The lure of van life is growing exponentially, allowing one the opportunity to travel and sleep in the same vehicle. It can also be a more affordable and feasible way to travel and live for some, given the rising costs of housing. But is van life a good idea, or is it something often glamorized by van life influencers?
Van life can be a very rewarding and good experience for those who enjoy a minimalist, off-the-grid lifestyle and have the travel bug. As with any kind of living situation, there are some great advantages to van life as well as some disadvantages.
Ensuring you feel safe and taking proper safety precautions before hitting the road will go a long way in helping you feel good about living life on the road. Getting prepared for life in a van, whether temporary or long-term, there are things to know to go about it in a stress-free manner so you can enjoy the one-of-a-kind experience.
Pros and Cons of Van Life
Van life is intriguing if you don’t mind staying in a cozy space with the most basic amenities. While many who indulge in van life will make renovations to their vans to make them as comfortable as possible, there’s only so much that can be done. Unlike an RV, vans aren’t equipped with plumbing, so one has to be resourceful and thorough when planning their van trips.
Preparing for living in a van requires lots of forethought and careful planning. It’s important to have a nest egg saved up for food costs, gas, and potential repairs needed on your van. It’s also a good idea to plan out where you’ll drive to and where you’ll be able to safely park to sleep.
Simply packing up and driving away may seem fun and spontaneous initially, but the trip could become stressful quickly.
Is Van Life Popular?
Van life has become a phenomenon of sorts, with more and more people intrigued by stepping out of the confines of regular life to go on the road for a while. Some van lifers also end up making it their permanent living situation, not only because of how much they love it, but because of how much it can save on costs associated with owning or renting a home.
Van life has also become a niche of sorts for Youtubers, vloggers, and influencers. These influencers will document their adventures and post them online to share with the world, and the content has been positively received. As such, the desire to enjoy van life has grown out of the sheer amount of online content based on it.
What Are Some Benefits Of Living Van Life?
Van life offers a way to travel throughout one’s country and/or the surrounding area, depending on location, while avoiding the costs of plane tickets, rental cars, and hotels. Staying in a van can also allow one to reconnect with nature and enjoy a more slow-paced, free lifestyle.
There are ways to make money while you’re on the road as well. More and more jobs are offering remote working options, and there are plenty of spots where you’ll be able to get internet while having a meal or some coffee so you can work. That said, not everyone wants to work while living in a van, but it’s at least an option to consider.
Stripping down what you have to the bare bones is one of the huge draws for some into van life. Van life can lead to opportunities for self discovery, learning to be self sufficient, and learning to live with less.
What Are Some Drawbacks Of Living Van Life?
While van life seems like a care-free way to live, it isn’t for everyone. It’s also not as care-free as it seems, as you’ll have to do some semblance of planning. Staying in a van can also be unsavory during inclement weather, and it can get uncomfortable if you don’t have a way to keep yourself warm or cool depending on the season.
Finding bathrooms and places to shower is often one of the most frustrating aspects of van life. It’s possible to find vans with portable shower setups, but finding a safe and secluded place to shower can be a challenge. As mentioned, without foresight into where you can shower and use the bathroom on the road, it can be stressful trying to find a place in a pinch.
As much as living in a van can cut down on many daily expenses, it still costs money to live and travel this way. The rising costs of gas can also add to the general expense associated with living in a van. That all said, living anywhere comes with a lot of expenses, so it’s a trade off of sorts.
How To Live Van Life Safely
There are some supplies you should have to ensure you’re prepared for various situations. Some of these include a stocked first aid kit, plenty of batteries, and some basic tools like a Swiss army knife, some wrenches, and sockets. It’s also good to have a regular paper map in case you get lost and your technology fails.
Finding safe places to park and ample ways to keep your van secure is highly recommended, as well as having something to protect yourself with should you need it. You should also be sure you’re parking legally, so you don’t get a ticket or get in trouble.
It’s also recommended you have people that you check in with on a regular basis, letting them know where you are and advising them you’re safe.
So is van life a good idea? For some, it can be an experience of a lifetime, and for others, it doesn’t sound interesting at all. It makes for a great way to travel and enjoy life on your own terms. That said, there are things to prepare for when it comes to enjoying van life, especially doing so safely.
Should you desire a way to explore your country in a fascinating unique way, van life could be a good idea for you.