Lifestyle

A Guide To Van Life For Beginners

Van life isn't for everyone. Here are some of our top tips for those looking to get into this minimalistic lifestyle.

Traveling in a van can be a great lifestyle change, but you need to take many aspects into account. What could go wrong? Where do I park? How will I afford the lifestyle? Where do I flush gray water?

Planning for van life

With passion and the right mentality, you can start van life without any prior experience.

However, if you are going to travel for a long period of time, you have to organize a lot of things first. Especially for people who have always lived a life as they say “normal”, with even several mortgages or debts to be paid. Many people will need to consider questions such as:

What is my current economic situation? What am I gonna do with my car? Any other debts or loans to think about? Any other kind of commitment? How much money do I need to travel full-time?

For all these reasons, it is necessary to plan months before departure. Start saving as much as possible, spending a part of your income to pay off debts and invest the rest into your van conversion.

Van bathrooms

Traveling by van is a great way to visit the country on a budget. But, it’s certainly not for everyone.

One aspect that many people ask about van life is, “Where do you use the restroom?” For this, there are many solutions: you can opt for a portable toilet in your van; you could use public toilets, which are now available nearly everywhere; or just use nature. In the latter case, you will want to leave the place as you find it and take the right precautions to be environmentally friendly.

Even for the shower you have several choices. Many van dwellers use natural pools such as lakes, streams, or beaches. Some campgrounds offer free showers in addition to their restrooms. Some vanlifers have a gym membership so they can use the shower facilities wherever they roam. Alternatively, there are many portable showers on the market.

Cooking in the van

Cooking in the van can be as easy as it is difficult. Easy if you choose fast foods to prepare, more difficult if you decide to cook more extravagant meals. In this case, you need to be equipped with the right kitchen equipment, and all of that takes up valuable space in your van. The choice will be yours.

cooking outside of a van

Sleeping in the van

Clearly, it will be important to set up an adequate rest area to be used when you need it. You can opt for a movable bed that can be stored up out of the way during the day, or a fixed one, maybe with a wooden platform designed for permanent use. Equip yourself with blankets and curtains or DIY window coverings to cover the windows, to get some privacy.

mattress in a van

Keeping things powered in van life

There are several ways you can keep everything powered while living in a van full-time. If you plan on camping off-grid, a solar panel setup is a great choice for generating power. You will also need a battery bank to store power for nights and cloudy days.

To learn more, check out our previous article on What Is The Best Type Of Battery For Van Life?