One way to travel the country with your family is in a Dodge travel van. Dodge manufactures these vans, but owners then modify and repurpose the vehicle for camping and travel. The process of converting the van into something designed for travel is far simpler than you may think. Following a few easy steps, your van will soon be ready for cross-country travel or just a trip down to the local RV park.
Your Dodge Travel Van
Dodge does not manufacture vans specifically for travel. This means that if you want a Dodge travel van, you either have to convert a van or buy one that has previously been converted from a third party. Buying such a van is easy: find one in the local classifieds, test drive it, look it over, and fork over the cash. However, converting a van into a travel van isn't much more difficult.
Finding the Right Van
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a van to convert to a travel van. You should weigh your options carefully before you purchase a van and begin making modifications.
- Size: A very important factor in choosing a van is size. In your travel van, you will need or want a place to prepare food, a place to sleep, and a place to keep your things. Make sure there is enough room for all of this.
- Ground clearance: If you plan to take your van off-road, you must have a good amount of ground clearance. Vans that are lower to the ground will be problematic when taken off the road, and you may cause potentially expensive repair problems to your van if you do not have adequate clearance.
- Four-wheel drive: Again, if you plan to take your van off-road, it is important to have four-wheel drive. This can get you out of difficult points in your travels. Even if you plan to keep the van on paved roads at all times, having four-wheel drive can help when you run into snow.
Performing the Conversion
- Take out all the parts in the rear of the vehicle. This includes seats, clothing hooks, cup holders, and anything else taking up space in the rear of your van.
- Install kitchen equipment. This is the central part of your conversion. It is important that you make holes in the van for things like drainage, electricity, and gas. If you don't have experience handling these potential dangerous installations, hire a professional conversion van expert in your area.
- Install beds in the back of the van. You can do these bunk style on one side of the van for the purpose of leaving as much storage space as possible on the other side.
- Install storage units and shelves. This will help you keep things organized while you are on the road. The storage should be your last consideration, because places to sleep and eat are less flexible than storage.
Getting on the Road
Once you have performed your conversion, you can go just about anywhere. You can decide to stop off at RV parks or just pull off to the side of the road in places where this is safe and legal. You don't have to spend big bucks on a full-blown RV to get the experience of self-contained travel on the open road. All you need is a Dodge van, a set of tools, and a desire to see the United States with your family.