If you don’t know about #vanlife, you must have been living under a mountain rather than exploring one. This hashtag is just one way people are engaging with an entirely new way of living: one where you live out of your van or RV—instead of in an apartment or house—and travel around.
Are you considering trading in your sedentary “normal” lifestyle for one on the road? Read on to find out more about how to prepare for van life.
1. Shrink Your Stuff
The top tip we can give you in this van life guide is to start minimizing your life. Even if you’re still living in a huge home, you need to slowly start transitioning to a lifestyle of less.
This means sorting through your clothes and shoes, kitchen items, electric appliances, bedding, knick-knacks—everything you’ve collected (read: hoarded) over the years—and picking out only those things you really, really need.
Then, try living with only those things for a few weeks or months and see if you can survive.
2. Shop for a Vehicle
When it comes to living in a van, the kind of vehicle you purchase will make all the difference. First, you need to decide whether to convert a van yourself or buy a ready-to-go camper.
If you’re a passionate DIYer, you can get a van for cheap, gut it, and build it back up in the style you want. This is a good option for those on a low budget because you can buy materials secondhand. They can check at any rv store near me and find out the options available with them.
For older van lifers, those with a large budget, or families with little time on their hands, it might be easy to buy an RV or get a van custom-built to your specifications. In this case, you’ll need to shop around van conversation companies and your local RV dealership.
3. Put a Toolbox Together
Even if you’re not undertaking a van conversion, life on the road necessitates knowing how to fix things on your vehicle in a pinch.
Educate yourself on simple vehicle maintenance like changing tires, checking the oil, and fixing water pump or gas line issues. And start putting together a toolbox full of tools you might need. Be conservative in your choices or look for tools that serve a dual function to reduce the space they take up.
4. Go on a Few Campervan Vacations
You can help yourself learn how to live in a van by going on a few mock van life trips.
Rent or borrow a vehicle—try out a few different styles—and head out for the weekend. Take only the things you envision yourself living with if you were van life-ing it for real.
This way, you can decide what works for you and what doesn’t in terms of van design and work out which belongings you can’t live without.
Van Life: It’s Not for the Fainthearted
Van life preparation requires a substantial investment from people: either with time or money.
You need to decide whether you want to renovate a van yourself or buy a move-in-ready RV, downsize all your worldly possessions, so they fit in a teeny space, and find a way to make money on the road or save up enough to fund your travels.
But if you’re ready to commit to simple living in an RV or van, you’re in for a true adventure.
For more tips and tricks on living alternative lifestyles, read the other articles on our blog.