10 Ways to Improve Your Van Life | How to Begin #vanlife
No one can pinpoint the exact moment that the term "vanlife" entered the popular lexicon. As described in an article published by The New Yorker in 2017: An article defined it as "a one-word life-style signifier that has come to evoke a number of contemporary trends: a renewed interest in the American road trip, a culture of hippie-inflected outdoorsiness, and a life free from the tyranny of the nine-to-five office job." A survey found that 15% of current campers are curious about "vanlife," and the 2020 North American Camping Report backs them up. Intuitively, it makes sense. Quit your job, load up the van, and hit the road! But as any vanlifer can tell you, making the change to a nomadic lifestyle is no easy feat. But if you know what you're doing, it can be entertaining and, yes, very Instagrammable. Here are some professional suggestions for getting started with vanlife, whether you're planning to move into a 2021 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or a classic Ford Falcon older than your parents.
1. Expect nothing.
Expectations run high, what with more than 9 million posts using the hashtag #vanlife. Nonetheless, that's not productive. Blogging at VanDoIt.com, Kaylee Kline says she initially misjudged the frequency of photo opportunities she would have. She spent three years living in a van independently before hitting the road with her husband, and now she knows what she's doing. There will be ups and downs, but it's very different from what I expected. You'll also find plenty of grit and realism. ”
Get something that's in pristine mechanical condition as Step 2.
Most RV owners probably already know this. However, this isn't so obvious to newcomers, and that 0 vintage VW bus advertised on Craigslist may seem like a steal. Christine Wang, a contributor to The Ski Girl and a veteran of three winters spent living in a customized Sprinter van while hitting the slopes, has this to say about the misconceptions of newcomers: "I think some newbies think they can retrofit any old van and expect it to work for years and years." To avoid wasting time and effort on a build-out that ultimately doesn't pan out, it's important to begin with a solid mechanical foundation. ”
3 Reduce the size of your electrical setup
Parked in Paradise is a blog written by Kate Moore and her husband about their life in a 1996 Dodge Ram van as they travel the United States. Their number one piece of advice for newcomers is to plan ahead for charging needs and methods. Moore says, "A lot of new vanlifers think they need huge electric systems to run things like AC, microwaves, and hairdryers, but that can lead to an expensive solar system." She suggests getting a fridge with an energy-efficient freezer, cooking with gas instead of electricity, and using a battery pack to charge electronics instead of lugging it around with you.
You should use campgrounds that charge a fee.
Moore is a frugal person, but she recognizes the value of some expenditures. She argues that if you want to see a major city, the cost is well worth it. It's possible to camp without a campsite, but you'll probably be far from any attractions. Simply put, it's not worth it to waste energy and money searching for a free parking spot. Moore chimes in that camping resorts are excellent places to find potable water, a place to shower, and a place to connect to the internet for free.
As stated by Ketti Wilhelm
5. Try out the good life for a while
Ketti Wilhelm and her husband did their due diligence, hands-on, before deciding to spend 5 months (and a lot of money) converting their 1996 Chevy Express so they could live in it full-time. Travel blogger Wilhelm urges her readers at Tilted Map to "test drive the lifestyle before you give up your house." I don't mean just for the weekend either. They practiced for weeks, then months, before making a final decision. Particularly relevant if you intend to share living arrangements with another person. Join them in giving it a try Even though you both have van living experience, that doesn't mean the two of you should share a van as a permanent residence.
6. Become accustomed to parking (or be prepared to pay)
Most new vanlifers, says Jen Nilsson, wrongly assume they can simply pull over anywhere each night. Nilsson, who left her job to travel full-time after her partner died of cancer, says, "But, you have to do some legwork to find a safe, legal, and comfortable place to park." Together with Lizz, a 21-year Army veteran, she is currently constructing a van. S Navy When they rented a van for a month, they had to get used to driving and parking it. And if camping is more your style, you can always avoid that. We stayed at numerous KOAs." ", Nilsson reflects
Nik Sheasby and the MoonDuo
7. Make hygiene a priority in your daily life.
Moon Duo member and mobile home resident Lindsey Bathke has a daily ritual. She gives their rug a quick shake, and the van has a new, cleaner vibe. Bathke agrees, saying, "With just a little daily sweeping and maintenance, the space can be kept clean." "When things are neatly stored, they are easier to find and the room appears larger and less cluttered. Bathke and her boyfriend Nik don't have to worry about cleaning the bathroom. They don't have a CD player in their 1999 Volkswagen EuroVan. Then they go to campgrounds that have services Her maternal grandfather used to own a KOA, and that's where they stayed recently. According to Bathke, "it was magical to canoe on the lake, feel the energy in the campground store, and shower in the stalls that my family built, complete with old KOA shower curtains."
8: Plan ahead for the future
Lucy Ruthnum, a van dweller of on and off habit for the past six years, notes, "Living in a van is very different to taking shorter trips." There are a plethora of other considerations to make your life easier. The United States is a prime K The founder of Absolutely Lucy, Ruthnum, who is based in, suggests picking a taller van so that you can stand up inside of it and stay dry on rainy days if necessary. It's possible that this won't be a big deal during your weeklong vacation, but it has the potential to become extremely annoying over the course of a longer period of time. ”
Both Katie and Ben Zweber
9. Get ready for the ups and downs
In their blog post "What Instagram Left Out," Katie and Ben Zweber (of the travel blog Two Wandering Soles) advise their readers to "take stock of the world outside your feed." For every stunning location with breathtaking views they come across, they are forced to settle for several less than ideal accommodations. Kate continues, "Then there are the chores like refilling water tanks and flushing the toilet." "Vanlife aspirants would do well to prepare themselves for the ups and downs of nomadic living and to enter this adventure with reasonable expectations." ”
Ten. Put money into a good alarm system.
Vanlifer Jacob Moon (@moonmountainman) uses Simpli Safe to protect his home and his half-a-million Instagram followers. According to the manufacturer, it is the smart home security system of choice for nomadic people. But other safety measures exist as well (such as dogs). The most crucial step is to consider buying one. For those who choose this way of life, a van serves as much more than transportation as it does a place to sleep.
Montana is home to writer and media expert Katie Jackson. Katie has worked and lived all over the world, from New York to Nicaragua. When she isn't exploring the globe (or writing about it), She's very occupied with pursuing a Leonberger named Zeus. You can follow Katie's adventures on Instagram at @katietalkstravel.
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