Living in a van is an adventure, a huge change of pace and an affordable way to travel more, explore your surroundings and be closer to nature. Those who do van life make it look easy but to those who don’t own a camper van yet, the process can be full of questions! So, what are the most frequently asked van life questions? And more importantly, what are the answers?
FAQ Number 1: How much does van life cost?
This question has too many variables to be answered succinctly, as different peoples budgets will vary massively, but after the initial outlay of the base vehicle, van life can be as cheap as you want it to be. It all depends on how frugal you live your van lifestyle.
As for buying the van, some people spend thousands of dollars on brand new high spec base vehicles while others choose older, cheaper vans with more mileage for their conversion base. Some like to trick their vans out with all the mod cons and gadgets, others go for a more basic and functional home on wheels. Others buy ready made conversions and hit the road right away, making minor tweaks to suit themselves as they go. In reality you can spend a little or you can spend a lot getting your van just right for you. What matters most is your own comfort level and staying warm, healthy, happy, and satisfied in your situation. Expect to pay a few thousand dollars for a basic, non-converted van, and tens of thousands for a brand-new sprinter. Budget considerations should include insuring and taxing the vehicle, and of course, the regular maintenance required to keep it road worthy.
FAQ Number 2: So… where do you poop?
Answering this age-old question depends entirely on what kind of van life you are planning on living and the kinds of places your van will take you. Some people build a fully contained house with a bathroom cubicle and a portapotty. Others use external facilities like public restrooms, and some rely on burying their poo in the woods. If you are stealth parking in a town or city, you will probably want a way to do your business in the van and burying your waste won’t be an option. Most full-time van dwellers have a solution to this problem on board, and these can range from a bucket lined with plastic, a camping style portapotty or even a full flushing toilet! There are plenty of apps available to find public toiles in your area, and many vanners rely on these facilities to make up for the lack of their own.
FAQ Number 3: How do you shower?
Showering in van life is another common question that is pretty easy to demystify. There are many ways to keep yourself clean in a van which don’t involve full body showers. Many vanners will boil a kettle and use a basin and sponge bath. Some bathe in rivers and lakes when the weather allows. Some use the facilities at the local swimming pool and others will sign up for a gym membership just to use the showers. There are showers dotted around most countries in service stations, on promenades or by the beach. Those who chose to build a shower into their designs will have to carry a lot more water on board, this fact might prevent you from installing one in your rig to save space, weight, and your overall mpg. Showering is not something you give up when you move into a van, but they can become less frequent as water becomes a more precious resource!
FAQ Number 4: How do you manage day to day life, confined to such a small space?
Living in such a tiny space can be a challenge at first and like any process, it takes some getting used to. Any fractures in a relationship can be tested when you occupy such a small space with your partner or family. If you have too much stuff with you, organising can be difficult and often overwhelming. Getting into a habit of tidying everything away after each use takes time and learning the tricks to help you communicate better with your van dwelling partner is essential to ensure you are both happy and in great moods. Living van life can lead you to minimalism which will mean you only carry what you need, freeing up the tiny space and giving you more time to enjoy your ever-changing surroundings. Many van lifers say living in a small space doesn’t matter as long as you can travel and explore new places, the whole world becomes your backyard!
FAQ Number 5: How do you make a living on the road?
This MUST be the most googled van life question of all time! Earning money while on the road is a big concern for those who are used to working static jobs in static environments. In truth, there are many jobs you can take while on the road, and thousands of van lifers who are currently working and travelling as digital nomads. Work online for your existing employer, take on temp jobs like bartending or seasonal positions as wardens on campgrounds, upskill to jobs like web services to virtual assistants, learn to create content, become a copywriter, or develop your own brand. As you live on the road, your expenses are almost guaranteed to be significantly lower than they used to be, and some vanners need only part time paid positions to get by.
To learn more about earning a living on the road, and to hear detailed testimonials from real digital nomads on how they achieve their balance of working, earning and travelling,
READ: How 25 Van Life Digital Nomads Make Money on the road, and how you can too!
So, now that we have answered the most frequently asked questions, from showering, pooping, budgets, getting along in a small space and earning money on the road, are you ready to turn your van life dreams into your reality?
If you’re ready to make van life your reality consider enrolling in Van Life Academy. It’s a detailed step by step course to teach you everything about van life and building your campervan in the most effective way possible.
With resources like this, the possibilities are endless!