On Saturday 30th March, we played our ‘farewell’ gig with the band before I set off with Bev on our travels. It’s always a good night at the Brandling, but even better with some friends from work come to see us off, including Iqbal who came up from London. Photos and videos by Bev and our mate Paul Curry.
Mixed feelings as I dropped off ‘Voyager’, our trusty VW campervan, a few weekends ago, in part-ex for the new motorhome. On the train home, I got to pondering. We’d had the van a touch under 3 years, say 35 months, and the difference between what we paid and what we got in part-ex was £4,000 – Does that make the depreciation cost about £115 a month? Not bad, I thought, well worth it! For the freedom of Friday night escapes to the countryside, so many long weekends around England and Scotland, 2 amazing trips to Europe, not to mention using the van as a regular runabout.
Of course, that figure doesn’t include diesel, or insurance, or this and that… Turns out the total cost averaged out over the months is quite a lot! Well it sounds a lot, but this figure should be compared to the cost of running a ‘normal’ car, regular weekends away (caravan/B&B?) and 5 weeks holiday around Europe. Still well worth it! And the feeling of escaping the 9-5, the freedom to follow the sunny weather or to take on new gigs and festivals up and down the country – that is absolutely priceless.
Priceless in one sense, but certainly measurable in other senses – and the inner analyst/geek’s curiosity was piqued. So, here’s the facts and figures. May be useful for someone considering taking the plunge – but don’t be put off until you’ve made that full and fair comparison. And bear in mind it could probably be done cheaper for example, we had agreed value insurance, breakdown cover, worldwide multi-trip travel insurance and so on.
Averaged monthly cost over 3 years of owning a VW campervan: £410
- 82 trips (day trips, camping, touring, gigs and festivals) plus regular short journeys/commuting.
- Total miles 19,379: 17,887 on trips and 1,492 miles commuting.
- 2,454 litres of diesel, averaging 36 mpg (min 33 mpg, max 42 mpg).
- 9 countries: UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Spain
- Longest journey: 3,228 miles through France and Northern Spain.
- Most visited: Kielder Forest, Alwinton (Clennell Hall), Workington, Druridge Bay, Tynemouth
Breaking it down:
Averaged monthly van costs: £234
Including depreciation, insurance (up to 6,000 miles per year), road tax, servicing and repairs, diesel for occasional commuting.
Additional averaged monthly costs for our camping/holidays: £176
Including diesel, site fees, camping accessories, new leisure battery, gas tanks, camping club memberships, travel insurance, extra cost for insurance up to 10,000 miles in 2018, tolls and vignettes, 2 pet passports, 1 insurance claim excess.
Let’s see how much the newer, bigger motorhome ends up costing…
UPDATE January 2020: See https://howaskew.com/update-on-van-life-costs/
For a special birthday treat this year, and thinking ahead to our upcoming tour, I got a new digital camera. We’ve had a Panasonic TZ20 for years – great pictures in good light, good zoom, really compact – but it had some fluff in the lens that we couldn’t shift and the zoom motor was starting to play up. Low light performance was not great – my newer mobile (Samsung S7) took better indoor and night-time shots. As ever, I pondered long and hard over what to get – a good all rounder, for photo and video, not too bulky, not too expensive.
In the end we stuck with Panasonic, and the simplicity of a fixed lens, and went for the FZ2000, described as a super-zoom bridge camera. It has 20x zoom, 1 inch sensor, better low light perfomance, 4k video, good battery life and a host of other features like 4k photo, built in neutral density filters and much more to be discovered I’m sure.
Very pleased with the results so far. Got a lot to learn but hoping for some great photo mementos from our trip. These are from our fantastic trip to Mauritius. The .jpg sizes are normally around 6-8Mb (20Mp) so I’ve had to resize/shrink them here.
Looking forward to the big changes coming up this year! It’s meant that we’ve had to think carefully about which gigs and festivals we can try to book in. I’m starting now to plan a route through Europe and looking for potential solo gigs along the way. Tops tips for Slovenia, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic anyone?
Plan is to be back in UK for late August and we have some band bookings already in for September. So, it’s likely that our 30th March gig at the Brandling Villa in South Gosforth will be our last for a little while – come on down and make it special 🙂
The Brandling is a superb pub – great beers, a unique grub menu, good crack. The original and best dog pub, always full of characters!