The hype around the trend of buying or converting a van into a tiny house on wheels is getting quite popular. Social media is filled with inspirational pictures, posts, and blogs that inspire you to such a great extent that all you want is to give up your city life for living on the road. Van living is more of an epitome of carefree living with no strings attached.
What’s the Hype About?
However, all the glittery and glamor world of social media is not true to the core. The prepping of the van is the hardest step in transitioning from living in a home to living in a van – and it is just the beginning. This transition does not require physical changes only, such as going off the grid. You have to have a mindset of adventure, thrill, and overcoming obstacles in every circumstance that the road life throws at you.
If you have been on the edge of making this transition in your life, then this guide might be the central point in making the final decision.
Tips for Thriving Van Living
1. Choosing the Right Vehicle
Like how you have to go through a lot of contemplation when deciding to go off-grid, such as choosing appropriate states or looking for the best off-grid living tips, deciding on a vehicle for van living is essential. There are many things to consider, such as choosing between buying a new van or a used one, the type of the car, and investing in a professional conversion of the van by yourself.
Even though there is no correct answer to these questions, your choices are entirely subjected to your circumstances. However, consider the following points before making a decision.
If you decide to live in an area that experiences occasional seasonal changes, consider getting an AWD or a 4WD. On the other hand, a 2WD will also work for you if you plan on traveling to warm areas like Mexico. Again, depending on the area that you plan to travel to, a high-top van is more likely to hit trees and create problems for you. Also, low-top vans are easier to park in most free parking spaces available.
Although sprinter vans run fast, they mostly start getting many issues with time. Getting a Ram ProMaster van is a better choice.
Always have windows installed if they are not already installed. Windows help make the van feel less claustrophobic.
2. Necessary Items
One of the necessary items you need your van to equip with is a bed or a couch – a place to sleep. You have plenty of options, from foldout beds to stationary ones. Personal preferences can vary; however, it is best to choose a stationary bed. Van life requires a lot of work daily, such as refueling and maintaining. Adding a task of folding the bed and making it into a couch can be avoided to complete the daily routine easier.
Remember to have a fan installed in the van. It often gets suffocated in the van, and a fan helps circulate the air inside.
Full-time van living is quite impossible to survive without a fridge. Therefore, have one hooked in your van.
It is essential to get a stovetop for cooking. Removable stovetops are also available for vans; however, the best thing is to lighten your burden of daily chores and not increase them.
Deep-cycle batteries are another must-have item if you plan to travel long distances in your van. Two of such batteries can last you long enough while running the amenities mentioned above on them during long distances.
3. Tips for Life on the Go
Of the most helpful tips that make living-in-a-van easier is keeping things to a minimum. Packing a whole load of your belongings in the van will only clutter it to the extent that you would not be carefree.
One set of silverware, a cup, and a plate per person is enough to last you on long distances. Moreover, pack according to the weather of your travel destination. The cooling or heating systems of the van are not very reliable as they run mostly on batteries or solar power panels.
4. Embracing the Unexpected
When you opt to live on the roads, you also need to face anything and everything. Essential tools are an important part of prepping the van for road life. This set should include a headlamp, duct tape, wire strippers, fuses, electrical extensions, etc.
You also essentially need to prepare and keep an emergency kit in the van. Some states might even charge you a ticket if you do not have an emergency kit.
5. Finding Free Parking Sites
Life on the road is exciting and thrilling. One of the advantages of living in your van is that you can park anywhere in the free space and have the time of your life. Numerous mobile apps are available to help you search nearest free parking spots. You can use those apps to have a hassle-free journey.
24-hour supermarkets and their parking lots are the greatest blessings for us van-dwellers. You can get pretty much everything at a Walmart, from food supplies to tools, batteries, clothes, and utensils.
You can also park at some gas stations for free. However, it is always good to have your gas filled up from them first, in courtesy, and then ask permission to park for the night. In addition, roadside rest stops and truck stops are also options for free parking. Nevertheless, it is best to have a company with you while you park there and use the restrooms.
6. Staying Healthy
It is essential not to overlook your health amidst all the thrill-seeking and road living. Therefore, try to avoid fast foods as much as possible. Have your kitchen set up and prepare your food to prevent an upset stomach or other related issues.
Living outdoors is an excellent mental and physical exercise. Nevertheless, continue your workout routine daily to stay active and on top of your game. You can run, hike, and do pushups, squats, or lunges.
7. Personal Hygiene
There is no worse feeling than going to bed without a relaxing shower after a hot, tiring day. Keeping with personal hygiene is not hard to do in your van if you have a proper shower setup. You can easily find solar shower kits online or in stores. Wet wipes come in very handy during road trips.
Furthermore, you can periodically do your laundry before things get out of hand and you do not have anything clean to wear.
Female hygiene products are other essential items you need to have in store for long distances. Moreover, products such as GoGirl help ease the trouble of finding toilets. Females can use these to pee anywhere while standing. It is a lifesaver on the road.
Road Life is Not All Tough
For people who have never experienced living in a van and traveling all around the country or world, the change seems very intimidating and scary as it is very unpredictable. However, if you have even a tad bit of thrill-seeking in you, you will love living on the road. The key is to be mentally prepared to deal with whatever the road throws at you.
Staying organized and planning your route is another central prep point you should not overlook. Planning the road trip and destinations helps you pack accordingly.