La Karavana
The trio created "La Karavana" to merge their love for entrepreneurship, adventure and travelling. (Photo: La Karavana/Website)

Without any experience with DIY or construction, Saskia van Leeuwen converted a double-decker bus into a mobile hostel with her sister and best friend.

The trio successfully created "La Karavana", a thriving hostel business to merge their passions for entrepreneurship, adventure and travelling.

Having never worked alongside her twin sister, van Leeuwen said she "had mixed feelings" about their computability in the workplace and was concerned with how they were "always compared as twin sisters."

"So, starting this mega project during the pandemic with my twin sister, my best friend, and a stranger was a leap in the dark. None of us had experience renovating or starting a business, but we knew we could get it done if we had each other," van Leeuwen said.

While renovating the bus, the co-founder revealed that their "financial situation was becoming a real frustration," with constant outgoing payments to purchase "the fridge, mattresses and new wood to build the interior."

The group also faced building issues, including a leak and a broken window.

"Luckily, there were many more good moments," van Leeuwen said. "We all managed to get our truck driver's license, and I still remember the first time we drove on our bus together without anyone else. It was just a short distance around the neighbourhood, but it was true magic. We were all super excited and proud."

After their project was finished, the co-founder said that "convincing people to join us on the road" was the first step towards building their mobile hostel business, which holds seven guests.

The next steps included:

  • Regulating the price of the trips.
  • Finding activities that guests would enjoy.
  • Building a website and finding a way to get people to trust their ability to organise a fun trip.

Just one year after they had announced the opening of their hostel, all of their trips were "fully booked," van Leeuwen said. "We could hardly believe it. The hard work paid off; people believed in us and were willing to spend their time and money joining us on a road trip."

La Karavana
While building the bus, the group faced building issues, including a leak and a broken window. @lakaravana via Instagram

According to van Leeuwen, the founders are "about to embark on our trip to Iceland this summer."

Considering Iceland's high cost of living, the co-founder recognised how the trip is "not" the best business idea. However, with spontaneity at the forefront of their next adventure, the co-founders planned to put the bus onto a cargo ship to Iceland.

"We're not in it for the money but for the things we experience and can have others experience," van Leeuwen said.

The activities in Iceland, an 11-day trip, include surfing, kayaking, hiking and biking. During the rest of the journey, guests will also travel to Iceland's notorious volcanoes and Europe's biggest glacier to see puffins, waterfalls, and Diamond Beach.

The holiday-goers will also endure a two-day hike, spending a night in a mountain hut between two glaciers.

In addition to most of the activities, three meals each day for ten days, beverages, snacks, bus accommodation, and the mountain hut stay are included in the price.

Altogether, the Iceland trip will cost guests €3295.