Not too long ago, I switched from sailing life to vanlife. And when it was time to start my first ever vanlife trip, I decided to keep track of my expenses again and share them in an expense overview. So here, you go: my vanlife expense overview Scotland.
Those of you that have been following this blog for longer know that I used to publish monthly expense overviews of our sailing lifestyle on our Lagoon 42 catamaran. If you missed them, you can find them here.
If you are curious how expensive it is to travel the world in a van, you definitely can use this blog to your advantage. Enjoy and let me know in the comments what you think!
The importance of expense tracking
In general, the less money you spend, the sooner you will be able to achieve financial freedom.
With regard to this, keeping track of your expenses is a smart thing to do because it will automatically make you more aware of the money you spend. You will gain insight in your spending and become more conscious of where your money goes.
Financial freedom starts with awareness of your money habits. Most of us have to put in long hours en work hard to obtain our income, so it would be a shame to spend it without giving it any thought.
The main reason I started sharing expense overviews is that it is very valuable information for those of you that are considering a travel lifestyle. If you are striving towards financial freedom, it’s important to know how much money you need to live your ideal lifestyle. You will have to find a way to gather this amount as a passive income stream.
Vanlife expense overviews
In 2021, my relationship ended and as a result we unfortunately sold our beautiful catamaran and my lifestyle of fulltime sailing come to an end. For now at least 😉 After 1,5 years of sailing, I definitely wasn’t done roaming the world however. So, at the end of 2021, I bought a Citroen Jumper campervan.
I figured that vanlife would be a great way to keep travelling. After a few try-outs on camp sites in the Netherlands, it was time to go for my first bigger trip with the van ever: let’s go to Scotland!
I decided to continue the tradition of sharing my expenses in these written expense overviews. The reason for doing so is quite the same as before: I like to track my expenses anyway to have insight in my spending. And next to that, I feel that sharing this information might be of value for others that are considering vanlife as a lifestyle as well.
I hope that these expense overviews will give you information and insight and maybe also a little bit of inspiration to follow your dreams in life, whatever they may be.
I hope that these overviews give you a little bit of inspiration to follow your dreams in life, whatever they may be
Expense overview Scotland: trip details
I travelled to Scotland with my campervan in May/June 2022.
I took the ferry from Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands to Harwich in the United Kingdom. From there, I drove up north towards Scotland. In total, I spend 13 days in Scotland, driving 1.723 miles (2.733 kilometers).
This amount of driving definitely also has its effect on the expenses overview Scotland as you will discover later on.
Tracking my expenses during the trip
There are a lot of apps that give you the option to track your expenses, so I advise you to just try out a few to see which one appeals to you the best.
For this trip, I tracked my expenses using the Dutch app ‘Kosten Manager’.
I used the app 1Money before to track my monthly expenses. 1Money actually is a great app for monthly expense tracking, but unfortunately it doesn’t allow tracking of expenses for specific trips. So for these expense overviews, I decided to test a new app. I am thinking of writing a blog in which I compare several expense tracking apps. Please let me know in the comments if you would be interested in that.
Expense overview Scotland; total expenses
In total, I spend 1.210 euros during my trip to Scotland
I have to say that for a 13-day trip, this amount actually is quite high and definitely more than I anticipated spending.
But, looking closer to where the money went, I think there is a clear reason for this amount and how to improve this for vanlife trips in the future
Expense overview Scotland; category break-down
Diesel 446,58 euro (37%)
Transport 264,35 euro (22%)
Camp sites 147,99 euro (12%)
Eating out 113,56 euro (9%)
Groceries 112,38 euro (9%)
Maintenance 96,48 euro (8%)
Other 28,61 euro (2%)
Diesel 446,58 euro
So, here’s the thing with vanlife: to move around you need fuel. And fuel isn’t cheap, especially not at the moment. Almost 40% of the expenses of this whole trip are due to the costs for diesel.
There is however an important remark I would like to make with regard to this. Because I feel that this amount isn’t representative for my next trips.
I feel that this amount for diesel isn’t representative for my next trips, because I drove a lot of miles in a short period of time
I knew beforehand that I would only have limited time in Scotland. But I still wanted to see as much as possible of this beautiful country. That’s why I drove a lot of miles in a short period of time. Due to this, the amount for diesel I used in this trip is definitely higher than it would normally be.
Of course, there is no such thing as ‘normal vanlife’ as everyone decides for themselves how often they want to move around and how many miles they want to drive. I do feel however, that in my next trip I definitely need to slow down. Driving all these miles alone was way too exhausting which also took away from enjoying the experience of vanlife.
For my next trip I definitely need to slow down. Driving all these miles alone was way too exhausting
Transport 264,35 euro
The transport category covers all the expenses related to transport, other than driving the van over the road.
This included the ferry I took from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. The Stenaline ferry left from Hoek van Holland and arrived in Harwich (UK) 7 hours later. The costs for the ferry were 231 euro for me and the campervan (return ticket).
I also took a small ferry while travelling in Scotland. This ferry took me across the water from Armadale to Mallaig, which costed 16,48 euros for me and the van (one-way).
The rest of the costs in this category are parking costs.
Camp sites 147,99 euro
In Scotland you’re allowed to wild camp and I highly recommend that you do. I absolutely loved it. However, it took me a few days into my trip to take the leap and go for my first wild camping experience.
Next to that, every now and then I decided to check in to a camp site with the van to fill up my water tank, empty the grey water tank and take a long hot shower. Camp sites aren’t that expensive in the United Kingdom. I paid 21,12 euros for the cheapest camp site (Grange Farm Campsite) while the most expensive one was 39,97 euros for one night (Mortonhall Caravan & Camping Park, near Edinburgh).
I stayed at wild camping sites (free of charge) for 7 nights and at paid camping sites for 5 nights.
In Scotland you’re allowed to wild camp and I highly recommend that you do. I absolutely loved it!
Eating out 113,56 euro
I didn’t eat out a lot while travelling with the van.
There are a few reasons for this. First of all, I actually love to cook myself a healthy meal. Also, when parked for the night at a nice wild camping spot, there often aren’t many options for eating out available as you are mostly not in a town but somewhere in nature.
A big chunk of the expenses for eating out are the cups of coffee that I bought, either on the road or in a town while walking around. Often, that cup of coffee also buys me access to the toilet which comes in handy when you don’t have one in the van 😉
Groceries 112,38 euro
I have to say that Scotland isn’t very expensive when it comes to groceries. During the whole trip, I only spend a little over 112 euros, which isn’t a lot considering the fact that I ate ‘at home’ almost all the time. I did bring some food with my from the Netherlands with me.
Maintenance 96,48 euro
During my first night of wild camping at Littlemill, I ran out of gas.
Of course, you always run out of gas when you really crave a cup of hot coffee after a fairly cold night in rainy Scotland 😉 It actually wasn’t possible to find a place where I could get my gas bottle filled up, since I had a Norwegian gas bottle in the campervan. I ended up buying a smaller blue Campingaz bottle so at least I would be able to cook for the trip. A fairly expensive solution, but at least after a few hours I was back on the road again.
Of course, you always run out of gas when you crave a cup of hot coffee after a fairly cold rainy night
Other than this, I didn’t have any maintenance costs during the trip. I did however, break my tail light while trying to turn the van in a fairly tight spot, so I will need to have this fixed as well.
Other 28,61 euro
The ‘other’ category’ is for all those expenses that don’t really fit in any of the previous categories.
For instance, to prepare for the trip to Scotland I bought a Lonely Planet guidebook. Other expenses I made in this category are the Scotland sticker I bought for the van and a visit to the public toilet.
That’s it! My first campervan trip and my first vanlife expense overview.
With daily average expenses of 93 euros in this expense overview Scotland, I feel there is a lot of room for cutting costs. Especially the expenses for diesel deserve attention.
If there is one thing that I’ve learned from this trip to Scotland, it’s that slowing down my pace while travelling will not only benefit my energy level but will also have a positive effect on my expenses living this lifestyle.