Nikki Delventhal chose a climate-friendly and sustainable travel option by living in her Prius with her dog, Camper.
If an RV is out of your price range or you want access to more varied spaces, small car camping may be for you.
Even living in something as small as a Prius is possible. Discover how Nikki and Camper did it for over three years.
Let’s jump in!
Living in a Prius for 3 Years
In an interview with Elvis Duran, Nikki Delventhal is asked if she gets lonely. She responds and makes a great point that you can get lonely even when living in a house or surrounded by loved ones.
Her tip is to look around, see what’s going well, and find something to be grateful for. Then she calls a friend or family member to tell them about it. This can significantly improve your overall mood.
She also talks about safety with Elvis and his friends. It’s essential to be aware of your surroundings, and she always parks in a way that allows her to leave quickly. Also, Nikki searches areas to view the crime rate and looks for places with other vanlifers. If she doesn’t feel safe somewhere, she leaves. That’s the beauty of being on wheels.
Nikki doesn’t spend money on restaurants or bars but pays for health insurance. She believes that’s important to have, especially being nomadic. But some people don’t, and their monthly expenses are even as low as $400.
Lastly, Nikki says she often chooses her next location by following the good weather.
Tell Me More About Nikki Delventhal
Nikki is a former model and cheerleader and also used to be a tour guide for teens. When her jobs came to an end at the same time, she chose to start living and traveling in her Prius.
Let’s back up a little, though. Nikki was born in Connecticut and later went to cosmetology school in Florida. She then moved north and got a job at a high-end hair salon, working with celebrities such as Kate Hudson. After that, she became a professional cheerleader for the NY Jets.
Fun fact: Nikki was not a dancer, so she had to work her butt off for this job. She reveals in her bio that cheerleaders aren’t paid for practice time, only for games. And the max you can make at one game is $100!
Moving to NYC, her goal was to be a model. She landed a job and worked with companies like Adidas and Pepsi. Although she was living her dream by landing magazine covers, it didn’t pay well.
Nikki realized she was mentally and physically declining, struggling with eating disorders. She knew she had to make a change.
In 2015, she was on The Bachelor, competing to win over farmer Chris Soules, a 33-year-old from Iowa. Nikki reveals in her bio that she thought having cameras on her 24×7 would help her overcome the eating disorders. She tried so many methods in the past, and none of them had worked.
After exiting the modeling and “show biz” world, she made a significant change and became a tour guide for teens in Australia and New Zealand. Nikki lived in a car for two months in Australia, which was when she realized she was meant to roam.
She’s been living in her Prius for over three years now.
How do you Shower While Living in a Prius?
The first question the interview panel asked Nikki was how does she shower?
There are several ways to get clean while on the road. Some people use a gym membership or campground showers.
Nikki says she has showered every single day since being on the road. She uses a pop-up shower and a gallon jug of water when not using a truck stop or campground shower.
And guess what? It’s hot water! She puts the jug on the dashboard and says it takes only four hours to get piping hot.
She also talks about the “bird bath” when in a pinch, which is using wet wipes to clean the important areas.
Pro Tip: Want to give car camping a try, but don’t want to give up the luxury of a warm shower? Use these tips on how to find a shower when car camping.
Where Can You Car Camp in a Prius?
We often think about camping as something we did as a kid or something we have to make reservations for six months in advance (especially nowadays.)
By living in a Prius, or any other vehicle, you can find beautiful wilderness areas on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land or roadsides. Or you can usually sleep safely at rest stops and truck stops. Since it’s a vehicle that blends in, parking lots are even an option.
Nikki and her Prius have done everything from beach camping on Lake Superior to overnighting at the largest truck stop in the US. Try a little off-roading in Death Valley or stealth camping in Vegas. You really can camp virtually anywhere.
What is CamperCares?
CamperCares is a charity project that helps animals, families, and fosters in need by helping pay their medical and vet bills. It’s funded by Nikki Delventhal’s YouTube and from direct donations.
The charity’s name comes from the day Nikki met the love of her life while hiking a remote trail. A stray dog followed her and her mom on the entire hike, never leaving their side.
After searching around for his owner and bringing him to the vet for a health and microchip check, she learned he was a stray and named him Camper.
Camper has changed her life for the better, and she’s so excited to share her Camper-inspired give-back project, CamperCares.
Is Nikki Still Living in her Prius?
After three years, Nikki decided to hand in the keys to her Prius for something slightly bigger. She’s still looking, but Four Wheel Campers offered to loan her a pickup truck with a fully built-out camper.
Follow her YouTube channel to see what adventures she and Camper get into next.
Pro Tip: We took a closer look at How To Camp Out of Your Car, Legally.
Would you Survive Living in a Prius?
We thought this sounded crazy and a little small, even compared to our old Fiberstream. But we’re inspired by Nikki! With gas prices staying high, living in a Prius or a smaller vehicle might be an option for you.
You’d have clear advantages, such as parking in a regular parking lot and blending in with other vehicles. Nikki also loves the climate control feature because she knows her dog will be fine if she has to run into the grocery store.
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