While it’s great to enjoy a short stint of the vanlife with one of our rentals, many people are actually considering taking on the Instagram acclaimed lifestyle for the long-term. Of course, for anyone embarking on such an unconventional life, there are always many questions. In fact, we often hear from our customers that part of why they’re renting from us is to give the vanlife a try before deciding to truly make it their own.
Since the vanlife always elicits so many questions, we’ve decided to create a frequently asked questions list about the vanlife, to give you a better idea of what it truly means, and requires, to live life full time on the road.
Is Vanlife Safe?
Safety of vanlife is naturally one of the first questions that comes to people’s minds. There’s a sense of security behind the locked doors of a house that isn’t quite there behind the locked doors of a van. However, the truth is that by and large, vanlife is safe. This is, of course, dependent to a large degree on how smart you are about it. If you stick to safe areas and don’t do anything foolish, you probably won’t run into too many problems.
Of course, there are things that you can do to feel safe. You can stick to well-known public campgrounds and parking lots of major stores. You can carry a weapon you’re legally authorized to carry. You can even get an emergency GPS transponder to send an emergency signal if you’re ever in a bind. As with many things when it comes to vanlife, the key is in how prepared you are, and how intelligently you go about it.
Is Vanlife Lonely?
It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re extremely introverted and have a very difficult time meeting people, then sure, you may find it to be lonely. However, generally fellow travelers are very open and welcoming people, so the communities you meet at campgrounds and other places where travelers convene will be fairly easy to connect with. While it may be hard to find long-term connections in places like these, don’t underestimate friends met on the road. You never know when you might cross paths again, and it’s fairly easy to keep in touch with modern technology. You should also hit up nomadic/travel community group pages on social media for any place you’re planning to spend more than a day or two.
Is Vanlife Okay in All Seasons?
The one time of year people feel most uncertain about living vanlife is in Winter. This is understandable, as many people really hate the cold. There are fundamentally two approaches to Winter when it comes to vanlife: Avoid it, or embrace it. On the one hand, there are plenty of places you can flee to when cold weather comes, like the Gulf Coast or the Southwest. On the other hand, if you’re a Winter kind of person, you can park it on the mountain and snowboard right out of your van. You will of course use up extra gas keeping it heated, and storing all that Winter gear in such a tiny space can be tricky, but plenty do it. You can also simply take a break from vanlife in Winter, and get a short-term furnished apartment or stay with family.
Is Vanlife Sanitary?
Well, keeping clean is more of a challenge in vanlife, much as it is when camping. However, with some extra effort, it can be done. You can build a structured schedule around going to vacuum out the whole van once or twice a month, for instance. You can put a lot of effort into your shower setup, or make sure you have access to showers wherever you go (Planet Fitness is a great option). You can have convenient cleaning products on you at all times, and make regular trips to the laundromat to wash sheets, blankets, and clothes. If you’re going to care a lot about cleanliness in vanlife, then expect to put in some major time and effort, it will be a neverending chore.
How Do You Get Internet Living In a Van?
This is actually one of the simpler ones to answer, there are a variety of ways to have internet in a van, but the most common are simply to purchase a wifi hotspot from a mobile network provider, or even use your phone’s hotspot. You just need to be sure you’re with a network that has fairly wide coverage, and allows the data you require for all your laptop internet use. Satellite internet is an option for extremely remote locations, but it’s quite expensive.
What Do You Do About Mail, When Living the Vanlife?
Well, naturally you’ll want to have as much of the correspondence your life requires to be electronic, as possible. As for the mail you do receive, if you don’t have a physical address while you’re living vanlife, you can either have it sent to a PO box or to a family’s house, ideally someone who is willing to periodically send you all your mail for the month to whatever post office you happen to be nearby at the time.
What Insurance Is Best for Vanlife?
If you want to cover the non-vehicular modifications (things that make it a camper and not just a regular van) then you’ll probably want to get an RV type of insurance plan. You may be able to negotiate a lower rate given that your campervan probably isn’t worth as much money as an RV, at least not a newer one.
Store My Stuff While Vanlifing, or Just Ditch It and Go?
This is highly subjective, and ultimately no one can truly answer this question for you. However, I would suggest that for most people, it would be prudent to store your possessions until you’re truly certain that the vanlife is the way you’ll be living for a long time. I’d say give it a year, and if by that time you’re still gung ho, then maybe consider selling your stuff. You can always transfer a precious few highly sentimental items to a family member’s attic, perhaps.