Van life: how hard can it be? You buy a camper van, fit it out with some gear, and set off into the sunset, right?
Well, as the 140,000 people living in vans across the US will tell you, it’s not quite as simple as that. Although the van life movement has seen a 38 percent increase in recent years, transitioning to life on the road is often anything but smooth.
That said, when done right, living in a van can be a lot of fun. So how can you make sure that your experience is as comfortable and fulfilling as possible? Let’s take a look at some top tips!
1. Make Sure Your Van Is in Great Shape
A $500 vintage VW van might seem like a great deal. But you can’t expect a used camper van that’s seen far better days to run for too much longer.
Not that you have to buy a new camper van either. Just make sure that whatever van you buy is in great mechanical shape. After all, preparing a van for life on the road is time-consuming and can be expensive. You don’t want to do an entire build-out for your van to die on you after a year or two.
2. Test Drive the Lifestyle First
Before you give up your home and hit the road, you’ll need to test drive the lifestyle to make sure it’s for you. Try to get away for weeks or months at a time before you commit. Especially if you plan on living in a van with someone else. Even f you’ve both lived in vans before, this doesn’t mean that you can live in one together.
3. Cook Nutritious Meals
We get that cooking in an RV can be difficult. But that’s no excuse for a diet of junk food and microwave meals.
There are plenty of recipes that don’t much time, space, or equipment to prepare. As well as oats with berries for breakfast, your go-tos should include filling and nutritious dishes such as lentil stew, one-pot pasta, and salmon with rice.
4. Downsize Your Electrics
If you’re expecting to run a microwave, AC, hairdryer, and all the rest of it, your van will need a very expensive solar system. Instead, use fuel instead of electricity for cooking, make sure your fridge is energy-efficient, and always charge your devices at libraries and coffee shops instead of using your battery bank.
5. Take Advantage of Paid Campgrounds
A lot of living in a van means saving money where possible. But the expense of a paid campsite is often worth it if you want to visit a major city. Although you may (eventually) be able to find a place to park for free, it’s rarely worth the time, gas, and effort to do so. What’s more, staying at a campground is a great opportunity to take showers, stock up on fresh water, and use the free Wi-Fi.
Tip for Living the Van Life
As fun as the van life might sound, there’s lots of room for error when you’re embarking on an alternative lifestyle choice like this.
But, with these tips to guide you, it should now be a lot clearer how to make living in a van as comfortable as possible.
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