The best way to travel is by van, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend all your money on gas. Here are some tips on how to live on the road full time without spending too much money.
You know what’s going on with #vanlife. Did you see these amazing photos online. Now you want a quieter life and travel in an RV camping vehicle and join the RV club. If you prepare and have the right mindset, van life is an excellent way to reduce expenses and see the world. Learn from yourself. There’s a lot to consider before you move onto a full time rv life.
What is Van life?
Van-dwelling, also known as motorhome or camper van, is a way of life that involves living in a vehicle full or part-time. The names are compound terms derived from the fact that it is often done in a kind of recreational vehicle, a van modified with basic facilities such as house batteries, solar panels, a sleeping platform, some type of toilet, sink, and storage space.
How to Live On The Road Full Time?
Find A Remote Job You Love.
If you’re looking for a job where you’ll love what you do every day, consider a career in hospitality. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing you have made someone else happy. And there are several work opportunities in the business.
As a van dweller or van lifer, you can also consider remote jobs that can either offer passive income or at least task you can deliver remotely. Being a digital nomad can be really great as you can perform your remote work while being on the road full time.
Here are some ideas of remote jobs for digital nomads you can learn the basic and start freelancing today.
Start Saving Right Now.
You might think that living on the road full time sounds glamorous, but it’s actually very hard work. It takes a lot of planning and preparation to make sure you’re ready when opportunities arise.
The best pro tip I can share with you is to start saving right now, it’s always great to have money saved for your RV living, in fact RV life may be challenging being prepared may save your life or make it easier.
Learn How To Travel Light.
If you want to travel light, then you need to plan out what you will bring with you. This includes packing everything you’ll need for at least three months. Make sure you pack enough clothes for each day of the week so you won’t have to buy anything new. Also, consider bringing an extra lighter, socks, and knives. RV living is tricky, you may for example lost your knife or get your lighter wet in a remote national park.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help.
You should also make sure you have a good support system when traveling. It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re away from home, but having people who care about you nearby can help keep you grounded.
And Don’t Forget To Have Fun!
Traveling can be fun, exciting, and rewarding. However, it can also be stressful and lonely. Make sure you take some time to enjoy yourself while you travel. Experiment with new things, meet new people, and learn about diverse cultures.
How much does it cost to live in an RV full time?
Van life is affordable for everybody. The expense of van living varies depending on whether you want to live inexpensively on the road or not. Expenses are determined by a variety of factors, including where you camp, how much you travel, how frequently you eat out, and what activities you engage in along the route. We know van lifers who make $800 per month and some who make $2,000 or more.
The most expensive aspect of van life will most likely be purchasing and modifying your van. New vans cost between $30,000 and $45,000, while conversions can cost between $10,000 and $20,000 if done yourself, or up to $125,000 for a professional, fully decked out van made by a conversion firm. Remember that these are simply estimates. Everyone’s costs vary based on their budget.
The expense of living on the road depends on whether you regard it as a job or a holiday. Do you eat or cook in your home? Do you pay for campgrounds or camp on BLM land? Do you prioritize free activities or large adventures?
Is living in a van right for you?
This rv lifestyle is not for you if you didn’t like what you read in the preceding paragraph. If you can let go of the status quo and the notion that you have to live within four walls, be static, and have your own space, your home may be anywhere you want it to be, even if it’s a tiny home.
Here are a few starting points:
Step 1: Determine whether the notion is appropriate for your lifestyle.
What personality type are you? Do you enjoy being outside? Do you like to step outside of your comfort zone?
Step 2: Determine how you intend to use your van.
Consider if you’ll use it for weekend getaways, lengthy vacations, or full-time living. It is critical to determine where you want to use it in a national park, RV park or a campground, or in the wilderness. What my partner and I do is that we are on the road, working and traveling for around 8-9 months of the year, therefore we picked our van since we will be in this compact living space for extended periods of time in remote locations. Examine the many types of RVs available in the camping industry and educate yourself before making a purchase decision.
Step 3: Try before you buy.
Your first motorhome will most likely be a test model. There will be many things you need or wish to modify. I propose renting many types of mobile homes to see which one is ideal for you. We did this (not only on vacation, but also throughout the work week), and it was really useful when making a decision. We produced lists of the benefits and drawbacks of each camping choice. This made deciding on a mix of qualities that were essential to us easier.
Step 4: Get a motorhome if you want to attempt living on the road full time.
We had a strong desire to convert a camper van. The concept of designing your own home to meet all of your needs seems quite appealing. However, the truth is:
- If you are working alongside a van conversion, it might take up so much of your time that you would still be doing it a year later.
- When you first start out, you may not know what you want or need, therefore it is a good idea to check out a fabric-built van as your first van before embarking on a lengthy conversion process.
- We even considered stopping work and doing it for a month or two, but this would have cost us far more in the long term.
- You can’t know everything – electrical, woodworking, plumbing, and so on – which makes the construction extremely tough. You’ll need someone to assist you with this, which will increase the conversion cost.
- It has been exceedingly tough to get a nice van since the epidemic began! It is a popular desire! I was mostly looking at thevancamper.com for used choices, as well as the big VW, Citroen, Peugeot, or Fiat dealers for vans returned from lease. However, given the constraints in the tourist industry, everyone is seeking for a travel van right now.
- A van is an extremely small living area, especially in terms of width. When you live and work on the road with your spouse, you need your space. It takes a certain kind of travel compatibility to live full-time in a cramped van, constantly attempting to squeeze past each other in the narrow hallway.
- There isn’t enough room for a large workstation. To be productive and maintain excellent discipline, you must be at ease. It should also be distinct from the bed part, in my opinion. Many conversion vans contain a sitting section that converts to a bed at night. This is an absolute no-no for me. Your mind begins to associate your bed with work or your workplace with sleep.
- Because a taller man cannot fit in the breadth of the van, the bed will most likely take up far too much room, thus you will need to arrange it lengthwise. Fiat Ducato, Citroen Jumper, and Peugeot Boxer are examples of conversion vans that might fit a bed width-wise (all practically the same). They have a more square design than the Mercedes Sprinter, which is thinner and curvier, and it is simpler to build anything inside.
- There isn’t enough room for a huge water tank to hold both clean and greywater. This restricts your camping options, especially in the woods, where you’ll need a lot of water to stay off the grid for a few days.
- It’s either a little bathroom or none at all. If you intend to live in this facility full-time, you will require a bathroom. Otherwise, deciding where to take a shower will just be another item on your to-do list.
- There are some really innovative solutions to the problem of insufficient storage capacity. However, you are more likely to profit from outdoor storage with a fabric-built RV. This is a highly important item, especially if you enjoy extreme sports and wind up with a lot of damp equipment.
- Little kitchen, who wants to cook in such a small space?! Or should I empty the entire cabinet to grab that can of beans at the bottom?
How to Live in a Van?
There are several factors to consider when preparing for life on the road. “What should I do with all my stuff?” and “What gear should I carry with me?” are crucial questions to consider. There is no single correct response to these questions, but here are a few suggestions to help you be ready for van life.
What should you do with all of your stuff?
How you manage reducing your items is determined by your position, the length of time you will be on the road, and your relationship to your belongings.
When deciding whether to sell everything you possess before moving into a van or to rent a storage container, there are a few things you may ask yourself to help you make the decision:
- Do you intend to travel for an extended period of time (more than a year)?
- Do you plan on returning to the same location once you’ve completed your journey?
- Examine every object you own and ask yourself, “Is it valuable?” Sentimental? Historical? Irreplaceable? Why did I decide to retain this for so long? Is this something I definitely require or desire?
Option 1: Put it away.
If you don’t know how long you want to live in a van but know you want to return to the same place after you’re done, renting a storage unit can be a good idea. If you have a lot of precious items and furnishings that you don’t want to part with, renting a storage container is also an option. Storage apartments can range in price from $50 to $200 per month, depending on where you reside and the size of the unit (or more).
Documents, pictures, letters, and portfolios, for example, are vital to preserve secure. If these are the most significant assets, try digitizing them and storing several copies on external hard drives and Google Drive. For crucial papers, jewels, or modest family artifacts, a safe deposit box is an excellent solution. You might alternatively keep these valuables at the home of a trusted friend or family member.
Otherwise, go through each thing piece by piece to determine what may be sold, donated, given to friends, recycled, or discarded. Then repeat the process. If necessary, repeat the process a third time. Invite a buddy who is adept at getting rid of items over and ask for their assistance. If you need to buy a storage unit after going through this procedure several times with a critical eye, select the smallest and least costly one feasible to reduce expense and hassle.
Option 2: Sell your belongings
Selling your belongings is a good option if you expect to move someplace else after your travels, if your belongings don’t have much sentimental value, if they’re replaceable, or if you intend to live in a van full-time eternally. It’s also a terrific opportunity to make some additional money for van living.
After you’ve completed the sifting process and determined which products may be sold, put them on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, LetGo app, and OfferUp app. Distribute flyers or hold a garage sale. If you’re at ease, tell folks what you’re up to and why you’ve decided to travel in a van. Most people would gladly support you, even if it only means buying something little from you or telling their friends. Share your enthusiasm about downsizing your belongings.
What should you do with your home?
If you own a home, you must determine what to do with it. If you adore your home but do not wish to sell it, try renting it out. It will assist you pay your debts (and maybe even bring in some extra money). Plus, when you’re done with van life, it’ll make the transfer back to your home base much easier.
Another possibility is to rent out a single room to someone you know and trust, such as a friend or family member. They get to live there alone while you’re away (what a deal! ), and you can rest easy knowing that someone is looking after your home.
Finally, there are property managers that will assist you in listing and renting your house on Airbnb or VRBO. You will have to pay for these services, but the benefit is that they will handle all of the practicalities, such as maintaining the rental schedule and hiring cleaners.
What should you do with your car?
Your automobile has the same alternatives as the rest of your belongings: you may store it, keep it at home, or sell it. Keep it if you know you’ll be returning frequently and will need a car, or if you’ll just be on the road for a few weeks or months at a time.
Keep in mind that cars do not perform well when left unused for extended periods of time. Have a buddy come over once a month to start it and, if possible, drive it. It’s perfect if you have a house with a garage or driveway where you can keep it. Otherwise, you’ll want to find a place where you can park it for as long as you need.
There are climate-controlled storage facilities that will store automobiles, but they are often expensive in the long run. If you’re serious about making the switch to full-time vanliving, consider selling your car and using the proceeds to pay for your van or the first few months of RV travel expenses. Again, if you take this way, explain why you’re selling your automobile. If it’s not worth much, try donating it to a reputable auto donation organization that can pay it forward.
Tell me the best RV for full time rv living?
Understanding what’s right for you means knowing how to pick the proper camper van for your van life. There are several alternatives available, and you most likely have a few questions: Should you purchase a new or used van? Which is better: a Sprinter, a Ford Transit, a Dodge Promaster, or a Volkswagen? Should you do it yourself or pay someone else to do it for you?
There is no one way to live in a van, but it is crucial to understand what you want your van lifestyle to look like and what will work for you. Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a van:
- Where are you going to drive your van?
- Will you require a 4 wheel drive vehicle?
- Do you intend to spend the winter in your van?
- How much equipment storage do you require?
- Do you know how to mend things?
- What is your financial situation?
- Will you construct it yourself or hire someone to do it?
- Do you require a shower and/or a restroom?
If you’re not sure how you want your van lifestyle to appear, renting a van is a terrific method to physically test it out. Check out this blog article for a list of locations where you can rent a campervan for a night, a weekend, or longer!
If you’re dead set on purchasing a van, the most common types of vehicles on the market are:
If you’ve been searching for RV living for a while, you’ll know that the Bearfoot Theory vehicle of choice is the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van. Because I spend my winters in icy areas and my summers exploring wilderness routes, a 2-wheel-drive vehicle was out of the question. The Sprinter is now the only van in its class with a factory four-wheel drive option. The 44 isn’t as fuel-efficient, but it’s a formidable beast with enough room for bikes, paddle boards, and other gear. The disadvantage of Sprinters is that they are the most costly van choice, and it is more difficult to locate mechanics that operate on Sprinters.
High-roof Sprinter vans
High-roof Sprinter vans are ideal for folks who want to be able to get up and roam about in their van but also want something more contemporary and dependable. They are also available in two lengths: 144″ and 170″ wheelbases.
The Dodge Ram Promaster is another popular van vehicle that is significantly less expensive than Sprinters and Transits. It comes in two lengths – 136″ and 159″ wheelbases – it is somewhat shorter and has less ground clearance than a Sprinter, but it gets superior gas mileage. The Promaster also has the most vehicle options among ordinary panel vans. Because Promasters are primarily FWD (Front Wheel Drive), driving up high mountain slopes and across sandy places can be problematic.
The Ford Transit is unique in that it is available with AWD (2020 and newer). This isn’t as powerful as a Sprinter Van, but it’s more adaptable than a standard two-wheel-drive van. Ford Transits are also less expensive to buy and the rv maintenance is easier than Sprinters, plus they have a larger internal height – the AWD has a 6’8 inside height! Transits are also available with two-wheel drive RWD.
VW Vanagon, Westfalia, or Buses.
These are ideal for handy people who enjoy a retro ambiance. Keep in mind that they may not be as dependable as recent automobiles and will necessitate additional rv maintenance. They also don’t get as much gas mileage.
Ford Econolines, Chevrolet G Series, Chevrolet Express, and Chevrolet Astros
These are popular budget cargo vans. These vans are often significantly older, but they are the least expensive way to get on the road. Remember that rv life comes in many different shapes and sizes, and that sometimes a low-cost DIY construction is all you need.
Tips for Living in a Van and Traveling
Some of the most often asked questions about van living concerns fundamental daily requirements. Topics such as using the restroom, showering, locating the best overnight parking place, scouting out a nice campground or exploring a national park, preparing three meals a day, and even what to do with your mail are always on prospective van lifers’ minds.
Vehicle Insurance For Your Camper Van
An RV Insurance coverage is required if you wish to insure your whole construct rather than just the vehicle. Progressive Insurance is one of the few firms that gives complete replacement coverage for class B converted vans and your stuff, and this is what I use; however, be aware that they only cover properly converted vans.
If you don’t have health insurance via your work, you should look for it on healthcare.gov. The trick is to get an insurance with strong countrywide coverage so you don’t end up with a large out-of-network doctor cost when traveling.
Getting Mail On The Road
There are several alternatives for acquiring mail while on the road. If you have a P.O. Box, you can give the key to a trusted friend or family member, or you can ask a neighbor or friend to pick up your mail from your house. You may also use an Amazon locker to store any packages you get from their website.
Do you need to send yourself mail? Ship it to friends and family members whose homes you know you’ll be visiting. You may also mail things to a variety of shipping and office supply companies. I generally google “receiving parcels or package holding in xx” along with the city I’ll be in, and a few alternatives appear. Then I contact to find out how the box should be addressed and how much it will cost for them to store it.
It’s finally time for your adventure!
Once you’ve mastered all of your systems, it’s time to put them to use and have some fun! With our highway 1 road trip complete guide, you’ll learn how to organize a fantastic van life road trip from LA to San Francisco.
We hope this post has addressed your van life questions and inspired you to embark on your own van life adventures!
What remaining questions do you have regarding van life? What suggestions do you have for this complete guide? Please leave a comment.