These days, working from home or working for yourself is quickly becoming the norm. Many people are turning away from the typical white-picket-fence lifestyle and instead living a more nomadic lifestyle. On-the-go living has quickly become a popular lifestyle for many, especially millennials. This nomadic lifestyle, also known as Van Life, provides an alternative to the traditional apartment or suburban home living. If you’re considering an alternative lifestyle like Van Life, here’s everything you need to know!
Who Can Live a Van Life?
The answer is pretty simple. Anyone can live a Van Life! It’s a great choice for many because it doesn’t cost as much as an RV or tiny home, and it’s much easier to navigate. Van Life is just one of many in a long list of alternatives to tradition. From wearing silicone rings to eating vegan, more and more of the younger generation are pulling up their roots and turning to something different than the norm. You don’t have to make a lot of money or be part of a specific group in order to live the Van Life. Because of the accessibility, Van Life is immensely popular among many different people. Those who live an active lifestyle, such as rock climbers or hikers, especially like the Van Life because they can access campsites and other locations without having to worry about navigating a large vehicle.
How Expensive Is Van Life?
Realistically speaking, Van Life isn’t as expensive as other lifestyles. This includes mobile lifestyles such as RVs or tiny homes. However, it’s important to note that living the Van Life might not always cost the same each month. Gas prices vary, and not every rest stop offers free bathrooms or showers. Food is another cost that can vary from area to area. Plus, if you don’t pay cash for the van or you have debt from outfitting it to your needs, you’ll have to factor those costs into your monthly cost of living.
However, generally speaking, you can expect to spend on average around $800 to $900 a month on Van Life. If you take into account that the average rent in the U.S. is currently $1,300 (not including utilities!), this is a huge cut in costs. Many adults can afford about $1,000 for all their expenses, especially if they work remotely. Independent contractors or freelancers can also take advantage of tax credits and cuts for living where they work and using their living space as their majority work space. If you’re truly invested in making the adjustment to Van Life, you’ll make the cuts you need.
Another way to afford Van Life is to sell the possessions you will no longer need. Selling your furniture, your home and even your diamond engagement ring are all ways you can access extra funds to finance your Van Life. Investing in small, more practical and multi-functional items are all ways you can still have some of the amenities of modern life without the price tag or clutter.
If selling your diamond ring and ordering an alternative band to replace it, make sure you learn how to measure ring size before you officially press the “order” button. You should also consider where things will get delivered. Setting up a PO box at a post office you tend to visit frequently or having someone nearby that can check it for you from time to time can also be a great way to keep track of items as they come in.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Living the Van Life?
As with anything, there can be some cons of choosing one lifestyle over the other. Some Van Lifers have a hard time adjusting to time on the road. If they’re travelling solo, they have to adjust to not seeing their friends all the time in person. Additionally, searching for campsites that allow free camping, have a water or electricity hookup or even allow vans onsite can make for a difficult adjustment. For couples, sometimes learning how to travel together and giving each other space — especially when space is limited — can also be a huge adjustment. Living the Van Life is a true test of your relationship, but with a little trust and compassion for each other, you can get through it.
What Vans Are Best for Van Life?
A regular old mini-van won’t do the job for your van life, unfortunately. Instead, business vans and retro wagon vans are the best choice for Van Life. Many Van Lifers purchase vintage Volkswagen vans and restore them or outfit them with some more modern amenities. Either way, you should be sure to have storage, sleeping and maybe even bath amenities in your van. Your van design and setup will have a lot to do with your specific plans for your van life. The more remote you plan on going, the more you should have in your van. If you only anticipate hitting areas that have access to lots of community amenities, then you probably don’t need as much in your van.
Other Tips for Van Life
Living the van life is an entirely different experience from camping or owning a tiny home. Because the vehicle is smaller, you can go many more places. But, that means you might be more restricted in what you can access on campsites. Here are a few extra tips for Van Life that you should consider or use when making the transition!
- Name brand isn’t always best. When visiting local grocery stores, you don’t have to buy the brand name. Many generic products work as well and, if you’re trying to keep your Van Life costs down for the month, buying generic is a great way to do so.
- Stock up on your prescriptions. Check with your prescription company to see if you can get 90-day supplies of all your medications. And, when you get about a week or two out from needing a refill, make sure you bring your van near an area that has a pharmacy within the network where you can get your prescriptions refilled.