Tips and Tricks to Living in a Van Full-Time

3 min

Are you thinking about making the switch to living in a van full-time?

Maybe you've seen the aesthetically pleasing photos on Instagram, or the cool camper conversion videos on Youtube, or its a life-long dream of yours.

If you're planning to live the traveling life, you might have questions or doubts before going in full-time. Don't worry it is understandable to have some questions, after all, the van life is exciting but can be intimidating.

I mean living in a van full-time? For unknowledgeable and beginners it may seem a little off and scary. A lot of misconceptions surround living in a van full-time, and we are going to explain those below.

With that being said in this article we are going to prepare you to live a camper van life that is fun, enjoyable, with fewer worries and problems. Five common questions come with going full-time with van life, including:

  1. How do I pick a van that meets my needs?
  2. How do I prepare for living in a van full-time?
  3. Can I stay healthy while on the road?
  4. How do I get clean in the van?
  5. How do I get used to van life?

Let's dive into those!

1. How Do I Pick A Van That Meets My Needs?

This remains one of the top questions regarding van life, and for good reason. Going from a traditional living environment to a van can be intimidating but with the right prep, it can be easier than you think.

One of the best things you can do to fully maximize the potential of living your nomad van life is by choosing the right van. With so many options online it can be a little overwhelming what to choose.

With that said, you should prioritize your needs, there are some few essential things you need to know and understand:

4WD or 2WD?

4WD Van's are specifically suitable for off-road mountain trips. 4WD is also highly recommended if you live in a country or area that has seasonal changes. However, if you live in a warm country or plan to travel during the summer season 2WD Van's will do just fine.

High top or a low top? 

A high top is preferable for those that desire more room. However, it also has its downsides. The higher your van top, the more likely it is to hit trees and street cables due to the height. This can also make it more difficult to find suitable parking.

A low top van is better for long-distance travel, however, the choice is up to you.

Old van or new van?

If you have the budget, it's much easier to purchase a new van rather than a second-hand van. Older vans have a higher probability of having mechanical issues, which can be frustrating to fix.

A van with windows or no windows?

This is merely a personal choice. If you like having sun exposure, or if you're claustrophobic, it is much better to have windows.

There are a variety of things to keep in mind that you can find in our journal entry: 15 Of The Best Vans To Live In And Why.

2. How Do I Prepare For Living In A Van Full-Time?

Before hitting the road, it's important to make sure you are prepared. This will eliminate stress, and increase the happiness of your time on the road.

There are a few things to go over before leaving. These include:

  • Install the right appliances. These can include kitchen fixtures, lights, electrical, water heater, Wi-fi, and more.
  • Be minimalistic as possible and only bring necessities. Keep it to a minimum, your gadgets for communication, foods, water, clothing, hygiene lists, etc.
  • Research the type of climate and weather you're going to experience. Different climatic conditions have different levels of approaches when it comes to clothing.
  • Remember to bring along a toolbox and a first-aid kit just in case. We also suggest bringing a fire extinguisher just in case a fire breaks out inside or outside of the van.
  • Pack the essentials. These can include flashlights, duct tape, electrical connectors, wire strippers, tool kits, and more.

3. How Can I Stay Healthy While Living in a Van Full-Time?

One of the most important places in your van is the kitchen because that is where your meal will be cooked. There can be a preconceived idea that living in a van full-time means you have to eat canned foods and fast food every day.

This is entirely untrue! Many expert and experienced campers know the importance of setting up a good kitchen van because that's where your meals would be cooked. Whether this is inside your van or an attachment outside, you can prepare your meals instead of eating out.

If you are traveling near a city, hitting up weekend farmers’ markets can be the best way to stay healthy while on the road. Stock up on produce, and keep pantry staples accessible at all times.

4. How Do I Stay Clean While Living in a Van Full-Time?

One of the most frequently asked questions on the internet is how can you possibly stay clean while living in a van full-time. This varies from situation to situation, depending on your van.

If your van includes a shower, you're easily set. If it does not, you can plan stops at campsites that have showers.

You can also upgrade your bathroom if you want to fully maximize your hygiene necessities. It is also important to stack up some basic hygiene kits such as wipes, soap, cleanser, etc.

If you're traveling somewhere like the Pacific Northwest, you can also hit up natural hot springs every so often.

5. How Do I Get Used to Van Life?

We get it, van life can be hard especially if you're a beginner. While it seems enticing and is often romanticized on social media, there are some downsides. Many people have different experiences with living in a van full-time, but some different practices help you get situated.

Tips for getting situated:

  • Trust the process. It may take longer for you to get used to your van as your home but accepting it and learning to love the journey is an important step. Try to be as open to the idea of living in a van and don't repress any negative feelings you might feel while living in the van. As they say, "let yourself feel the feels."
  • Create a Routine. If you feel living in life feels purposeless it might be because you've been traveling the roads for a long time. It is best if your try to set up a routine, waking up at a certain time, going outside working out, and cooking your meals. If you have a freelance job and you can work anywhere you can also do the job inside the van.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself. Write down your goals in a journal, meditate on them, and go after them!

Last but not least take a deep breath, relax, and smile. Enjoy the moment of living in a van full-time because it probably won't stay forever.

You're one of the very few people that chose this wonderful mode of living and surely will continue to experience growth and new experiences while traveling the roads.

Live in the moment and know that the essence of living the van life is to purposely know and see the beauty of the world.

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