Couple who struggled to plan holidays spend £23k turning van into stylish portable home

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3 min read
Sarah and Robert Gray spent thousands on converting a campervan into their very own portable hotel. (Caters)
Sarah and Robert Gray spent thousands on converting a van into their very own portable hotel. (Caters)

A busy couple who struggle to plan holidays have spent £23,000 transforming a humble van into their very own stylish and portable getaway home.

Working commitments mean agricultural workers Sarah Gray, 28, and husband Robert, 39, have difficulty being able to plan for breaks in advance.

But rather than continue on without looking forward to a getaway, the couple bought a £10,500 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and spent £12,500 renovating it into a mini hotel that they can take on the road with their dogs Walter, Ellie, Reggie, and Patty.

The couple’s mammoth task saw them installing solar power (£1,200), plumbing and heating (£2,000), insulation and sound deadening materials (£300), and wiring (£400).

The van has been decorated with all the home comforts. (Caters)
The van has been decorated with all the home comforts. (Caters)
How the campervan looked before it was converted into a portable hotel. (Caters)
How the van looked before it was converted into a portable hotel. (Caters)

With utilities in place, the couple moved onto panelling the interior (£1,000) and laying down flooring (£300) before inserting their bathroom (£1,200), kitchen (£1,000), windows and seating (£1,200), and bed (£350).

Tools for the project (£300) and new wheels (£1,650) completed the costs.

Sarah said: “The van has given us so much freedom to visit wherever we want and wake up with incredible views without paying a premium hotel room price.

“We can visit remote places and be completely self-contained as long as we’re stocked up. Our dogs can travel with us so we can take walks in the stunning scenery and meet like-minded travellers.”

The interior of the van has been made to feel as comfortable as a hotel. (Caters)
The interior of the van has been made to feel as comfortable as a hotel. (Caters)
A kitchen means the couple can eat in wherever they go. (Caters)
A kitchen means the couple can eat in wherever they go. (Caters)

“As full-time farmers, we can’t always plan trips in advance, so we really miss going on holiday. The van seemed the perfect solution for us.”

The couple finished the project in March but their plans for a getaway were put on hold when the country was put into lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

However they plan to take the van out on the road to France, Spain, Croatia, and Italy when unrestricted international travel returns.

Sarah and Robert Gray are looking forward to taking their van on international trips. (Caters)
Sarah and Robert Gray are looking forward to taking their van on international trips. (Caters)

Sarah added: “COVID-19 has put our travel plans on hold but we’re so glad we converted it when we did as the pandemic has certainly caused van and campervan prices to rise.

“Prior to the first lockdown, we managed to visit the Lake District, the Cotswolds, and North Yorkshire.

“We are looking forward to travelling further afield and abroad – and not just to the tourist hot spots but to hidden gems too. We’ve had plenty of time to dream up travel plans.

“Our van allows us to have a slice of home on the road with all of our home comforts. You can do it on a budget or high end but at the end of the day, it’s all about the experiences and memories gained from being on the road.”

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