Looking for a unique trip? Today we share the pros and cons of living in a van whilst you travel, including some van life tips.
Are you considering packing it all up and living on the road? This kind of lifestyle may sound very enticing to young people especially. Not spending money on rent, living simple, and meeting people from all over the place – it’s a dream, right? Well, before you make a life-changing decision you should know all the pros and cons which come with this way of alternative living. Read on to find out more.
Van Life - Pros and Cons
Pro: You’re not bound to only one place
One of the most appealing aspects of van living is the freedom to wander all across the country. Some people even cross international borders in their vans, going to Mexico, Canada, and all the way to South and Central America.
Shipping a car to another country may be done for as little as $1,000 to $2,000, so if your budget is larger Europe is not out of the question either. Therefore, if traveling is one of your passions, van life should definitely be something to look into. Regardless, find out more about is van life worth it by clicking on the link.
Pro: You can save money
When you’re living out of a van, your expenses are at their most basic. There’s no mortgage or rent to pay, and there aren’t any utility bills to pay either. Fuel for your van and food will be your primary expenses. It’s a great way to save money on housing and travel which is why van living is ideal for individuals on a tight budget!
Many young people who want to pay off their student loans quickly are deciding on van life just for this reason! You can stay at one location for a couple of days to save money on gas. You can also cook for yourself above a fire, which will save you a lot of money on food too.
Con: Limited privacy
A van is not a house, no matter how much you try to make it that way. Therefore, you can’t really sleep in your undies or without them or enjoy the simple joys of life such as dancing around your kitchen while blasting music.
The reality of the situation is that most of the time you’ll be spending your time in public places. Even if you park in a private lot, you run the risk of being seen by the general public, which may be quite inconvenient. If privacy is a dealbreaker, van life maybe isn’t for you.
Con: Hygiene can be tough
It’s unfortunate that a smaller living area doesn’t automatically imply less upkeep. The sink, the floors, and your trash can will all fill up more quickly since they’re so small. Plus, in order to dispose of waste, you’ll have to sometimes spend a lot of time searching for garbage bins.
On social media, van life may look carefree and opulent, but it really requires a lot of work to keep everything, including yourself, clean. You can use the gyms to shower or if you have an RV you may even be one of the lucky ones who have a built-in shower. Campground facilities that can often cost more money than they’re worth are another option. If you’re more adventurous, you may use natural water sources to bathe, but be careful to use eco-friendly soaps and shampoos.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the average single-family home in 2019 had a floor area of 2,301 square feet. The usual size of a medium-sized camper van, such as a Ford Transit or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, is roughly 60 square feet in interior space.
Better mental health has long been linked to a more toned-down lifestyle. Certain study results show that adopting a minimalist lifestyle affords a multitude of well-being benefits. From greater autonomy and competence to mindfulness and general happiness, minimalism has a lot to offer. In contrast, materialism has been shown to be associated with feelings of loneliness. So, if you feel like consumerism and constant focus on material goods is making it harder to focus on more important things in life, van life could provide you with what you so desperately need.
Pro: You can meet a lot of interesting people
Like staying in a hostel, living in a camper van may be a great way to meet new people. Campgrounds and tourist destinations are great places to meet other travelers. Because so many young people are starting to live out of their vehicles, there are a lot of ways to connect with new people. You can find van life groups on Facebook and other social media.
Con: It’s still stigmatized
The historical stigma that is still associated with living in a van has to be one of the biggest cons of van life. For younger travelers, living in a van is seen as a symbol of freedom and a more authentic way of life. However, this does not imply that everyone shares this viewpoint. It’s a frequent saying that “living in a van down by the river” refers to a person’s failure in life.
When you live in a van, you have to accept that not everyone understands your lifestyle choice. Some people will believe that you are impoverished or have no other choice because of your appearance or circumstances. They have no idea that this isn’t really true. However, there is still a stigma attached to it, and you’ll sadly have to deal with it at some point.
What to pack
- No matter where we travel to, I always take these trusty hand sanitizer’s and a mini first aid kit.
- We love these toiletry bags (especially great for smaller bathrooms) and choose a laptop bag like this as our hand luggage.
- We keep our devices charged on long travel days with these lightweight battery packs and bring these worldwide travel adaptors on all our trips.
- I still struggle not to overpack so stick to using an expandable suitcase like these, over backpack and always take my trusty luggage scales to avoid being charged at the airport.
- We LOVE this camera for our travel photography.
- For a cheap, easy and compact camera, we use this to vlog and take photographs.
- We use this travel drone (but make sure to check drone laws in your chosen destination first).
- This is our favourite travel Insurance because it covers so many activities and travel situations that could arise on longer trips but also offers year coverage.