Van life appeals to different people for different reasons. Maybe you’re attracted to the freedom of the lifestyle, or the simplicity. Whatever initially draws you to van travel, it’s worth seriously considering this way of life.
In this post, we’re sharing eight key reasons people decide to become van dwellers. The factors on this list largely apply to both full-time and part-time van life. Keep reading to see which reasons resonate most with you.
What is Van Life?
Let’s start with the basics–van life is an alternative lifestyle that involves living and traveling in camper vans which are usually outfitted with creature comforts like beds, kitchens, and bathrooms. With a van, you get to travel wherever you like, from cities to remote nature, while carrying everything you need in a cozy space you’ve customized to suit your needs. It is one of the best ways to explore the United States and neighboring countries affordably. You can also enjoy van life overseas by shipping your rig or renting/buying a van in another country. Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into why van life is so appealing to so many people.
Have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure when you travel in a camper van. You can spend a month, a year, or a decade exploring every destination on your wish list. The places you’ll see and the people you’ll meet will be unforgettable, as will the small daily pleasures of living and traveling in a van. If you’ve been itching for an exciting change in your life, van life might be just the thing for you. This lifestyle is well-suited for people who like to forge their own paths and constantly experience new things.
Many people are also drawn to the minimalist aspects of van life. Full-time van life in particular requires you to downsize your living space and possessions. Many modern nomads see this incentive to simplify as a pro rather than a con of the lifestyle. Choosing mindfully to live with fewer possessions prevents stress and leads to a more positive outlook.
Experiences over Things
When you give up the urge to collect the newest gadgets, endless clothes, and other items that you think you need at the moment of purchase, you achieve freedom. You are free from the clutter that takes up precious space in your mind. You are free to spend your money and time on experiences you’ll remember forever, rather than the fleeting high of purchasing material possessions. Research backs this up, showing that people are happier when they spend the same amount of money on experiences rather than belongings. Van life facilitates this choice because you have limited space for physical objects, but limitless new experiences available at all times.
Along with a more minimalist lifestyle comes some major eco-friendly benefits. These benefits come from buying fewer things, conserving resources like water and electricity, and even wasting less food because you’ll grocery shop more often. Yes, driving your rig around can use a lot of gas, but you can travel more sustainably by staying for longer at each destination. Vans with solar panels take the eco-friendliness of the lifestyle to the next level by producing renewable energy for all your daily home needs. Looking for more tips for environmentally-sound van life? Check out our post.
Van life has become a popular way for people to take their financial futures into their own hands. The lifestyle can be more affordable than renting and is one of the cheapest ways to travel long-term. This lower cost of living allows you to invest and save more of your income, meaning you could retire earlier. Or soak up the benefits now by working part-time and achieving your dream work-life balance. Either way, your wallet (and stress levels) will thank you.
In addition to being an affordable mode of travel, van life is one of the most flexible ways to adventure. When you book flights, rental cars, and hotels in advance, you are beholden to your original plan. With van life, you can stay longer at the places you fall in love with, and head out early if you’re not a fan. While some campgrounds and RV parks require advance booking, there is no shortage of places to stay at a moment’s notice, from local RV resorts to BLM land. You can even stay for free in big box store parking lots in a pinch. This means you can go with the flow when traveling and get the most out of your journey.
If you’re an avid camper, consider van life as an upgrade to your camping game. You’ll still get to enjoy peaceful campgrounds at national parks and other natural marvels. The upgrade? You’ll find yourself able to stay longer at these inspiring locations. This comes down to being more comfortable in your van, from having a plush bed to protection from the elements. You can also access electricity and plumbing even when boondocking with the right van set up.
Whether you’re traveling solo or with companions, van life will lead to some powerful social connections. If you’re adventuring with a partner or your family, you’ll get closer through sheer proximity, quality time, and the lasting memories you’ll make together. Solo van dwellers also have plenty of opportunities to meet interesting and like-minded people on their travels, some of which can become lifelong friends. Curious how this works? Check out “8 Tips to Meet and Connect with Fellow Van Dwellers.” When you become a van dweller, you are joining a thriving community that comes together multiple times a year for various festivals and events.
There are many reasons to love van life, but one of the biggest is that you’ll get the best aspects of both traveling and home life. Van adventurers get to see new things constantly, or stick around for a while. Their itinerary is completely flexible. And the stressful blur of going from one hotel to another? Gone. Instead, you get to keep everything you want and need in a cozy space that is designed just how you like it.
If you’re feeling inspired to begin your van life journey, check out Rec Van today to browse our collection of new and pre-owned camper vans from industry-leading companies.