A WOMAN has revealed how she has transformed a van into her dream holiday home – and now travels the world for free.

Julie Tock, 58, and her partner Garry, 62, spent £1,000 renovating their Citroen Relay into a hotel on wheels.



Garry bought the van six years ago for £5,500 to transport his bulky work tools for his carpet cleaning business, but the vehicle became a holiday staple instead.

The couple, who have been together for five years, used Garry's van which already had a pull-out bed and a shower as their holiday home over the weekends.

Julie told the Sun Online Travel: "We always knew it wasn't quite the right layout, and we were willing to change it to get it right."

"Not being young and sprightly, we wanted to have a proper bed to sleep on in the evenings and somewhere more permanent to store our possessions."

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Because neither was a dab hand with DIY, they scoured the internet for a mechanic who'd be able to make their design a reality.

After doing some research, Julie found a mechanic who fitted a bed frame and a mattress into the back of the van for £1,000.

The couple also sourced other bargains from Facebook Marketplace like an awning for £150 as well as an outdoor shower for £15.

On a trip to France, a friend fitted a cupboard above their bed for free, and at a car boot they snapped up a brand-new cooker for a tenner.

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After the renovation, the couple spent £4,500 for the van to be re-sprayed, although admitted it wasn't needed for anything other than looks.

Julie said: "We wanted it to look pretty when we were on the road, so it was the right investment for us."

For their adventures, the couple try and keep costs to a minimum such as staying where it is free, which they find through an app called Camper Connect.

She said: "We used it all over France last summer, after travelling around 1,500 miles along the coast.

"We parked up for free everywhere except at a French harbour which cost us £20 per night.

"As long as you're sensible and not making noise it's OK to stay on private roads – it's legal and free."

Apart from fuel costs, the couple spent £240 on their Channel Tunnel tickets, and money on groceries.

In the UK, the couple has parked up for free at seafronts like Weston-Super-Mare and Brighton as well as used it as a place to stay when visiting friends.

Julie continued: "We park outside the house and sleep in the van, so that we can stay there for longer and without having to sleep on the sofa or airbeds."

This Christmas, the couple hopes to take their van to Spain to enjoy some winter sun, and they're also planning a six-month trip through Europe too.

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