How to: make money on the road

This is the question I receive more often: how on earth do I manage to make money on the move? Many assume that one must be rich, have rich parents funding the travels, have a sugar daddy or win the lottery to afford such a lifestyle. Well, let me tell you, they couldn’t be more wrong.

Continue reading “How to: make money on the road”

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How to: shower while travelling in a van

So, this is probably one of the most frequently asked question: how can you travel without having your B.O. your announcing your arrival?

Well, let me start by saying one thing: if you are an hygiene freak that showers twice a day using dozens of beauty products, van life might not be for you. Things get dirty fast in a van, especially if you are travelling with your furry companion.

Society, media and ads keeps bombarding us with beauty and hygiene products and I guess we all feel the pressure in keeping squeaky clean all the time. We find normal to take several showers and wash our hair with harsh chemicals every day.

The reality is, our body is pretty damn perfect and it can be self-cleaning if we allow it to. In fact, in the long term the less you shower and wash your hair, the less you will find you will need to do so. We are used in using all kind of harsh soaps, shampoo, conditioners etc. while really, one can keep clean by just using that old plain thing called water. Finding ways to clean our body naturally is a great way to live a healthier, sustainable life, whether you are living in a van or in the comfort of a house.

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Also, the food you eat impacts enormously on how you smell. The saying “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more true. By following a plant based diet, with an abundance of fresh organic fruits and veggies, I find that my body can cope pretty well with a couple of days without showering. I know that this would’t be the case if I was to eat Big Macs, aged cheese and sugary sweets!

This said, I do enjoy having a nice hot shower, smooth untangled hair and smell free armpits so here is how I keep clean.

WHERE TO SHOWER

Finding spots to shower is not that hard especially in warmer months. If you are showering in the wild, remember to ONLY use biodegradable and chemical free body washes. Even better, avoid using soap altogether!

  • Solar showers. This is basically a black bag filled with water. You leave the bag under the sun for 30mn/1h depending on how hot it is, place it as high as possible (a tree will do) and then take a shower. Easy and cheap. Decathlon also sells a decently priced solar shower that doesn’t need to be hung up high, as the water is pressured.
  • Lakes, rivers and and streams. My favorite one. Nothing better than just immersing yourself in the fresh water, it’s free and makes you feel very much alive.

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  • Public swimming pools and saunas. Another great solutions especially in colder months. Yes you do have to pay a couple of pounds/euros but you get to swim, to have a nice shower and if you are lucky a hair dryer. Bingo!
  • Gyms. Some gyms offer day passes. As for the swimming pools, you get the double benefit of moving your body and having a hot shower.
  • Truck drivers showers. I haven’t tried those yet but I guess they are a great solution if you are travelling in a motorway. They cost about 4/5euros and can be found in most service stations. Just remember to wear your flip flops!
  • Camp sites. The most obvious solution I guess, and pretty self explanatory. Again, I haven’t had the need for stopping at a campsite to just take a shower (for now).
  • Couchsurfing. If you are not familiar with this site, it’s basically a place were travelers can meet locals by having a beer going to events together or most commonly staying at their place. I would not hesitate contacting couchsurfers to ask to have a shower at their place especially when staying in urban areas.

 

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WHEN YOU CANNOT SHOWER

There will be days were you won’t be able to do any of the above and that’s totally fine. On those days you can:

  • Use wet wipes/baby wipes. Just wipe the areas of your body that you feel need cleaning. You will feel fresh as a rose I guarantee you.
  • Damp towels. If you are like me, and are trying to reduce your waste, you can simply use a towel dampened with water and soap (but yes, you will then need to find a way to rinse the towel afterwards).
  • A bottle of water and a sponge. Pretty self explanatory i guess!
  • Dry shampoo. Just spray it and rub on your hair scalp. Not the same of washing the hair, but it will fix the hair situation till the next shower. If you don’t have any dry shampoo with you, you can try by just sparkling some cornstarch, baby powder or dry clay (more here).
  • Public toilets. Sometimes, particularly in hot days, you will feel so scruffy that you will want to use a Starbuck’s bathroom sink to splash some fresh water on your face and armpits. Nothing wrong with this, I would do it even if I had a nice hot shower waiting for me at home!

 


  -A ridiculous amount of coffee has been sacrificed to write this blog post so if you are feeling particularly generous, you can buy me one HERE   –

– You can also support Pamthevan’s adventures by visiting my Etsy shop HERE 


Travelling in the EU with your dog

So, you have seen wonderful pictures of people exploring the world with their furry friends and you cannot wait to start your own journey.  You saved up for it, you are happy with your van setup and have a clear idea of where you want to go.

Sorry to be a killjoy but there is still one thing you need to worry about: your dog passport.

The implementation of the EU pet passport has made pet movements easier and diminished the need for quarantine. One of the major reasons why pet movements need to be carefully monitored is rabies.

Technically the UK is a rabies-free country so it’s quite straightforward to travel from the UK to any other EU country. More difficult is to travel from a rabies-controlled country (basically any other EU countries other than Sweden) into the UK. You can find more info on rabies-free, rabies-controlled and high risk countries here.

I am writing this post to give you a rough idea on how travelling with a pet works, but please do check with your vet if your dog is fit to travel and all of the different countries pet travelling policies!

HOW TO GET YOUR PET PASSPORT IN THE UK

The pet passport issuing is quite straightforward in the UK and costs about £70/£100 depending where you are. Your pet has to be older than 3 months to be able to travel.

All you need to do is to call up your vet and ask if they can issue one. If they do, they will ask you to come in with your dog so that they can check the microchip n., owner and dog details, and give your dog the rabies vaccination.

Once the rabies vaccination has been administered, you will need to wait 21 days before being able to leave the country. I was asked to go back and collect Odie’s passport after this 3 week period.

It is vital that you make sure the microchip number is transcribed correctly in the passport and that all the details are up to date (residence address etc.), or you might not cross the border.

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TRAVELLING FROM THE UK TO OTHER EU COUNTRIES

Here is where things can get a bit complicated. Each EU country has it’s own “travelling pets” policies. This means that some countries will require extra vaccinations or papers to be filled in on top of your pet passport.

Before setting off, it is really important that you inform yourself on what are the rules in each country you intend to visit. If your dog does not comply with the requirements he/she might risk quarantine, not cool!

This site has been of incredible help on my travels as it describes in detail each country requirements. I looked at all the countries I wanted to visit and found out which ones where OK for Odie and which ones where off-limits.

For example, I purposefully avoided travelling across Switzerland, as Switzerland requires an extra vaccination against Distemper. I’m not saying that it’s bad to vaccinate your dog against Distemper, just that at the time I thought Odie already had enough vaccines inputted in his body.

I would suggest you checking ALL the countries you intend to visit beforehand to avoid last minute surprises.

Also, not all ferry companies are able to carry pets. Here you can find a comprehensive list of the approved companies.

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TRAVELLING TO THE UK FROM OTHER EU COUNTRIES

As I mentioned above, as the UK is considered a rabies-free country, entering in the UK from another EU country can be a bit more complicated.

The main factor that complicates things is that your dog will need a tapeworm treatment administered to him/her (cats are exempt from this) on top of being up to date with the rabies vaccinations and having a valid passport.  The treatment needs to be  administered minimum 24 h and maximum 120 h before your entry in the UK. This means that you will need to organize the treatment to be carried out at  a vet in the country your are visiting. This can be difficult if you don’t speak the local language!

Once again, organization is key. I would suggest you to email or call vet clinics beforehand and ask whether they provide this service, then call a week or so before your departure to fix an appointment.

The tapeworm treatment costed me about £50 near Metz (France) a couple of years ago. I would budget about £100 pound for it as it varies from vet to vet.

More info on the tapeworm treatment can be found on the gov.uk site.

CROSSING BORDERS WITH YOUR DOG

I must admit, crossing borders can be an extremely stressing moment, especially if you are travelling with your pet. My worst nightmare would be to have the access denied or even worse having Odie put into quarantine because of lack of documents/vaccinations.

I have been lucky enough not to have any issues with Odie. I guess that’s because I thoroughly checked all the requirements before attempting entering another country.

My tips for crossing borders would hence be:

  • make sure that you are LEGAL by checking with the country customs or dedicated sites. Do contact them if you are unsure! Better safe then sorry.
  • double check your pet’s passport and make sure everything is in order. Keep it ready for controls.
  • tire your dog out before the crossing. Customs can be nerve wracking and I’m sure your friend can feel it. The last thing you want is a restless, whiny dog on the back!

Do share any tips you have and experiences on travelling with your pets on your comments below!

USEFUL LINKS

 


  -A ridiculous amount of coffee has been sacrificed to write this blog post so if you are feeling particularly generous, you can buy me one HERE   –

– You can also support Pamthevan’s adventures by visiting my Etsy shop HERE 


 

Pros and Cons of travelling with your dog friend

The main reason why I chose to be travelling by van was that I wanted to have Odie with me. A van seemed the most viable option.

Too many bus, train, plane companies do not accept dogs, not to mention the difficulties you might have to find a suitable accommodation.

Continue reading “Pros and Cons of travelling with your dog friend”

How to get gas in your van – Campingaz 907

Another scary step of your van conversion: installing the gas to use for the kitchen.

It i VERY important to plan thoroughly were and how to install your gas bottle and to be aware all of the necessary safety rules. You really don’t want to mess up with gas!

Continue reading “How to get gas in your van – Campingaz 907”

Building the kitchen structure

I must admit, my woodworking skills are not the greatest.

The kitchen was built in a real rush (less than 4days) and I’m not 100% with the result. I thought I would share some pictures anyway  to show that even without any experience, you can build a half decent kitchen.

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