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Is Van Life Difficult?

Key takeaways

Vanlife is a rewarding experience, but it comes with a few difficulties. If you’re considering living on the road, you should prepare for these challenges:

  • Negative stigma: People who don’t understand vanlife will likely judge you for it. Dealing with the negative social stigma can be mentally exhausting at times. Even though vanlife is a lot more popular nowadays, it’s still stigmatized by many people.
  • Finding a bathroom: While you don’t have to worry about finding a functional bathroom in a residential home, this can be quite a challenge for vanlifers. Unless your conversion van has a toilet, you’ll have to rely on public restrooms.
  • Parking: You may not have to pay rent or a mortgage for your van, but you will need to locate parking spots. This involves researching where to park your van, studying laws on living in your van, and occasionally paying parking fees.
  • Repairs: Just like regular homes, vans need repairs sometimes. The difference is, you may not be able to use your van at all if the repair need is serious and they may add significant cost to your travel budget.
  • Limited space: Even the largest cargo vans have fairly limited space. Prepare to leave behind some of your favorite amenities, make do with a small supply of clothes and go on frequent grocery store runs.
  • Bad weather: In a residential home, you can just curl up indoors during a rainy or snowy day. When you’re living in a van, however, bad weather can derail your travel plans. You may need to change your plans, find emergency parking spots or dig your vehicle out of snow banks.
  • Building Your Van: Building out a van yourself can be extremely challenging. Many would-be vanlifers underestimate just how challenging it can be to complete projects like window installations, plumbing, and electrical setups.
  • Lack of Stability: One of the more challenging aspects of living on the road is the lack of stability. Even just simple things like receiving mail and packages or finding a place to hangout without feeling like you are being intrusive can weigh on people.

Related: When Did Van Life Start?

Ultimately, vanlife can be fairly difficult, especially if you’re used to all the comforts a traditional home brings. However, as long as you understand and prepare for these difficulties, you should have no problem overcoming them.


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