Ultimate Guide to Van Life

Ultimate Guide to Van Life

The ultimate guide to Van Life

This is a guide to Van Life. I hope I can help y’all with it. If you have any further questions just write a comment. There will be a new section for your question. Let’s make a huge Guide to Van Life together. Is that a plan?

I love traveling.

A lot of people can relate to this statement.

But traveling is (most of the time) pretty expensive. That’s why most people can only afford to travel once a year. Or they can’t afford it at all. That’s sad. Because traveling is in my view pretty important. Why? You can read that here.

Van Life is a cheap (well that depends) but pretty comfortable solution for this problem. Of course, not everyone gets to do it. And especially not everyone wants to do it. But from my point of view, it’s perfect. I hate flying and I don’t like hotels either.

So what is this thing called Van Life?

I have a really easy explanation for this question. It means you live in a van. You eat in there, sleep in there and drive it to the places you want to go. Seems pretty cool, doesn’t it? You park it wherever you want for the night. (Well also not where ever, we will see this one later) Or if you can afford more and are afraid of staying just somewhere, you park it on a Campsite.



  1. Getting started

    1. Build or buy?

    2. What Van to buy?

    3. How to make money while traveling

    4. What is legal and what isn’t

    5. Insurances

  2. Safety

    1. The safety in rural areas

    2. The safety in urban areas

  3. Everyday tasks

    1. Showering and Peeing while living in a van

    2. Where to get water and gas

    3. Where to get rid of the trash

    4. How to get energy

    5. How to cook in a van

    6. How to wash your clothes

    7. How to find the perfect spot for the night

    8. How to get cheap mobile Wifi

    9. How to stay warm but not too warm

  4. Links


Getting started

Build or buy?

That’s a big question. Buy a pre built camper or design your own home? For me personally, that’s not a tricky question. I know enough people, who are ready to help me converting an old van to a beautiful (almost new) camper. And a big reason to do it on your own is that you know later how to fix it. Or at least you know which people to call. They can mostly help you just by having a look on it via skype. That could save you a lot of money.

What Van to buy?

There are some requirements that a van for Van Life should fulfill in my opinion. These are:

  • You should be able to stand in it comfortably
  • But the van shouldn’t be too big
  • The van shouldn’t be too old, especially if you rebuild the interior by yourself. You don’t want to do this every year.
  • A bed should fit in the Van
  • You should be able to cook in the van when it’s raining outside

That are just a few points that I think are important. Yours can, of course, be different.

How to make money while traveling

That’s pretty easy. All you need is mobile internet. Okay, it’s not that easy, but there are a lot of possibilities to make money while traveling. Blogging is just one of them. You can also be a freelancer, that means you provide a service, which people are willing to pay for. Like translating or programming websites or drawing or animating an ad clip for businesses. There are unlimited possibilities. You can also sell stuff you do by your own. Jewelry as an example or photographs or crafts.

There are also “normal” jobs out there, you can do at home. So if the Van is your home, who could stop you?

What is legal and what isn’t

In Sweden, Norway and Scotland exist the Everyman’s Right that guarantees that you can park your van right at the beach. That’s one thing I know, I can’t help you with many others but look for yourself before you visit the country that’s actually the best way.


Travel Insurance – You will see that a backpacker insurance is the best (and mostly only) option for long-term traveling.

For the Van, it’s best when it’s classified as a motorhome, because the motorhome insurance is a little cheaper than a car insurance.



The safety in rural areas

Well, that depends. In my opinion, it’s a lot safer to just stay somewhere in a forest or something then go on a fix Campsite. I mean how many guys who want to break in somewhere go in the forest at night to search well-hidden campers in the dark. When they just can go somewhere on a Campsite and break-in there. I don’t think many. But still, there’s a risk. I’ll link you some posts about some topics at the end of the post.

The safety in urban areas

I am not planning to sleep in the van in more urban regions. Because it is actually too unsafe for me. I know in most bigger villages and smaller cities it’s not that bad, but I think I wouldn’t like it. I have already problems sleeping in a hotel when it’s noisy outside. So I don’t want to know how sleeping in a car is, when it’s noisy. So it’s not my thing. But as I mentioned above I’ll leave you an article also about sleeping at urban places.


Everyday tasks

Showering and Peeing while living in a van

A tricky question… Peeing shouldn’t be that difficult. There are public toilets basically everywhere and if that doesn’t help there are also a lot of forests. And if that doesn’t work either there are chemical toilets or a peeing bottle. And yes peeing bottles do work for women too. You just need the right tools. Like She Pee.

Showering is trickier. It’s always good to have a solar camp shower. You find them easily on Amazon or so. I also found a thing called RinseKit. But there the water needs to be pressurized already when you fill it in. That’s something you can’t really do while camping. Another idea is to clean yourself in a river. But then you need to forget soap because the bio degradation doesn’t work that well there.

But especially in winter, all those methods don’t work that well. A lot of people have an abonnement in a fitness studio to shower there or the alternatives are:

  • Not showering at all
  • Go south
  • Go home

Another thing that only women experience once a month, could be kind of annoying too. Especially because of the fact that you don’t have always a toilet right aside you. In this case, I’d highly recommend changing from tampons and sanitary pads to a menstrual cup. I like the ones from Me Luna, they have a pretty big assortment and also have the shortys for women with gynecological conditions.

Where to get water and gas

You can get water at every campsite you stay or also in most RV parks. You can also buy gallons of water in some stores. For water to drink I would use a water filter and purifier.

And well you can buy gas almost everywhere, just google it and there you are.

Where to get rid of the trash

You can get rid of trash basically everywhere you fill up your water and you’ll also find some garbage collections on your way.

How to get energy

You can’t just come with the battery of the Van and think that’s enough. It’s not! Some use the gas as energy. Don’t ask me how that works. I just read it somewhere. But that’s no option for me because I will not use gas. Because I forget things quickly and I don’t want my Van to explode.

My favorite way to look for energy is solar patterns. Some good ones down there.

How to cook in a van

Cooking in a van is not that hard if you use gas, but as I mentioned, I don’t like this. So the only option I found is cooking outside. But for this, I found pretty cool tools. Like the Enki stove or BioLite CampStove 2. On rainy days I can just eat raw, I do neither eat meat nor eggs, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

How to wash your clothes

I just say wash salon. Of course, you can wash them by yourself. Also for this, I found a cool tool. But especially in urban areas, I would recommend a wash salon.

How to find the perfect spot for the night

You can either search it while you’re driving or you plan ahead. You can look for a barbecue area on google maps or you can use an application. This could be MeinWoMo or park4night or Campinmygarden.

How to get cheap mobile Wifi

My top one method is to buy a SIM card in the country you are at this moment and get you data on this. Then use your phone to give wifi to your other devices. Or you go to McDonald’s or something and use the free WiFi there.

How to stay warm but not too warm

My solution staying warm in winter is dressing warmly. I know that sounds stupid. but it’s the truth. If you plan to stay in winter in the Van the most important thing is, that you have warm clothes with you. Another cool thing is an Electric Heated Sleeping bag.

For the hot days, I found a pretty cool project called Zero Breeze. I hope that it works like they describe it because that would be awesome.



Safety and Security

Urban Places

Working from home

Peeing for girls – She Pee

Showering – RinseKit

Periode – Me Luna

Sleeping – MeinWomo

Sleeping – park4night

Sleeping – Campinmygarden

Cooking – Enki Stove

Cooking – CampStove 2 by BioLite

Power – Lycan Powerbox

Cool down – Zero Breeze

Heated Sleeping Bag

Water Filter and Purifier


None of these links are Affiliate Links.

Picture from Pixabay

One Comment

  • Ina Ritenour

    Kinda surprised not to see Hydrapak Stash since it’s very minimal in it’s unused size and comes from a good company (hydration packs). Nice read… I do need to add a few more good bottles to my collection.

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