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Van life is all the hype.
By the middle of 2022, there were reportedly over three million VanLifers living in the US. Most people agree that living out of a camper van would be adventurous. They can’t imagine how it would fit into their own lives.
But there’s so much more than meets the eye. If you’re considering turning this fantasy into a reality, you’ll need a plan.
Van life for beginners is not as daunting as it seems. From finding your dream camper to the best spots for setting up, here’s everything you need to know.
Understanding the Basics of Van Life
Living in a van can be an exciting and freeing, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t for everyone. With some basic preparations and the right attitude, living the van life can help you discover some amazing places. Surprise yourself with experiences that you wouldn’t have encountered otherwise.
If you plan to work during your journey, plan out how you’ll find income along the way. Following these steps will help get you off the ground and make your van life journey memorable.
Advantages of Van Life Over Traditional Living
One of the main advantages of van life over traditional living is cost-effectiveness. Van dwelling eliminates most, if not all, of your rent, utilities, and other relevant costs associated with a traditional home. It also helps cut down on any dietary costs associated with eating out and gives you flexibility regarding groceries.
Van living also requires less maintenance than a regular home. Many van dwellers can go months without any maintenance or upkeep headaches.
Van life offers freedom and mobility that traditional homes can’t. It allows you to explore new locations and experiences without packing up and moving your entire home.
Finding the Right Vehicle for You
Many options are available such as a sprinter van, a cargo van, a school bus, or even a camper van. Most beginners start off with a cargo van, as it’s more affordable and easier to customize to their individual needs. It’s important to also consider the climate you will spend time in, as some vehicles are better suited for specific climates.
You want to ensure you’re comfortable in the van and have enough room to move around. You can find more here some information on purchasing a vehicle for your needs. After deciding on the type of van, you need to make sure it has the appropriate features, like a heater, air conditioning, and plumbing.
Having an auxiliary battery will help you manage the energy needs of your kitchen, TV, and phone. Following these steps can provide beginners with a much easier transition into van life.
Outfitting Your Van for Comfort
You will want to find a van you can stand up and move around in, as this will make the living space feel much bigger. You’ll need to insulate, measure and make templates, as insulation can be bulky and tricky. After you insulate, add flooring, walls, cabinetry, kitchen appliances, and any other amenities you would want in a home.
Focus on comfort and creating a cozy atmosphere with plenty of storage. You must choose a camping stove and add a freshwater system with a shower or sink.
Calculate Costs and Set a Budget
This can be a crucial first step depending on what you want to buy and how much you plan to travel. The estimated cost of purchasing a van, converting it, and maintaining it should be considered. The cost of things like insurance and fuel should be factored in.
Beyond these costs, a budget should also be set for important maintenance, emergency repairs, and other expenses related to the conversion process or the lifestyle. Establishing a budget will make you realistic about what is financially feasible and avoid any costly surprises.
Essential Supplies to Pack
When deciding what supplies to pack, remember that the smaller the space, the fewer supplies you need. Essentials for van life include a way to store food, sleeping supplies, cooking supplies, a first aid kit, and toiletries. A comprehensive list of everything you need should include clothes, shoes, chargers, a pillow, a collapsible table and chairs, a cooler or ice box, a phone and laptop, a vacuum, cleaning supplies, and a portable toilet.
Knowing your power and potable water sources is also important. Other useful items include a universal inverter, a flashlight and extra batteries, a lamp, a generator, a clothesline and pegs, and a sunshade. Don’t forget your adventure spirit—this is the fuel that will propel and sustain the excitement of your journey!
Navigating Campground Regulations
Van Life for beginners can be an adventure, but it’s important to remember that you still have to abide by specific campground regulations. Some tips for navigating campground regulations include knowing the length and width of your van, familiarizing yourself with the types of allowable camping, and listening to other campers or staff on local rules. Also, look into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which controls camping and recreational waterway use.
Research special use permits that may be required when camping on public land and follow “leave no trace” policies. Be sure to check with campground staff on local fire regulations and follow their lead. Doing these things will help ensure you remain compliant no matter where your van adventure takes you.
A Guide to Deciding Where to Go and What to Do
A good place to start is by deciding where you want to go and what you want to do. Once you’ve decided, you can start researching the details, such as campgrounds, national parks, and RV parks along your route. Book campgrounds in advance and take advantage of free parking when possible.
Be sure to plan for sightseeing, outdoor activities, or special events as you figure out what experiences you want. With the right planning and preparation, you’ll have the knowledge and resources to have a memorable and successful van life journey.
Considering Van Life
Van life is an exhilarating and life-altering experience. The start can appear daunting, but with a wealth of guidance and advice available, it doesn’t have to be. Get informed and equipped, decide on a destination, and jump in.
There’s never been a better time to start living the van life! So, if you want to explore the world differently, begin your van life adventure today! In the meantime, feel free to browse the rest of our site. You never know when you’ll find something interesting.