The vanlife movement has exploded in the past few years. From TV shows like The Minimalists and VanLife to more articles being written about this life-style and lifestyle becoming more mainstream. As with any new trend, there’s a lot of questions surrounding this movement.
What is it? Is it for everyone? Who should take up vanlife? And most importantly, what type of vehicle is best for vanlife? There are pros and cons to owning any vehicle in your personal fleet. We’re here to help clear some of the confusion surrounding this popular lifestyle choice.
What is vanlife?
Vanlife is a lifestyle that revolves around living in a van. While there are various variations of this lifestyle, the most basic definition of vanlife is living in a small camper van. There are a lot of different ways you can get into this lifestyle, but for most, it comes down to the desire to live in a van and explore the world.
Below are some key reasons why people choose to live in a van:
Living in a van frees up a large amount of your time and money. Not having a mortgage or renting an apartment means you can work when you want, where you want and how much you want. No more to-do lists, deadlines or over-committing yourself as an adult.
Benefits of Interaction
When you live in a van, you see the world through the eyes of a visitor. You get to experience a different culture and meet new people every day.
Living in a van isn’t a 9-5 job and doesn’t require the same obligations and sense of self-fulfilment that other lifestyles do.
Types of vehicles for vanlife
There are a wide range of vehicles you can use for vanlife. Some of the more popular options include RVs, vans, trucks and even cars.
There are pros and cons for each, so you’ll need to figure out what works best for your lifestyle and your budget.
These are the most common type of vehicle for vanlife. They’re relatively inexpensive to buy and own, and they’re also the most flexible when it comes to making them fit your needs. However, they’re also the most expensive to use once you factor in maintenance, repairs and gas.
Camper vans are the most popular type of vehicle for vanlife, and they’re also the most eco-friendly. They’re also the easiest to modify and make your own, while they offer the most comfort. However, they’re also the most expensive to buy, maintain and insure.
These are the most common work trucks and are also the most versatile. You can use them for a variety of things, such as working, camping and even living in them. They can be a little more expensive to buy and operate.
If you have a full-size or mid-size car and have a little bit of DIY/mechanic skill, you can make it a van. There are a lot of people who live in cars, so there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to what car you drive. However, living in a car has a lot of disadvantages, including:
Long Distance Travel Restrictions
If you drive a car, you may be subject to long distance travel restrictions. These are laws that limit how far you can drive in a given period of time, based on where you live.
If you live in a car, you’ll spend a lot of money on gas. This is an expense that comes with both pros and cons. On the one hand, it’s a big savings when compared to other types of vehicles.
However, it has some major cons, including
Lack of Structured Living Space
Living in a car can feel a bit like camping. You don’t have a designated living space and need to be very resourceful with your space.
Budget-friendly vans for vanlife
When you’re just getting started with vanlife, the budget-friendly route is usually the best place to start. This allows you to ease into the lifestyle, without having to commit to a specific vehicle. There are a lot of budget-friendly vans available, with some of the most popular being the Ford Transit Connect, Dodge Caravan, and Toyota Sienna.
These are all based on the small/mid-size MPV/MPV-style vehicle, which is one of the most popular vehicle types for vanlife. These vehicles are very easy to modify and park, while they’re also very fuel efficient. This means they don’t cost a lot to run, while they’re also very flexible. This means you can easily park them anywhere and use them for traveling.
Luxury Van Campers
If you have the budget for it, the luxury van campers are the way to go. These are the most luxurious van campers on the market and you can expect to pay top-dollar for one. They’re also the most expensive type of van to use, while they’re also the most limited when it comes to customization. This means they’re also the most difficult to park and drive, while they’re also the least flexible.
Developed Campers/Roof Top Trailers
The second type of camper is the traditional developed/road-ready. These are the most affordable camper vans and are also the most common type of camper. They’re also the most basic in terms of the customization you get, while they’re also the most difficult to park.
The vanlife lifestyle is becoming more mainstream, and for good reason. It’s a great way to travel, explore the world and live your life on your terms. With a wide range of vehicles available, you can find one that’s right for you. From an economic freedom standpoint, there’s nothing like having your own wheels.