Van life is a dream for many people. You get to travel, meet new people, and live out of your car or van.
Most people like the idea of living on the road and only have to worry about gas money rather than rent, utilities, or food costs. However, many others would say they love the idea of van life without having done it professionally.
We wanted to show people the difference between what van life is thought to be and the reality of living on the road.
The Difference Between Living in a Vehicle and a Camper Van
Many mislabel their vehicle as a camper van, but they are very different. A camper van is meant for sleeping, cooking, and occasionally keeping belongings in a while on short camping trips. On the other hand, a full-time living vehicle is used for transporting all belongings while traveling from one location to another.
Having a camper van makes it easier to have a more normal life. It won’t be necessary to pack your belongings every few days. You will also keep food in the cupboards and sleep in the exact location for more extended periods. Whereas, living full-time in a van or motorhome means you will be moving around much more frequently and packing up your belongings every few days. You will be on the road for extended periods, so you will not have access to kitchen facilities or bathrooms.
Van Life Versus the Road
Many people think that living in a motorhome or van is like living in a house on the road. However, this is not true since you will have to unpack and pack all your belongings every few days, which will be time-consuming. You won’t leave your home at random times of day and night as you could through a home. You also will not have access to much of anything else in the world from this camper van.
Although you will live in the van, you will not have access to many of the comforts found in homes. You will need to find campgrounds or campgrounds that allow RV’s on-site and go there for showers, rest stops, and meals. Imagine living out of your vehicle for days at a time while traveling because of an emergency? A city is an additional expense. If you live near a city, then that is an additional expense.
You will have to camp in a more remote location if you want to live in your camper van. It means that you must be prepared for harsh weather conditions, including snow, rain, and heatwaves. These are not typical living conditions for many people who think about living on the road.
The Van Life’s Cost of Living on the Road
The highest cost of living on the road is the vehicle itself. The cost of a van for this lifestyle is anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000. Even though you will be traveling around the country and spending lots of money on gasoline each year, your vehicle will need replacing or repairing at some point.
Food costs in the van life lifestyle are often much higher than a normal lifestyle. You will have to find food sources that are available to you where you are camping. That can be a time-consuming task.
Water is a necessity for your van. If there is no area nearby, you will have to set up a water purifier or buy bottled water. You will also have to find clean fuel for the vehicle, which can be costly at some locations.
Travel expenses are often very high in this lifestyle because you may need to travel off-road to maximize your van’s camping location. As a result, you’ll have to pack up the vehicle and spend a few days traveling.
Deciding to Live on the Road As A Van Life Practitioner
Budgeting is an essential aspect of van life. You will have to reconsider what expenses you are willing to pay to live out of your vehicle.
We recommend that you budget $1,000 per month for living expenses. That includes food, gas (which can be expensive), and van repairs and maintenance. You will also have to budget this money because some months could bring in much more than others, meaning that your housing costs may change from month to month.
You may think that you can live on a set budget each month, but if you are driving around a lot and on the move, your expenses may go up. You will also never know how far you will have to travel or what the weather conditions will be like when you camp overnight.
You might want to find a way to budget your money each month. That means having money set aside for several months at a time while you decide whether to stay in your vehicle or not.
You will not live on this type of lifestyle if you live from a fixed or low income. You will also have to consider your expenses even if you are not traveling much.
Frequently Asked Questions About Van Life
Q: Van Life is not as easy as it sounds. What are some challenges that you will face, and how can you solve them?
A: Van life can turn out to be very difficult. You will face many challenges as you are not living the traditional life of being in a home. You will have to overcome these difficulties while you are on the road:
- You will have to project a positive outlook. You cannot think negatively about what you are doing.
- You will have to try new things at first. Otherwise, you may discover that something is not for you at all.
- It can be hard to find areas to stay overnight since they are often out in the woods or deserts away from civilization. So you may face rough camping conditions or no water at all for your vehicle.
- You may have to deal with some hardships and discomfort when you get off the road. For example, you might be in a situation where people assume you are homeless because of your vehicle. So you will need to show them that you are not homeless.
- You will have to make the most of the resources that are available to you. It means ensuring that your vehicle and camping gear are in good working order at all times so that they do not break down prematurely.
These are just some of the challenges you will face if you live in a van or RV or want to live this lifestyle. But if you are willing to put in the time and effort, it will be worth it once you see how nice it is to set your schedule, drive your vehicle, and live life on the road.
Q: What is the lifespan of living in a van?
A: The average lifespan of living in a vehicle is about ten years. That means your vehicle is much older than yours, which means you may want to look at newer models for your road trip. Also, if you need to replace any parts on the vehicle, you will be paying for those parts. There is a strong possibility that you may have to spend a lot of money if you keep the exact vehicle.
Q: How do I prepare for van life?
A: If you decide to be a van life practitioner, it is crucial to know how to prepare for your trip. You can never be sure what challenges you will face when you drive, and your vehicle may not always be in excellent condition. There are several ways to prepare for this type of lifestyle:
The first thing that you need to do is assess your vehicle. You will need to be sure that it is in good working condition before taking off on the road. For example, you will need to make sure that your tires are filled with air and that your oil does not leak.
You should also prepare your charging system. If you have a solar system or an alternator, you will want to be sure that it is fully charged before driving. Otherwise, you may find that you have no electricity when you need it most.
Pack your vehicle to the brim with everything that you might need. For example, you will want to have a lot of water and other food sources before leaving on your journey. That will ensure that you do not become stranded and unable to go more than a few miles without finding something to eat or drink.
These are just some of the things that you should know when preparing to live in a van.
Q: How does a van look inside?
A: The inside of a van is looking more upscale than it used to. That means that you can find modern features in these vehicles, such as flat-screen TVs and solar panels to power things. The most important feature is being able to live out of them comfortably. That means living on the road or pulling over to camp during the night. You will also need to compare vehicles by the amount of space they have for living versus driving.
As for your van’s interior layout, think about your lifestyle as a whole and what’s fun to do. Then choose a design that fits your needs as well as possible without running out of space on long road trips.
Q: What is the difference between traveling and nomadic living?
A: Van life practitioners move around to new locations and cities every few weeks or months. They do it for enjoyment, fun, and excitement. Nomadic people do it regularly because they have to get from one place to another for business or other obligations. If you travel for work, then this lifestyle is perfect for you.
Q: Is this life flexible?
A: Van life is very flexible, but you have to plan out your budget and how many days you will stay in a location. That all depends on what you want from the lifestyle and how much money you want to spend. No matter what, you will have to be flexible enough when the situation changes or an emergency happens. It is not fun to miss out on going somewhere because a road was closed or something broke.
Q: What items do I need to start living in a van?
A: You will need to get your license, insurance, and registration for the vehicle. You also will want to figure out where you want to stay and make sure you have a place that you can park. Best of all, you can continue working at your current job because travel is just at night or weekends. That is a great way to pay for life on the road without the need to buy expensive equipment.
Q: What is the best van for me?
A: The best van out there will be different depending on your family and lifestyle. If you are traveling, then you will want a vehicle that has more space and more storage. A vehicle with this type of space will make it simple to live in one place and travel to others. If you are more of a nomad, you will need a vehicle of the right size to store your stuff. You also will want something that will be easy to maneuver and drive on different types of terrain.
The Chevy Express and Ford Econoline vans are two popular models that people buy to make their Van Life dreams come true.
Q: Is there anything I should be looking for in a vehicle I can take on the road?
A: The most important thing is that the van can fit all of your belongings and is large enough to sleep in comfortably. It should also be large enough for you to move around without feeling cramped. You also want the vehicle to have enough power to handle different terrain types, whether on the road or through streams. It should also be easy to work on and put together.
Van life is not for everyone. If you are eager to start a new life, try dwelling in a camper van instead. It’s a flexible and sustainable lifestyle that can fit your schedule. There will be no problem with finances as long as the vehicle you drive is paid off. You also will not have to worry about packing up your belongings because you can leave at any time.
For people who want to live on the water and travel, boat life is a great option. If you live on a boat, you don’t have to worry about anything. You’re able to save tons of money since you don’t have to buy fuel or pay rent! Furthermore, you’re also saving the environment by living on a boat since vehicles pollute our air and land.
On the other hand, residing in a camper van means that you will have to be prepared for an emergency when you feel like traveling and staying away from home for several days or longer than expected.
The Chevy Express and Ford Econoline vans are two popular models that people buy to make their Van Life dreams come true. For those interested in starting a van life, then consider buying an old RV or van from classified ads or craigslist in advance of needing it and storing it until the time comes that you need to use it.