Everything You Need To Know Before Jumping Into The Trendy Van Life

Everything You Need To Know Before Jumping Into The Trendy Van Life

By: Chabe Cara -

Living a van life isn't as easy as it could seem. You need to make tons of sacrifices and life decisions to make it work.

When I was little, me and my family used to go to a very remote and austere beach in the south of Mexico that we loved for its beautiful landscape as well as the amazing creatures you could see such as dolphins, rays, turtles, and whales. We used to camp on the beach and would take all we needed to make our stay really comfortable. As a kid that was the best part of the whole thing. With the passing of years, we still visited that place whenever we had the chance, but the excitement of sleeping in a tent started to fade away. The 6-hour journey started to be tiresome, but at the end of the day, we endured it because the place was worth it. When I was about 12, I started fantasizing with the idea of getting a camper. I mean, how awesome would that be, traveling anywhere you like without having to set up a whole camp or enduring long hours sitting in the same position. Well, those dreams never abandoned me. To this day, every time I see an amazing camper on Facebook, my teenage soul gets so excited playing with the idea of owning one.

If you start thinking about it, it’s kind of easy to imagine living in a camper for just a short period of time. But honestly, it’s quite hard picturing myself fully embracing this lifestyle. Two years ago, when I was about to move to Scotland for my masters degree, me and my friend started looking for a place to live, and after looking at the extremely expensive cost of renting an apartment in the town, we actually considered getting a camper for the two of us. So, yes, while it can be awesome to take a trip and living in one of these for a time, we realized that it’s a choice that needs commitment and sacrifice. Still, here I’ll share some of the points to consider if you have that curiosity of embarking on a nomad lifestyle.

how to start van life ideas considerationsUnsplash: Alex Azabache

Get the appropriate van

This is not a matter of buying the most expensive and fully equipped one. It's about thinking of your needs and your particular way of living. So, perhaps you don’t need a full entertainment console or a washing machine, but you’ll definitely want to invest in a good bed and cooking set. I mean, it’s all a matter of preference and personal priorities.

how to start van life ideas considerationsPexels: Rachel Claire

Forget about collecting possessions

One advantage we found about living in a van was that we didn’t have many things but a couple of suitcases. Still, when making that shift in life, you have to bear in mind that you’re about to embark on a new and simpler way of living. That means absolute economy in the possessions you’re to take. So, if you love having tons of books, albums, clothes, shoes, or anything else, either you make the sacrifice and leave them behind, or think if you're really a van-life person.

how to start van life ideas considerationsPexels: Taryn Elliott

Do some research before

Well, this is a basic and kind of obvious rule. Still, it doesn’t hurt looking for as much information as you can. There are many blogs written by people living a nomad life that can make you see from a first hand source what it’s like to embrace this style. More than the experience, it’s also important for you to know the basics, like where it’s safe to stay, what to do in case of an emergency, how to make the most out of the space, where to get water and food, what’s the best insurance for both yourself and the van, among so many other things we could take for granted, which leads us to the next point.

how to start van life ideas considerationsUnsplash: Alex Azabache


One of the most common reasons why people decide to make this shift is to distance themselves from the noisy and agitated urban life. This becomes a great way of being in contact with nothing else but the road and the destination. The least important thing is being connected to social media or any other kind of communication. However, it’s important to have a secure and stable communication system for any emergency that could arise.

how to start van life ideas considerationsUnsplash: Tobias Tullius


Instagram and Facebook are filled with amazing images of people living in a van accompanied by their pets, and to be honest, these are extremely adorable. Still, if you want to take your buddy with you, you must be aware that it will represent way much more work than having them at in regular home. I know this is kind of obvious, but it’s important to be sure you’re going to commit to making their journey and new life as comfortable as yours.

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Set up a home base 

Yes, perhaps your plan is traveling throughout your country without staying in one place for such a long time. However, it’s important to have a set place for any sort of paperwork or registry. It’s just a matter of safety, and it can be your current home, your parents', or basically the address of any relative or friend. Besides that, it’s also essential to set up a home base in the place you're visiting instead of just wandering. In this case, there are many specific places for campers where you can share experiences, and more importantly, feel that you belong somewhere.

how to start van life ideas considerationsUnsplash: Daniel J. Schwarz

Making the decision can be very exciting, and doing it even more. But it’s important to consider that living the nomad van style requires a lot of commitment and planning, as well as being willing to make the most of it and learn of every difficulty to make your new life better. Naturally, it’s not as difficult and scary as it may sound, and you’ll probably live a bunch of new experiences that will change your life.

If you have a free spirit, you might want to see this:

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How To Travel While Being A Student On A Tight Budget
How To Tinder Your Way Through Vacation Time