The van life trend took off during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues taking off as housing prices keep rising. An estimated 3 million people in the United States of America are living in vans as of 2022 and enjoying the freedom of life on the road. It’s a lifestyle change that opens the doors to a happy, independent, and nomadic existence.
That said, social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have painted a picture of what living in a van looks like on its best days. It might look perfect from the outside, but it’s a different reality when living in a recreational vehicle full-time.
The good news is that you’ve found the perfect guide to discovering the realities of life on the road and if living in a van is the best fit for your dreams and lifestyle. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of van life today!
Pros of Living in a Van
For many years, the idea of living in a van was written off as a sign of failure. Look no further than the Saturday Night Live skit with Chris Farley that became famous for the line, “Living in a van down by the river.” There’s a negative stigma from society associated with van life, but it’s a way of life that offers incredible benefits to those who seize them.
Here’s a closer look at the best aspects of taking steps to buy a van and live in it full-time.
Decrease Your Expenses
Rent and mortgage payments are through the roof in the United States of America, and it’s difficult to live a fun and memorable life when you’re hampered by the thousands of dollars you pay each month for a roof over your head. It’s much cheaper to buy a van and add some amenities to make it comfortable.
You’ll reduce your monthly living expenses since you’ll no longer pay energy bills, rent, and other utilities. Finding a van that offers fuel efficiency will help you save money when you’re moving from one place to the next, and an off-grid camper will help you save money by camping for free amid nature.
Freedom to Travel
Working all year for the privilege of taking a week or two off to do what you want is no way to go through life. Most people can’t afford to walk away from their jobs because they need to continue making money to pay the rent each month. You can cut all of that stress out of your life and gain the freedom to go where you want when you want after you start van life.
You don’t need another form of transportation after you buy a van, and you’ll never spend another dime on expensive Airbnb or hotel stays during your travels. Throw darts at the map and start driving to the next corner of the world that appeals to you.
You’ll always have the comforts of home with you during your travels, and you can count on a comfy bed after a long day of hiking, surfing, or driving. The perfect Class B RV is the perfect home away from home for your life on the road.
Always Being Home
You’ll always have the comforts of home when you’re living in a van since your home follows you everywhere you go. You can bring your favorite belongings with you in the van without needing to worry. Your favorite camping gear and musical instruments will all fit comfortably in your van for memorable nights around the campfire with friends.
You also eliminate the need to pack and unpack your belongings since your recreational vehicle is your home. Homesickness also goes out the window when you spend each night in your dedicated space. The scenery might change, but your home and belongings won’t when you live on the road.
Living a consumerist lifestyle will result in living a caged existence. You become a prisoner of your wants, and the money you spend on materialistic items will keep you from ever escaping the depths of the life you’ve built.
Buying a van and starting a van life is one of the best ways to break away from society and live without unnecessary items. You’ll fall in love with the feeling of having everything you need and nothing more.
Life is much easier when you’re not carrying many extra possessions with you to each destination. It’s also a sure way to lower your stress and anxiety levels when you make lifestyle changes.
You can customize your space when you buy a van to live in. If you’re creative, it’s your chance to draw inspiration from other designs and make your van a true home on the road. Building your van out is part of the fun, especially if you have the tools and skills to create a masterpiece.
Find ways to add different features and amenities that add to your quality of life when living on the road. An outdoor shower with a tankless water heater is an excellent addition if you want to add a bit of comfort to your rig. Solar panels and a charging system are other upgrades you can pursue to keep your devices charged while traveling.
Make New Friends
It’s a matter of time before you cross paths with other people living van life. This is an excellent way to make more friends as you travel, and the freedom of your lifestyle changes allows you to travel with these people and explore new corners of the globe. You can even attend festivals together and build your circle of friends as you travel.
You’ll meet other people living van life when you’re out hiking, enjoying a cold brew at the local cafe, or camping off-grid on BLM land. Many people who live in vans have similar worldviews and outlooks, so it’s an excellent way to make new friends that will last a lifetime.
Cons of Living in a Van
So you’ve heard the amazing aspects of living in a van, but it’s fair to wonder what the other side of the coin is like for van life. It’s nothing you can’t manage, but it’s best to know what to expect if you plan on taking on these massive lifestyle changes.
Here’s a closer look at what you should expect when you buy a van and start living life on the road full-time.
You won’t have much interior space to work with when you decide to live in a van full-time. It’s challenging, especially during periods of inclement weather. The upside is that you have unlimited space to enjoy when you step out of your van.
Keep in mind that the more possessions you bring in your van, the less space you’ll have to stretch out and make yourself comfortable. Buying an awning for your van is an excellent way to create sheltered space outside your van to stretch your legs and catch fresh air without getting soaked.
You also face the risk of experiencing mechanical issues and breakdowns as you travel in your new van. Learning the basics of engine maintenance will help you, but there are some issues that require a professional to resolve. Repairs can get expensive quickly, so it’s best to keep an emergency savings account running to cover any unexpected expenses.
Limited Bathroom Options
Most camper vans lack a traditional bathroom, so you’ll need to adapt your expectations for calls of nature. Some van lifers choose to use a shovel and use nature as their bathroom, while others bring along a composting toilet. The composting toilet is an excellent idea, though it takes up space, costs money, and is a bit disgusting to dispose of the waste.
Your shower situation is easily remedied with an outdoor shower. You can contain the mess to the area outside the van and eliminate tricky and frustrating cleaning situations.
Limited Job Opportunities
Unless you have an online job or you can work remotely, you’ll face limited job opportunities when you’re living in a van. It’s less costly than living in an apartment or a home, but you still need to ensure you have the money to cover your food and gas expenses.
Another viable option to consider for work is handling seasonal jobs. Your van allows you to travel and live for free, so travel to tourist destinations and find seasonal work for the summer to cover the expenses you’ll face over the rest of the year.
Make the Switch to Living in a Van Today
Living in a van seems daunting at first, but it won’t take long for you to love your newly discovered freedom and the joy of waking up in a pristine pine forest each morning. You’ll have less space, but you’ll make some of the most incredible friends and see things you never knew existed. It’s one of the best lifestyle changes to get the most out of each day.
Are you ready to get outside and see more of the world? Check out the rest of our blog posts for more encouraging content like this today!