when starting out on your van life journey is make sure that you have valid insurance for your vehicle. If you are renting your campervan rather than buying it, you can discuss the insurance situation with the rental company, and they will be able to explain which type of insurance the vehicle has and when it was last renewed.
It’s important to organise this before setting out on your trip, so that you know it is sorted and you don’t have to worry about it when you’re exploring the countryside. You will also be aware of what exactly the insurance covers, which can really give you peace of mind if you find yourself in an accident, or sustaining some damage to the vehicle. Look into contents insurance too, as this will protect you if any of your work equipment (such as your work laptop) is stolen, if you are unlucky enough to have your campervan broken into.
Follow some safety tips
When you’re doing lots of driving, it’s important to keep some safety guidelines in mind. By making sure that you pay attention to these basic things, you can rest assured that your trip is much more relaxing, and significantly reduce the likelihood of you being in any risky situations.
Take breaks before burnout
The UK government website estimates that up to one fifth of car accidents may be due to tiredness or drivers falling asleep at the wheel, in their document about driving and sleepiness. So, remember to stop and take breaks — don’t drive through the night if that’s when you usually sleep, and schedule the bulk of your driving spells for times when you will be most alert.
Don’t work and drive
It might seem harmless to have work calls on speakerphone while you’re driving to your next location, and you might feel that you can make up some extra time in your journey by doing things like this. But you will put yourself at risk by not being fully alert or focussed on the road, so it’s better to separate your work and driving. It can be useful to park in a spot, and stay there for a planned amount of time, such as a week, before moving on. This way, you can plan your driving around your work hours.
Conduct maintenance checks on your van
When you’re doing a lot of driving, it’s more important than ever to double check your vehicle to see if it has any maintenance needs. Check that the exhaust is functioning correctly and not giving off fumes, and that the lights turn on and off correctly (and there are no broken bulbs). Then, check that you windscreen wipers work, and haven’t run out of wiper liquid. Finally, make sure that your doors are all locking and opening correctly — this is particularly important when parking at night.
Conduct these checks regularly and look up garages and mechanics along your route before setting off, in case you need more advanced maintenance, or in case something breaks while you’re on your trip. By keeping your campervan in good condition, you will make your experience much more relaxing.
Find a reliable source of internet
Perhaps the most crucial thing to consider is where you are going to get your internet access from. This will allow you to work, contact friends and family, and access things like online banking, insurance information and countless other things.
There are a few different internet options to consider when planning your road trip. If you are planning on staying at camp sites to work, then give them a call and ask if Wi-Fi is provided. Many camp sites now will have internet access on-site, and you will be able to use this to work. If you plan your trip ahead according to which places have Wi-Fi included, you can drive between locations at the weekend, and be plugged in ready for the working week.
If you are planning a longer trip, or you don’t want to be limited as to which locations you can park in, mobile internet could be a good choice. There are a variety of companies that offer mobile Wi-Fi. These options provide a Wi-Fi network like a regular router, but they are attached to your name and email instead of being joined to a fixed address, and are easily portable as long as you are able to plug them in for charging.
For longer trips, you might consider a six month or year-long contract which will leave you free to explore. Remember, however, that mobile internet works similarly to data on your phone — so in extremely remote places, it’s possible that you will lose signal.
Know the highway code
You probably think that you know the highway code already, but even the best drivers can benefit from reviewing the code before they start a long trip. When you are exploring the countryside in your campervan, you’ll likely face a lot of situations that you don’t normally encounter when you’re driving. There will be narrow country lanes, unpredictable turnings, and you’ll probably be navigating using a sat-nav at the same time that you’re watching the road.
So, review the code before starting out and consider taking a pop quiz online to ensure that you know it thoroughly. There are many websites online where you can test yourself for free, such as highwaycodetest.co.uk. These tests will also cover real-world situations like what to do when you are feeling tired at the wheel.
Separate work and living space
One of the difficulties of the campervan lifestyle is that living and working in a smaller space can make us fall into the trap of combining our living and working environment. Ideally, you should keep these two separate — if there is an area at the end of your campervan with a table, try to limit your workday to that area, and use it as your desk. Or, if you are working from a campsite, try setting up a table just outside your van if your Wi-Fi will stretch this far.
Keeping your work and relaxing space separate can be really beneficial for ensuring that you are able to switch off properly after work and enjoy your surroundings. You should also put away all of your work when you clock off for the day. Put away your laptop, notebook, calendar and any folders or documents that you use at work. Place them in a specific cupboard or storage box, so that they are out of sight for the evening, sending your brain a message that you can wind down.
“The ‘WFC’ lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and it’s a great way to use the freedom that working remotely gives you. By working from a campervan, you can spend more time outdoors, see new places, and take some much-needed time in a new setting after being at home so much during the coronavirus pandemic.
“When you start out in your van life journey, you should make sure that you and your vehicle are both prepared, and you know what maintenance checks to do in order to keep the van running smoothly.
“You should know how to check the oil and fuel gauges, and how to check that the doors are locking correctly. It’s also important to check the tyres every time you finish a stretch of driving — even if you’re not off-roading, you’re more likely to encounter uneven and sharp road surfaces than you are on your daily commute. So, keep a spare tyre in the vehicle at all times, and make sure to check for punctures.
“When you’re well-prepared, this lifestyle can be a great way to get a change of scenery and experience a different lifestyle while working remotely.”
- Mark Barclay, Ecommerce Manager, PartsForAllCars.com
About the brand
PartsForAllCars.com is the online retail store for The Parts Alliance, a multi-award winning network of car parts distributors. The Parts Alliance has more than 450 years of combined experience in the industry, and over 170 stores nationwide. The website PartsForAllCars.com allows customers to by car parts online and have them delivered to their homes, or to their local Parts Alliance distributor.
To find out more, visit: https://www.partsforallcars.com/