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What is a Van Dweller?

What is a Van Dweller?

Van dwelling seems to be becoming more and more popular every single year. So, what does it really mean to be a van dweller? 

What is the van life really like? 

We’re taking a deep look into everything related to van-dwelling.

Let’s dive in!

So… What is a Van Dweller?

Simply put, a van dweller is someone who lives in a vehicle – it doesn’t always have to be a van. The term van dweller is used for people living out of many types of vehicles, although vans are the most popular. 

Not all van dwellers travel.

Some are stationary around the cities and areas they lived in before. This can be because of work, family ties, or other reasons. 

In general, van dwelling is legal. It’s a popular mode of travel and it is legal to travel and sleep in your van or vehicle. 

Some cities and towns have local ordinances or laws that ban sleeping in vehicles within city limits. Some cities have made it illegal to live in your vehicle – but van dwellers find ways around these ordinances. Either by choosing to sleep outside the city or stealth camping in plain sight and taking the risk. 

Why Do People Choose To Live in Vans? 

Van dwellers choose to live in vehicles for a variety of reasons. For some people, it’s a financial necessity. For others, it’s just a way to save money. And for other people, it’s a way to save money and travel the country! 

Van life is a great way to live minimally with few expenses and see the country. One of the biggest perks about traveling by van or car is gas mileage! Vans get better gas mileage than RVs and they’re much easier to maneuver.

Check out the 10 best DIY Van builds of 2020 – these rigs are seriously sweet!

Is Van Life Expensive?

Similar to RVing, van life can cost as much or as little as you want it to. Some van dwellers live in $100,000 van conversions and stay every night at expensive campgrounds, and that’s their choice! 

Other people live in DIY camper vans that cost less than $1,000 to build and take advantage of free camping all over the country. 

As you can imagine, the price of each lifestyle varies widely. The main costs associated with van life are gas and campground fees. There’s no shortage of free camping in the United States, and if you stick to one area for a while, you’re not spending a lot on gas. 

Van life truly is a “choose your own adventure” lifestyle – when it comes to everything, right down to the budget.

Pro Tip: If you’re considering this lifestyle while living on social security, here’s the surprising truth you may want to avoid.

What Van Life is Really Like

While you might have seen the wanderlust-inspiring YouTube videos or the picture perfect #vanlife Instagram shots, the real van life lifestyle isn’t always picture perfect. 

As any van dweller knows: van life can be amazing. But, it can also be difficult. 

When you live in such a small space, every challenge becomes amplified. Living in a van or vehicle is a seriously minimalist lifestyle. So, you have to be prepared to only carry what you absolutely need.

Many van builds or car campers don’t have bathrooms, or may just have a toilet and no shower. In this case, finding showers can be challenging. Many van dwellers utilize gym memberships like Planet Fitness, where they can shower at gyms across the US. But situations like COVID closed gyms for several months at a time, so showering can be a challenge. 

And then there’s the challenge of finding somewhere to park for the night. This is a challenge shared by RVers, too! As long as you plan ahead, finding a spot to sleep isn’t too much of an issue. 

Could Living in a Van Be Right For You?

If you dream of hitting the road to see the country, or just downsize into a super small space to avoid the costs of modern living, van life could definitely be for you. 

Van life is not without its challenges, but for the right person, it’s perfect. Many people say the minimalism of being a van dweller has made them feel freer than ever before. 

Before diving in, check out this article for 5 reasons to avoid van life.

If you’re considering van life, head on over to YouTube! There are thousands of videos from van life content creators from frugal-living van lifers to travelers living a lavish lifestyle. You’re sure to learn a ton. 

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

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