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What’s a ‘van lifer’ & can you accommodate them?

The 'Van-life' movement is all the rage but do you know how to tailor your accommodation to this new legion of travellers?

If you’ve been on Instagram or Tik Tok recently, you’ll know that ‘van life’ is all the rage.

In fact, according to, social media searches for ‘van life’ have increased by a mammoth 216 percent since 2018.

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Even since 2019, there has been a 101 per cent increase and a 27 percent increase since 2020. The explosion in popularity could be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire for a return to a slower way of life.

From part-time travellers, to ‘van-lifers’ who have made a home on wheels, they often use caravan parks, motels and even hotels as stop-off points. So whether it’s a one or two-night stopover or an extended stay, it pays to consider the needs of this new legion of travellers.

To ensure your accommodation offering is ‘van life’ friendly, AccomNews has collated a list of top tips to appeal to this new traveller.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Create a community atmosphere

Many van lifers are young, solo travellers, so socialising when possible is a high priority, consider…

  • Does your accommodation has enough welcoming spaces for people to commune and socialise?
  • If you have a BBQ area, ensure it is well-maintained and has ample lighting and space for people to stand or sit to chat.
  • Better yet, during peak times, think of some fun ideas to get your guests talking.
  • How about inviting a local musician to play a gig, or organising a guide to offer tours from your accommodation?

Invest in the van life luxuries

While living full-time in a van sounds idyllic, there are a number of creature comforts that your guests are undoubtedly missing!

  • Entice van lifers to stay at your accommodation above all others by prioritising some of these luxuries.
  • For washing clothing and bedding, van lifers will be impressed if your accommodation offers a laundromat.
  • Bonus points if your washer/dryer is industrial-sized to allow for larger loads of washing.
  • Hot showers are likely something that they are also missing while on the road, so make sure your bathroom amenities are well-maintained.
    Photo by Collins Lesulie on Unsplash

Showcase the best of your locale

Van lifers want to embrace a life on the road and make the most of all the sights along the way.

  • Is your accommodation located near a tourist attraction or an area of natural beauty? If so, make sure to highlight this on your website and social media platforms.
  • Alternatively, if your accommodation is located near a town with amenities such as banks, retail shops, or chemists, make sure to highlight this to travellers who may need to stock up on essentials.

Encourage reviews and referrals

Van lifers are a close-knit community, with forums and social media pages filled with travellers looking for all the best tips.

Not to mention, van lifers are bound to get chatting with one another on the road. So…

  • Make sure your accommodation and experience is active on social media.
  • Create spaces for instantly recognisable ‘instagrammable’ shots.
  • Think of the additional extras your accommodation could offer to van lifers to exceed their expectations.
  • How about a book exchange so travellers can update their van library?
  • Or selling some essential items through your accommodation, such as toothpaste, deodorant or body wash.

From there, encourage all guests checking out to leave a review or recommend your accommodation to others. A discount for referring a friend could be an option to encourage van lifers to give your place a rave review.


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