Have you ever thought about renting a motorhome and touring around with your bestie? Since the pandemic started, this thought has crossed many people’s mind. But what would you have done if you were in the middle of your journey when the pandemic started? Would you have turned around or would you have continued the journey?
In our Live Chat this week we talked to Norah and Susie, aka 2Travellingaunties, two Singaporean women in their 50s who are overlanding through Europe in a 20-year-old motorhome during the pandemic. They have driven through 24 countries so far and their bond has never been stronger.
If you missed our chat, you can watch it on our YouTube channel.
In our chat we talk about vanlife in our 50s, smashing stereotypes, being with someone on the road 24/7, Covid-19 and people's perception at home and on the road. From splitting tasks, navigating and adapting to different countries' regulations, to budget, van maintenance and having an open mind when meeting people, Norah and Susie really opened up about their experiences so far.
Considering a similar trip? Here are 14 tips from Norah and Susie for your van adventure:
- Prepare: Before you leave for your epic van adventure, take a shorter trip with your travel buddy to get a feel of what will be like to travel together.
- Budget: To work out a baseline budget, calculate what you would normally spend on a holiday, take out the amount for hotels and other accommodation, add the cost of van, petrol and food and then multiply by the number of days. YouTube is a great source of budget information and planning.
- Split the tasks so that everyone is happy and then adjust them as the trip progresses based on everyone’s abilities and preferences.
- Driving: Split the driving if you can, but it is more important that you make the most of your skills. A good navigator is just as important as a confident driver.
- Parking lots vs wild camping: Wild camping is an awesome experience.
- Plan your trip: Plan in depth at least the first few days to a week of your trip; this will give you the experience to manage the rest of your journey.
- Your travel buddy: On the road, there is not time to fight, you tend to focus more on the things you need to do every minute and enjoy the places you go. It’s a great bonding experience.
- People skills: There is a large vanlife travel community out there and sign language and smiling work wonders when language is a barrier. People are kind and really happy to help. Trust your instincts and your life experiences so far.
- Keep in touch with the family at home. Let them know how you are and check that they are alright.
- Homesickness: After spending a long time away from home, you feel the need of something familiar. Bring some spicies with you.
- Safety: Make sure that the van is secure from inside so nobody can break in during the night. Norah and Susie use a safety belt to block the doors.
- Covid-19 and the pandemic: Norah and Susie refuse to let Covid run their lives. “We need to carry on. We quarantined in Morocco and that was a good experience as well.”
- Wi-fi access: Find a good mobile data plan or go to McDonalds.
- Courage and experience: “Take the first step. If you are in your 50s like us, you’ve been on this world for a while and you have had plenty of life experiences. Use that!”