Over the last few years, the concept of living in a van has been romanticized across social media. The main lure is that you get to go anywhere you want and explore the world without having to spend a lot of money.
However, if you are thinking of making a shift, you should know all the facts about leading a van life. So, let us take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of living in a van to see whether such a big life-changing is worth it.
Reasons for Living in a Van
Let us start with the many advantages of living in a van. It gives you the opportunity to wander and lead a cost-effective life. For those who are already pursuing this lifestyle, the benefits certainly outweigh the challenges.
Lower Cost of Living
For most people who live in vans, the main attraction is the reduced cost of living. In fact, many students have switched to the van lifestyle at the peak of the pandemic. The reasons were many – some did not prefer to coop in the apartment. In contrast, others had to think of alternative living arrangements with the campus closures.
And if they had issues with handling the work, many students turned to academic platforms. You can think to yourself that you need WritePaper writers to write paper for me and get a sample essay completed in the next six hours. You can choose your own writer who is an expert in your chosen field of study.
This way, many students were able to cut the cost of living expenses. Instead of paying rent, you can find a parking spot and rent it out at a much lower price. If needed, you can find common facilities for showers and bathrooms and other amenities such as WiFi.
Freedom to Travel
Another notable perk of living in a van is the flexibility to travel. After all, you do not have to take a flight or train to get from one place to another. Depending on where you live, you can also cross international borders with your van.
Moreover, since many companies have started supporting remote work, you might be able to find a job where you can travel at all times.
The idea of leading a minimalist lifestyle is alluring to many. And if you believe in this ideology, then living in a van can be a great choice to make. This way, you only use the things that are absolutely essential for your comfort – simply because you do not have the space for them.
Moreover, you will also bring down your energy consumption, thus leading a sustainable lifestyle and reducing your environmental impact.
Challenges of Living in a Van
All these advantages aside, van life is not without its challenges. It can take a toll on you, even when you are fully prepared. Read on to find out what the disadvantages are.
No matter how you try, a van cannot be an equivalent of a house. So, it lacks facilities for simple things you are used to. For instance, you can’t just move around whenever you want, do some at-home exercise, or even stand up comfortably. You won’t also have a large kitchen space or just dance around in your private area.
You might have the luxury of having some private space if you are parked in a remote location with plenty of outdoor space. Otherwise, you could be surrounded by other cars and literally have no privacy, which can get tiring. And if you are living with a partner in your van, it can make things even more challenging when you do not have a space to have some ‘me-time.’
As you can imagine, the next most obvious con is the difficulty of finding parking. You might not be able to find national parks or public lands at all times, especially if you have a job to stick to. This means that you are often forced to seek refuge on streets, brightly lit parking lots, or residential neighborhoods – and not everyone is welcoming about that.
You might get hostile looks from other people walking by or even have a police officer knock on your window from time to time. If you are camping in a city, you should also read up on the rules because not abiding by them can get you a ticket.
Cleaning the Van
Some might think that less space means less work when cleaning up. But, in fact, it is the other way around. The floors can accumulate dirt quickly, the tiny sink will fill up with dirty dishes, and the trash has to be taken out quite often. On top of this, you will also have to look for places constantly to dump garbage, recycle and clean out gray/black water.
And public parking places will not have these facilities. In other words, it often takes an immense effort to keep things clean.
An Outbound Living study reported that 28% of those who live in a van use public shower facilities, 21% use built-in van showers, and the rest use campsite facilities. This means that not all camper vans have all the amenities an ordinary home would.
And crucially, if you cannot deal with public restrooms, then van life simply isn’t for you. If your van has a toilet, then you have to think of clearing the black water regularly. If not, you will have to rely on public amenities. And even with bathrooms, most vans don’t have showers, which can make it a challenge to stay clean.
Always on the Move
When living in a van, you are likely to move around a lot. In other words, you do not have a conventional house to go back to, but you do have a home. All you have to do is a lot of planning. You are always thinking of where to go next, where to find a park, where to find basic amenities and such.
Some places also have restrictions on how long you can stay in one area. Moreover, things can also get difficult depending on the weather. For instance, the van might get too hot in summer, and you will have to make room to fit in a fan or an air conditioning unit to stay comfortable. At other times, you might find it difficult to move around during a rainstorm.
Is Living in a Van Worth It – The Verdict
The simple takeaway is that it will ultimately come down to what you want. As we noted above, there are several benefits. For some people, that might be worth dealing with the other challenges. You get to have new experiences and wander around without having to spend thousands of dollars.
On the other hand, van life also means little to no stability. Things can get particularly challenging when it comes to hygiene and finding work. Living in a van is by no means an easy feat. Despite what social media might portray, you will find yourself worrying over several things at a time.
Van life can be both incredibly challenging at the same time. So, before you embark on a campervan journey, we suggest that you consider all things and make a decision for yourself. You can also try living in one temporarily before making a complete move.