A WOMAN has revealed how she transformed an old van into a moneymaking holiday home.
Leah Whitfield, 34, bought a 2013 Vauxhall Movano in 2022 after she fell in love with life on the open road one year earlier.
The PR and Communications manager for adventure travel company G adventures was looking for a way to travel the UK when the Covid lockdown closed international borders.
With foreign holidays no longer an option, Leah, from London, decided to turn her focus to staycations in a campervan.
Along with their three dogs, Dakota, Bodi, and Max, Leah and her boyfriend Jordan picked up the keys to their first rental van in April 2021.
The couple took their first road trip through Scotland, where Leah fell in love with van holidays.
She told Sun Online Travel: ” I did the driving, and I learnt all about how the van worked.
“[After that trip], I started considering the idea of owning a van myself, and realised it was something I wanted to do.”
“I didn’t know anything about vans or cars, so it was a daunting project.”
After scouring Quirky Campers, Facebook and calling around car dealerships, Leah bought her van in May 2022 after a mechanic gave the vehicle a once over.
She added: “I always knew that it was something I wanted to rent out to holidaymakers.
“I wanted to own the van but make up the costs of running it (like the MOT and the insurance) by renting it out.”
After purchasing the van, Leach came across Global Vandemic Campers – a trio of experts who help to convert vans in Wigan.
She said: “I designed the van and sourced all the textiles, like buying fabrics from Morocco, and the Global Vandemic Campers completed the conversion.”
Aside from a cosy interior, Leah wanted the van to be reliable on the road too.
She said: “Because I’d be working from the van, I wanted the van to be able to hook up on a site.
“But I also wanted the van to run off grid, so I had solar panels fitted too, and the shower was another must.”
Purchasing and converting the vehicle set Leah back £27,000, but the van, which has been dubbed Rosie, is already a proven hit with the renters.
She said: “It’s a great feeling to have a couple come back and tell me how much they enjoyed their holiday in my van.”
“Bookings are looking good for this summer with a lot of international travellers from New Zealand booking the van out for 20 days at a time.”
Leah only needs to know if guests plan on taking the van across to Europe because there’s more paperwork involved, otherwise Rosie and her guests are free to explore the UK.
As for her own adventures, she said: “We do quite a lot of trips in the van including south coast, Pembrokeshire and the Peak and the Lake district.”
Guests can book to stay in Rosie from March with bookings starting at £432 for a minimum of a four night stay.
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