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3 Ways to Avoid Van Life Burnout

Van life isn’t always sunshine and adventures. Here are 3 ways to avoid van life burnout and keep you on the road.

Nissan van parked in a desert
Photo by Jamie Leo

The van lifestyle is unlike any other! There are so many elements to it. The best part is that you’re constantly traveling, meeting new people, and immersing yourself in some of the most stunning places in the world.

On the other hand, van life can be a lot of work. You’re looking for places to sleep every night, finding water, actively remembering to keep yourself clean, and staying on top of dumping/cleaning your tanks. There is a lot of risk and reward in this lifestyle, and it can definitely start to wear down on some people if they aren’t careful about their physical and mental well-being. If you aren’t careful, you might start to experience van life burnout!

3 Tips for Avoiding Van Life Burnout

Here are 3 ways that you can avoid van life burnout and keep enjoying the nomadic lifestyle.

1. Stop and smell the roses

Slow down! Living on the road means that you have anywhere and everywhere to go. The world is yours to explore and there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from driving a few hours to that new destination you’ve always dreamt of.

However, it’s easy to get caught up in constantly traveling and not realize how much of a toll it can take on you. Traveling means less time to do everyday tasks like working and cleaning. You might feel rushed to get things done in a specific timeframe. This can ultimately lead to a lot of stress and can make the van lifestyle not sustainable.

One of the best lessons that a vanlifer can learn is that there is no rush! You’re not on a limited two-week vacation; your life is a vacation! Take it slow and enjoy every place that you’re in. Don’t stay anywhere for only a day or two (unless you’re just passing through) – get to know the new place! Park at a campsite for a few days and use that time to catch up on tasks and work, then use your extra time to explore.

You have all of the time in the world, so don’t be afraid to use it. 

2. Create a schedule

With so much to do and so much to see, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed with everything and start falling behind on tasks. If you’re working while living in your van, you likely have a pretty flexible schedule. This can be a blessing and a curse! It’s all fun until you get so caught up in adventuring that you find yourself struggling to keep up with your work – if not your work, then maybe your chores and tasks.

Setting a schedule can help you stay on top of everything that you need to do. One method is time blocking. Time blocking is a time management method that asks you to divide your day into blocks of time. For example, you can block out time for:

  • Work
  • Errands
  • Exercising
  • Exploring
  • Relaxing

This method can help you be more aware of how much time you are spending on each activity so that you can better identify where all of your time and energy is going and how you can balance it all better. By doing this, you can make sure that you are spending enough time on necessities and not getting carried away with any one thing. 

3. Keep your space clean

You have a much smaller living space when living in a vehicle (this applies to buses and RVs too!). Even a small amount of clutter can make everything feel messy.

A helpful tip is to do your best to make sure that there is a designated spot for everything in your van. This allows you to put everything away and keep your living area clean and organized easily. Otherwise, the items that are left out can make your space feel a lot smaller than it already is, which might become a little frustrating. You also might start to notice that having dirty dishes in the sink or stuff laying all around can slow down your day. Instead of being able to take off on a whim, you have to spend time securing all of your items so nothing is left out or going to break when you start driving.

Keeping your van organized can not only help you feel a little more on top of your daily tasks but can also save you a lot of time and energy that can be spent on more important things! Staying on top of your organization can help you avoid a lot of frustration in the long run and keep your living space nice and calm.

An easy way to add more storage and keep your van organized is through cargo carriers.

This lifestyle is so exciting to be a part of, but it is so easy to become overwhelmed and experience van life burnout – especially for those who are new to it. Slowing down, setting a schedule, and keeping an organized space are all really important ways that you can avoid feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. Your physical and emotional wellbeing is of utmost importance, so I hope these tips can help those of you who might be feeling the early stages of burnout! Keep pushing along and enjoy the ride!

This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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3 thoughts on “3 Ways to Avoid Van Life Burnout”

  1. Lived on sailboat all my life ! Now have a aliner sport and pickup with cap . Seems smaller but oh well . At least no customs and such ! Like your site and article on burnout . Include me in your list .thanks

  2. Ive done it all. From living full time in a major city, and working every day, to heading cross country. If you have a work routine, its easier as your out of the van , join a gym, eat out, go paddling, ride a bike, walk the city and explore. Then go back, and sleep at night 10pm to7am , keep a regular schedule. The routine is relaxing. If on a Cross country trip, Driving becomes your job., I like to drive 100 miles a day, so I can arrive,settle in and explore, even if its a rest stop. That is your new home for one day. Take in the enviornment and people, Walmart, Truck stop. But every day, THAT becomes my destination, Baby steps each days , the journey is the goal. Not getting across the continent and skipping the middle part ! Taking a break from the van, makes it more sustainable, use your imagination on that…..I like to travel alone, as it forces you to reach out to new people for comraderie….ride your own ride a CHP officer told me, when I asked for advice..!!!cool guy..

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