My Top 8 Tips for Living Van Life

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Sharing my top 8 tips for living van life – what we learned, what we wish we knew in the beginning, and tips to jumpstart your van life journey.

Sharing my top 8 tips for living van life - what we've learned, what we wish we knew, and tips to jumpstart your van life journey.

Van life is one of the most exhilarating ideas – the concept of freedom, spending more time in nature, minimalist living, and the ability to live in multiple states within one week. These were just a few reasons on what drew Kraig and I to van life.

We started our van life journey back in September 2022, with the plan to travel America for our yearlong honeymoon. We traveled everywhere from the deserts of Zion to the snowscapes of Colorado. Thanks to van life, Kraig and I were able to purchase a place in Colorado, moving from Wisconsin, to one of our favorite mountain towns after just seven months of living in our home on wheels. Van life was the ticket to curating the life Kraig and I yearned to live.

If you’re thinking of doing van life – go for it. No matter the experience, it can be the most exciting stepping stone to getting you to where you want to be in life.

My Top 8 Tips for Living Van Life

Start With Small Camping Trips

Our first road trip was out east to New Jersey, occurring two months before we would officially be leaving for van life. We spent a good month strategically packing our van, but it wasn’t until this trip that we realized we way overpacked. Dishes were clanking in the drawers, clothes were overflowing in the cabinets – we simply packed too much. After this trip, we drove back to Wisconsin and took out half of what we had in the van, adding it to our storage unit.

Be Organized

I cannot emphasize this enough – be organized, then stay organized. This makes living on the road way easier! Have a designated area to store all your dirty laundry, a gym bag packed and ready to go for taking showers, ensuring your kitchen necessities and clothes are neatly organized; this will keep you sane during those chaotic van life days.

Investing in a good cooler is another tip we recommend – this is a great way to store extra food if you run out of space in your fridge, packing for more time off grid.

Have Cash on Hand & a Savings

A common misconception is that van life is cheap. While some individuals can experience van life on a tight budget, be mindful that cost can add up very quickly. Both Kraig and I worked part-time while living van life. This helped pay for insurance, food, gas, monthly bills, gym memberships, internet, traveling experiences, and emergencies. Before leaving for van life, I highly recommend having a rough plan of your itinerary and a budget to stick to. Research areas you can stay for cheap or for free, and areas to access water, dump stations, and showers. Trust me, you will thank yourself.

Find Free Campsites

Using a multitude of apps can be helpful in finding free campsites. Several of the apps we used (and still use while camping) included: onX mapsiOverlanderthe dyrtAll TrailsRecreation.govNational Park ServiceBureau of Land Management, and Harvest Hosts. If needed, you can always stay at RV parks and campgrounds, certain Walmarts (check to ensure they offer overnight camping), Cabela’s, Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, and IHOP.

Invest in a Gym Membership

Planet Fitness offers a $10 a month gym membership, with access to thousands of gyms nationwide. This was a great way to not only get a good workout in, but also a hot shower.

Get to Know Other Vanlifers

The van life community is everything. Not only did we meet many amazing like-minded people, we made friendships and memories we won’t forget. Don’t be afraid to approach other vanlifers to strike up a conversation – this community has a great insight to some of the best campgrounds, road trip itineraries, sightseeing tips, and packing advice!

Use Multifunctional Items

Organization and minimalism is key to when it comes to van life. Packing multifunctional items can save space, which is crucial, for obvious reasons:

Stay Connected

We used Starlink satellite internet service during van life. Highly recommend! We did quite a bit of research on what internet to get beforehand, contemplating between Starlink and mobile hotspot devices. Starlink is expensive. However, it was great to have service, even in the most remote spots, to finish up the work day or have service to call loved ones.

I hope you enjoyed my top 8 tips for living van life! 🚐

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Abigail Jean introduction.
Hello! I’m Abigail Jean, an admirer of health, wellness, food, and nature. I created this blog to share my admirations with other enthusiasts such as you!
I will provide you with the tools you need to create a healthy and happy lifestyle that is both realistic and sustainable. Thank you for visiting Abigail Jean, I look forward to sharing more with you!
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