With the rising prices in the real estate market, more and more people are looking for alternative options. Renting skyrocketed in the past decade, inflation rates made it impossible to buy a house or apartment without a lease or credit, and the accumulated debt suffocated the younger generation. That is why a lot of young people and even young couples decided to start living in vans, customized and modified, instead of giving their last penny for the monthly rent or mortgage they have to pay off. Most people thought of it as an alternative for some period of time, others embraced it as a lifestyle choice without the slightest intention of going back to their old lives. If you are thinking of doing so yourself, here are some pros and cons, some tips and thoughts on living in a Van.
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The Freedom of Going Wherever You Want
The first pro which pops up in everyone’s mind is the freedom of going wherever you want and whenever you want, no restrictions, no responsibilities, and no need to save up for rent or think of paying off the debt. For most people, the pleasant sense of full independence is appealing, and the views, regardless of season or time of day, are spectacular and stunning. The breeze of fresh air in the morning looking at the Grand Canyon, or hitting the open road at night and looking for a place to stare at the night sky. All these are the advantages of living, as you are constantly moving, you are never bored and you can accumulate an amazing repertoire of memories for your whole life. If you’ve ever felt imprisoned in your office, working a corporate job, drowning under your obligations, and feeling that life is passing you by, perhaps this life choice isn’t so horrible after all.
The Initial Costs
When it comes to living in a Van, there are some costs to it. The initial cost of actually assembling the van, customizing it, modifying it, and making sure it has everything you need to live normally, as much as it is possible considering the circumstances. The costs can vary depending on the brand, nevertheless building a van is a lot of work and can be very time-consuming. It is a beautiful experience when you have a partner to share the workload with, though it can be mesmerizing and entrapping. You’ll have to put up electric installations in the back, batteries, make it soundproof, waterproof, make sure it is comfortable and warm in the winter. You have to think of storage in the van, how you’ll organize the space, where to put the bed, the clothes, and all the other necessary accessories. Volkswagen Transporters and Mercedes Sprinters have a long reputation of being the most suitable for such makeovers, because of the space.
Once you have made it clear to yourselves and have a vision, all you need is time and patience and of course a bit of money, but hopefully, it will pay off itself as you’ll save money you would otherwise spend on monthly rent.
Remember to include the expense of maintenance, since the Van will eventually require new tires, frequent inspections, filter replacements, and repairs.
One major problem people address when living in a van is taking care of personal hygiene and how it functions. The assumption that people are taking less care of themselves is quite misleading as it is more than possible to shower regularly and brush your teeth without a problem. Some people use containers and dispose of the used water; later on, you’ll need a water tank of some sort, or you can easily go to the nearest gas station. The regular morning routines of brushing your teeth, or cleaning your face are easy and can be done with a bottle of water. However, it can sometimes be bothersome, especially if you do not have the space to stand up straight, but those are minor problems and often manageable.
Time Flexibility and Food
When it comes to time flexibility, there are several things to consider. Yes, firstly, you have all the time you need, but you’ll also have to spend most of the day driving around and changing locations very often. You’ll have to think of all the suitable places to make a stop and take some rest. Also, you’ll have to think of a parking place to sleep during the night. It can be a bit distracting, and if you have to work remotely, which you will most likely have to do because petrol isn’t cheap, you’ll need to better plan and manage your time. One perk is that you can have someone drive you about while you work and then switch places when you’re done.
Food storage is another seeming obstacle when it comes to living in a van, as you’ll have to store mostly food that cannot go bad for a longer period of time. You can have a mini-fridge in the van if the space permits it, and yes, you can eat balanced meals, but you won’t have the space to store much of it, just the necessities. Be cautious with the meals you bring with you.
Overall, living in a van has its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks. It can be perilous at times, and you’ll have to deal with some unpleasant circumstances on the road or in parking lots from time to time. This is not a life for everyone, so consider carefully before embarking on this journey.