Oh vanlife, it’s likely a phrase you’ve heard flying around Instagram, but do you know what it truly is? If not, wonder no more my - for I’m about to let you in on this not so secret lifestyle craze that seems to be taking the world by storm.
Vanlife is essentially the lifestyle of living on the road, out of a vehicle. The name is slightly confusing as it is not only vans that you will see on quiet country lanes or pulled up at beaches - with their vanlifer inhabitants.
In fact, many vanlifers live in converted school buses, pick up trucks with camper shells, vintage VW buses, and some especially tough cookies are partaking in this lifestyle with nothing more than their regular sized car.
For the apartment or house dwelling individuals out there, it can be hard to imagine living in such a small area - but you may be surprised to hear that many of these “pimped out” vehicles have the same mod-cons as your own home, albeit in a tinier package!
The majority of vanlife vehicles possess a fully functioning kitchen -- with fridge, freezer, gas hob, sink - and in some cases a fully functioning oven -- living space while small is often cozier than that of a sprawling home, with a couch, bed, dining table - and plenty of storage for clothes, sporting equipment and knick-knacks.
In fact, to give you an idea of just how much “stuff” you can fit into a tiny rolling home - I shall use our own VW home as an example:
My boyfriend and I are the very proud owners of a 1969 VW adventurewagen named Red. We have a whopping 7.5 sq mtrs of living space in our tiny home, but in that space - we have:
Sporting Equipment - a paddleboard, two mountain bikes, two x wetsuits and dry bags.
Clothing - Approximately the same as one double wardrobe full of clothing + ten pairs of shoes.
In my opinion, vanlife is so incredibly popular because it gives you the chance to have endless adventures. To explore the world. To meet new people. And to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Full-time van life isn’t for everyone, as with any lifestyle, there are ups and downs, but if this lifestyle teaches you anything, it’s to appreciate the little things in life, the things that are truly important. And what could be more important than living for the experiences?
When you’re old, you’re not going to remember that pair of shoes you just had to buy or that PlayStation game - but you will remember your road trip through Europe, the fun you had, and the friends you made.
While the idea of getting involved with van life can seem overwhelming, don’t stress - it’s actually pretty easy once you’ve done some research, and figured out the following:
What you need out of a vehicle Where you intend on driving How much you have to spend
My first suggestion would be to try it before you buy it - why not rent a camper as close to your dream specs as possible, and travel around for a couple of weeks?
My best tip for your “trial trip” would be to take it slow! Most people get in a camper for the first time and try to do as much as possible, but that’s not feasible to maintain when you’re doing it full-time.
Give yourself a few days in one spot, get used to changing bedding in a small space, making dinner in your tiny kitchen - and have that conversation that we all end up having… “Why do people live in houses, when this is plenty of room?”
Many assume that vanlife is for those who can live like “unwashed hippies” and that stereotype is quite the opposite from the truth, the majority of vanlifers are digital nomads with jobs that they can do from anywhere - so they choose to make the most of that by exploring the world!
The travel industry is ever-growing, and with that - we see almost innumerable handy gadgets popping up to make daily van life easier, including:
Solar Showers Lithium Battery Packs Stovetop Ovens
There are ways to live pretty much any lifestyle that will fit your budget. Vanlife can be far cheaper than the standard apartment life - and then again it can be far more expensive. It’s all about your daily spending decisions.
Want to drive a lot? Petrol costs money. Want to cook in the bus every day? Great - that will be way cheaper than restaurants. Want to say yes to every adventure? That might eat into your budget.
There are so many variables, and as with any move, it’s important to budget the costs and make sure that you can afford to switch to this lifestyle before you do it.
The full-time vanlife lifestyle certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you have a thirst for adventure, a passion for travelling the world, and a fun loving nature - you may just find that this is the perfect fit for you.
My boyfriend and I jumped into this lifestyle head first and bought our VW bus within a week of finding out about van life, and without ever having been inside of a VW. I’m not recommending this to anyone, as it could have gone incredibly wrong - but luckily for us, we have loved pretty much every moment in our bus ever since!
And hey, even if you don’t intend on doing this full-time, going out for van life weekends, or even spending a few months of the year on the road can provide you with your fill of adventure. With Yescapa - the camper rental people - you can do this without even having to own your own camper! Not bad ey.
To go further
What if we retraced chronological events in the story of the most famous campervan of all times ? We are talking about the VW campervan of course ! Here is a little retrospect.
Your neighbors have bought a motorhome and began to hit the road ? You still do not know why you should be tempted by this mode of transport ?
Christmas is fast approaching and it is time to offer some gifts to your dear relatives and friends. You don’t have any ideas ?! Don’t worry, we take care of everything ! If you are looking for original and useful gifts for friends who are passionate about travels, find here 15 gift ideas for a traveler.