As any van lifer knows, life on the road is a wonderful incorporation of challenges and joys, views of snow capped mountain ranges met with views of mechanic shop parking lots. Venturing into life out of a vehicle can seem daunting. Thankfully, because of the influx of individuals deciding to pursue alternative lives, there already exists a wealth of information on YouTube.
“Vloggers” as they are called, post a myriad of videos regarding what to expect on the road (more or less), how to build out vans, where to sleep, what to eat, and more.
Some of the individuals running these accounts have been on the road for years, and some are deciphering solutions to challenges as they go. Regardless, each of the following videos are filled with optimistic people, helpful ideas, or positive reminders that are bound to be both informative and joyous.
So, let’s dive in – here’s my list of the 33 best van life vlogs. Enjoy!
1. Vanlife – How It Is To Travel Solo as a Woman in a Van
Channel: Susi Cruz
This is one of my favorite van life vlogs. However, as a solo female van lifer myself, I admit I carry a bias. Regardless, Susi Cruz’s optimistic attitude towards life make this video worthwhile. This vlog is refreshing in the fact that although it focuses on solo female travel, it does not revolve entirely around safety.
Instead, Susi Cruz delves into the countless other experiences and emotional journeys that solo female travel elicits. Susi Cruz openly discusses her challenges and joys in a positive outlook. She talks about her personal experience living in a van, her inspirations, and why she continues to live this lifestyle.
2. Vanlife, A Day in the Life
Channel: Max and Lee
Max and Lee are one of the most well known van life couples on YouTube. There’s little doubt as to why, seeing as their van has taken them through several continents and some of the most breathtaking landscapes in each. This video gives viewers a quick view into a typical day of theirs. One notable aspect of Max and Lee is that they focus on international van life, specifically in Latin America.
This video focuses on a day of theirs spent in Mexico. They speak about what they eat, how they find a place to sleep, and various aspects of a van life to-do list.
3. Vanlife: Morning Routine Living In A Van With a Toddler
Channel: Jinti Fell
What is great about Jinti Fell is the fact that she travels with a toddler, and so her videos break down the stereotype that having kids must equate with giving up dreams of travel. This video highlights how van life looks when a little one is involved, and is an inspirational and encouraging video for current and future parents.
There are so many families that find ways to travel alternatively together. Families who do travel discuss the benefits that their lifestyles have on the development of their children. From understanding various life viewpoints, to developing a greater global awareness, to seeing different landscapes and the importance of conservation, van life can have incredible benefits for children. Therefore, this video highlights the possibility for family travel, and shows how possible it really is.
4. Vlog #1 Q&A – How We Afford Van Life
Channel: Jim and Sab
In this video, Jim and Sab address one of the most common questions all van lifers get: how can you afford this lifestyle? Although every van lifer approaches their finances in various ways, as some work on the road, some save up beforehand and stop whenever they run out, some find odd jobs along the way, and some stay stationary, this video is simply a look into one of these methods.
5. Van Life with Wee Man – Converted Mercedes Sprinter
Channel: Van Talk
For those interested in Mercedes Sprinter conversions, this is one of the most popular videos on YouTube. Jason Acuna, self declared as “Wee Man,” has an impressive build out. His interior has elements of funkiness, yet his all black exterior and interior makes it seem like a megalith of a Sprinter. The Sprinter runs off diesel, with interior appliances reliant on diesel as well as his solar panels.
Jason Acuna also spends part of his video discussing minimalism, and the ways in which excessive physical objects create more complications for humans. He purchased his van on an impulse, flying out to Arkansas on a three day notice, and embarking upon life on the road the moment he landed and bought the van.
6. Self-Converted Off-Grid Sprinter Van with Full Office, Bathroom, and Garage
Channel: Let’s Be Us
This Sprinter van truly does have it all. Not only is the interior absolutely gorgeous, but the functionality of this Sprinter is unbelievable. It is entirely self-sustainable and off grid, with a farmhouse kitchen sink, a propane stove and oven, office space, porta-potty toilet, and shower. They truly incorporate every aspect of a traditional house all into the small space of the van.
The design of the van is quite modern, proving that a high class van home is possible, despite the seeming challenge of a smaller space.
7. Vanlife as a Solo Female Traveler
This video follows the story of a woman names Alex, who lives in her VW Eurovan with her beautiful dog. She discusses her van layout, her decision for choosing this lifestyle, and misconceptions she has encountered since living on the road. She discusses the kindness of strangers she has encountered, and the beauty of humanity when you open yourself up to it.
8. Solo Female Van Life: How I Shower in My Van
Channel: Hobo Ahle
Another popular solo female van life vlogger, Hobo Ahle discusses various topics in her channels, but dives into the nitty gritty of certain logistics that are often time left out of discussions. In this video, she speaks about the logistics of maintaining proper hygiene while living on the road in a creative and funny manner.
There are a lot of creative ways to retain a proper shower routine in a van. No longer do van lifers have to rely on streams, lakes, and gyms (although these are totally viable and fun options). However, with the existence of solar showers and other off grid options, there exist a multitude of ways to stay clean.
9. Tiny House Swap: Van Life vs. Bus Life
Channel: Eamon & Bec
Bus life? Van life? It can be a difficult decision, with ardent supporters on either side. This video follows two couples, a bus life couple and a van life couple, as they swap homes for 24 hours. It is an insightful look into the pros and cons of each of these alternative lifestyles, and provides clarity as to the differences in each decision.
It can be difficult to make a drastic switch from one type of a vehicle to another, especially when that vehicle is both your transportation and home. This couple’s bold decision to switch is a humorous and insightful look into the differences between bus life and van life.
10. Couple Spends 8 Years Living the Vanlife and Backpacking Around the World
Channel: Exploring Alternatives
This video follows a British couple as they take their sense of adventure across the world. Exploring via vanlife and backpacking, they challenge themselves and learn about the world. Here’s the catch: they manage to do it for eight years, on less than $20 per day.
They follow a rotation of six months working with one year of traveling, and apply for working holiday visas to intertwine travel and work. Their blog is NonStop Traveling.
11. VanLife as a Long Term Housing Solution for Solo Female + Epic Camper Van Tour
Channel: Exploring Alternatives
Another Exploring Alternatives video, this one follows Alti, a woman who delved into van life in order to explore an alternative way of life and to save significant money on housing. She organizes a monthly van meet up in Vancouver, and explains her Ford Transit van conversion that she built out as a project with her father.
One important aspect of Alti’s van was that she wanted to prioritize the stealth of her van, so that she could discreetly park in a variety of locations without receiving too much bother. Although there are no windows on the outside of her van, she has a skylight that lets in light. She has a furnace, roof vents and insulation in order to manage the interior temperature. Her van doesn’t have the bathroom and kitchen like some other vans do, but still manages to serve as a comprehensive and cozy home.
12. Van Life Tour: DIY Sprinter Van Conversion with Bathroom
Channel: Sara & Alex James
Sara & Alex James, another popular van life YouTube couple, use this video to highlight the details of their van conversion. They detain their bathroom and kitchen decisions, and delve deeper into their wiring and electrical decisions that give them greater off the grid opportunity and flexibility.
They have a Version hotspot that allows them to work remotely without needing to frequent various coffee shops for free Wi-Fi. They also have a solar system which consists of three 100 watt solar panels to charge their batteries, and an inverter charger in case they do not receive any sun.
13. A REAL Van Life Day of a Solo Female Traveler
Channel: Susi Cruz
Another Susi Cruz video, because her positivity is difficult not to enjoy. A simple video that follows an unfiltered day that she decides to film. This video gives a nice glimpse into the unpredictability of life in a van, yet the simultaneous joy of taking each challenge as it comes and maintaining a joy of life.
She shows viewers how she showers, eats, fills her day, and finds a place to sleep. One of the refreshing aspects of this video is how realistic this is. As a solo female van lifer, I relate to most aspects of this video, having encountered most of these challenges as well. She does not gild or romanticize her experiences, but rather embraces each challenge with an optimistic outlook.
14. Young Vets Avoid Student Debt Going Vanlife in San Francisco
Channel: Kirsten Dirksen
Though posted under Kirsten Dirksen’s account, this video follows the YouTubers @NovelKulture, who explain their decision to move into a van after serving in the Navy and starting college. A unique perspective on van life, with two equally unique individuals.
With an average San Francisco rent hovering around $2,500 a week, living in a van was not only an adventurous option, but an affordable one. They were able to complete their remodels for $300. They acknowledge that 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and they sought to avoid this domino effect of student debt that follows so many, and therefore found an active way to avoid this path.
15. Van Life: How to Stay Warm While Living in a Van During Winter
Channel: Dynamo Ultimo
Handling winter while living in a van is not a simple task. Dynamo Ultimo delves into tricks to help stay warm in the snow. She delves into what tools have helped her van retain heat, how to properly insulate, and what products have been most effective to keep her warm.
16. Female Skier Converts a Van to Withstand Extreme Conditions: Van Life in -5ºF (-20ºC)
Channel: Nate Murphy
Another winter van life video, Nate Murphy interviews his friend, Carly, as she lives through a winter in the Alps in her van. Carly gives tips on how she keeps her van warm, her favorite parts about van life, the biggest challenges she faces, and why she chose this lifestyle.
So often, social media only shows the summer version of van life. Yet for year round van-lifers, this is not always the reality. Living in a van through harsh winter conditions can be beautiful, but requires extra effort and attention in order to ensure safety and comfort.
17. Things you NEED to know about Van Life in Central America
Channel: Trent and Allie
In this video, Trent and Allie outline advice after traveling throughout Central America in their van. This down to earth video explains some of the challenges they encountered, and how they were able to manage them. It also goes into different conceptions about vanlife in Central America, and tips on how to go about traveling through the region in a safe and enjoyable manner.
They delve into how to manage finding drinking water in a place without potable tap water, shopping at different places, and finding fresh produce. They also share their realization that driving through Central America is incredibly common, and every day they meet other over landers who are embarking on the same adventure of driving through Central America.
18. Vanlife Goals: Hannah’s Dialed MTB Van Tour
Channel: The Singletrack Sampler
This vlog follows @HannahandVannah, a YouTuber who takes the time to give a tour of her converted van. She has a 2015 Ram Promaster, outfitted with a Colorado Camper Van pop top, as well as a MyTourig interior.
She has huge amounts of storage, laminated floors, and a pop top that provides added space as well as extra natural lighting. This space allows for a greater amount of people to sleep in Hannah’s van. She has an extra battery that is charged primarily by her solar panel, and while she is driving as a secondary charging method.
19. Van Life SUCKS!!!
Channel: The Nomadic Movement
Fair warning: if sarcasm isn’t your thing, then steer clear of this video. But if you also appreciate a sarcastic sense of humor, then this is a fun watch on what makes nomadic living “so awful.” Filmed in southern Utah, this humorous short video gives insight into what makes van life so beautiful. Oh wait, I mean insight into what makes van life so awful, of course.
20. 72 year old Solo Female Van Lifer – Van Tour in 4K
Channel: Trent and Allie
This video follows Ruth, a 72 year old woman living alone in her beautiful van. She discusses her van build out, her decision to pursue the lifestyle, and what she loves about it. Her amazing sense of humor and witty comments make this video even more enjoyable to watch.
Videos that challenge social norms are, in my opinion, the best videos on YouTube. Ruth’s video breaks down the notion that as we age, we must grow more and more settled. Ruth has only become more nomadic with age, an inspiration for many and a reminder that adventuring never needs to cease.
21. Van Life – How to Find Free Parking
Channel: Susi Cruz
One of the most difficult aspects of van life is finding places to sleep at night that are both free and will avoid a light night police knock on the window. In this video, Susi Cruz goes into depth about different tricks she has discovered to help her find various locations to sleep for free.
Free camping allows van lifers to cut down on costs, but also, free camping brings people to some of the most beautiful and off beaten places to stay. Free campsites usually avoid crowds, making them more suitable for remote experiences.
22. Vlog #1 – In Search of a Toothbrush
Channel: Kit Whistler
Kit Whistler is part of the Idle Theory Bus, a well known and well loved yellow VW bus that has made its presence on Instagram. Her YouTube video discusses her love of nomadic living, her alternative mindset, and the joy in living a simple life. She proves that living simply and living meaningfully can be intertwined, and that examining one’s life is essential to pursuing it with passion.
23. Welcome to our Humble Abode (Van Tour)
Channel: Novel Kulture
In this video, the account Novel Kulture delves into more detail on their van build out, and what works and doesn’t work for them. Everything within their van was handcrafted, and as a result, it is one of the most unique vans on the web. For them, their battery isolator was a good option for fueling their house battery.
24. She Lives & Travels In A 1990 Camper Van With Her Two Young Daughters
Channel: Tiny Home Tours
This video interviews Tiffany of @TinyTimeTravelers.com, who defies all social norms and bravely leapt into van life with two daughters. Her story is inspirational, amazing, and optimistic. Tiffany’s story and van tour is truly worth watching. It helps to break down social norms of what parenthood should look like, as she redefines what the best life for her daughters should look like.
25. My 1st Video – “I am a Homeless”
Channel: Digital Homeless Yohei
This charming video done by the account Digital Homeless Yohei follows his experience of van life in Japan. The wonderful aspect of this video is that van life is Asia is rarely discussed or filmed. Japanese culture can propose a challenge to the concept of alternative lifestyle, but Yohei is helping to break down these barriers and shift the cultural outlook on van life.
26. How I Became a Minimalist
Channel: Vacay Vans
I had the opportunity to meet Lisa of Vacay Vans during the Colorado Vanlife Gathering in 2018, and can attest to the fact that she is just as bubbly and thoughtful in real life as she appears in her social media and YouTube accounts. This video of hers is one of my favorites, because it is a unique topic to vlog about, yet so pertinent and necessary to pursuing a life of travel.
Lisa breaks down the psychological reasons why we as humans have the tendency to acquire more than we need, and artfully crafts responses to each of these natural tendencies that ultimately do more harm than good.
27. Young Family Quit the Rat Race to Live in a Sprinter & Travel the World! Van Tour
Channel: Indie Projects
In this video, Indie Projects follows @undercoverhippybus.com, a family who, as the title of the video suggests, hit the road to discover a different lifestyle than the draining one they were living.
They realized more and more that they did not fit in with the lifestyle they were living, and therefore made the bold decision to change. They live with their two daughters in their Mercedes Sprinter van, and have been living in it full time for the last eight months. They are able to sleep four individuals and store all of their things within the space of one van.
28. Van Tour: Off Grid Camper with Unique Bed/Sofa/Balcony in One (2018)
Channel: The Minimalist Plan
This couple used their van to first travel through Norway, and is now embarking on a journey through Europe. They show off their van, and the conversions they did to make it comfortable and suitable for such a journey. Their van is fully off grid and self-sustainable.
They also live with their dog, Lacy, and therefore highlight how to handle European van life with a dog. They manage multiple different climates, especially with the unpredictable Norwegian weather.
29. The Longest Road in the World (3 Years in 1 Video)
Channel: The Kombi Life
An artfully done video, this video follows a man as he travels for 1000 days in his van through Latin America. Beautifully intertwining struggles with humor and simplicity, this is a fun and inspirational video to watch. His three year journey brought him mechanical issues, new friends, breakups, and multiple other adventures.
30. The Eurasian Vanlife Begins! – Travel Vlog 01
Channel: Wildfire Eurasian Vanlife
This video, filmed by the account Wildfire Eurasian Vanlife, delves into this couple’s first official day of vanlife in Norway as they begins their travel through Europe and eventually into Asia. The quirky, silly, lovable couple radiate positivity and happiness, as they begin an adventure that they update weekly through their vlogs.
31. Vanlife as a Queer Woman
YouTuber Lotus Sky gives an honest account into her experience traveling alone as a queer woman. Queer woman are not given the representation they deserve in the vanlife media community, and therefore, Lotus Sky is making huge leaps in diversifying the face of “van life.”
Her van and outlook on life are beautiful, and her authenticity is apparent even through a computer screen. As she says, “if you approach life where everything is a gift, you spent the rest of your life unwrapping presents.” Not a bad way to see the world.
32. Van Life – What We Eat in a Day
Channel: Courtney Zinckgraf
One of the most common struggles for new van lifers is determining how to eat while living in a van. Cooking and eating in a van does pose a new challenge. Cooking takes propane, which costs money and requires refills. Cooking also requires water, which can sometimes be difficult to acquire, and dishes create dirty water, which can sometimes be a hassle to sustainably dispose.
Therefore, saying that cooking in a van is an adjustment is not an understatement. This vlog provides a few tricks into managing these obstacles, and shows different healthy recipes that are great for anyone living in a vehicle.
33. Cost of Van Life – Monthly Expenses and Insurance Breakdown
Channel: Trent & Allie
Another concern for anyone considering van life are the costs associated with it. This video breaks down different costs that are involved in the lifestyle. This is incredibly helpful to compare against a more traditional housing situation in order to determine the financial aspect of van life, and whether or not it is a cheaper option compared to others.
While every person has a different financial situation, this video highlights one of those situations, discussing both the financial benefits and difficulties of life on the road.
How Much Does It Cost To Live and Travel in a Bus?
Van Life As a Solo Female Traveler
As a solo female traveler, Katie is passionate about exploring outdoor spaces, involving others in the fight against climate change, and being a student of the world. She has traveled the U.S. in her van in order to film a documentary on solo female travel, and is currently on a mission to travel the world armed with nothing but a backpack and a fierce desire to taste the best local dessert in as many places as possible.
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