The wild, wonderful world of Vanlife awaits. Unsurpassed freedom, limitless adventure, and an array of rich experiences are just down the road. Though any Vanlifer will tell you it’s not all sunshine and double rainbows, we wouldn’t change it for a thing. This unconventional nomadic lifestyle will change you for the better and teach you things you never thought you needed to know. Today we share the challenges of Vanlife and their solutions!
Challenge: Let’s start with the basics and a common headache for beginner Vanlifers – finding a place to park! Parking your camper van can be a nightmare in big cities. Not only do you want to find somewhere safe, but also a legal spot so you don’t wake up to a stranger knocking on your window at 2 am telling you to move! Some cities prohibit overnight parking by law, and you’ll need to be aware of them before rolling into town.
Solution: The good news is this Vanlife challenge won’t last long – especially once you take advantage of your resources and become a pro on the road! Use the app iOverlander or Park4night to find safe, legal places to park. Harvest Hosts is another app where you can park in unique places like wineries and even outside of museums! There are also plenty of online communities for fellow Vanlifers where you can gain tips and wisdom from travelers who were once in the same boat as you. The golden rules of Van parking are simple; don’t overstay your welcome, and always respect the communities and the land wherever you overnight! That includes leave no trace.
Challenge: Stealth camping is precisely as it sounds – blending in overnight with your surroundings, especially in urban areas and residential streets. It can be tricky to know where to overnight when you’re in residential areas that are foreign to you, but help is on the way!
Solution: The great thing about B-Van builds is that they blend in beautifully on city roads. Are you a utility van? A home on wheels? No one has to know! As B-Vans are built on Promasters and Sprinters, they’re versatile and much more compact than bulky RVs. It’s nearly impossible to stealth with an RV! Park in places where other cars are parked, and don’t draw too much attention to yourself. iOverlander is loaded with stealth camping recommendations, and it’s constantly being updated by fellow Vanlifers on the road, oftentimes with photos.
Challenge: Less space means fewer material possessions you can bring along for the ride. Your board game collection and extensive plant babies may need to be minimized for the road, but there will still be room for your absolute favorites. This might seem like the end of the world to some, yet to many, there’s nothing more freeing than adopting a lifestyle of minimalism!
Solution: Make use of your B-Van’s generous storage spaces. From an abundance of drawers to the roomy garage to the cabinet spaces above the living areas – we know you’ll be surprised at just how much storage you still have to play with! It’s a good idea to bring stackable cookware and small space solutions to stay organized and tidy in your cozy home on wheels. This leads us to our next challenge!
Challenge: With limited space, it’s too easy for things to get lost and cluttered in the van. You need to find a system that works for you and stick to it for a seamless experience every time you travel.
Solution: Regularly sort through things you no longer need, and don’t let clutter build up. Whether labels or color coordination work best for you, find a system you enjoy using and stay with it. Over time the habits will stick, and you’ll never have to wonder where you left your van’s keys again! (Can you tell we’re speaking from experience?)
Challenge: Finding total privacy can be tricky, especially when you’re parked in public spaces like campgrounds and city roads or when you need to use the bathroom.
Solution: Make your van your private sanctuary. It is possible to black out your windows (we have super reliable, magnetic window coverings you can add to your build!) Use noise-canceling headphones to block out noise from the outside to ensure restful sleep. The best part of our builds? The private bathroom space. Several of our builds include a private indoor bathroom, and this is a game changer in feeling like you’re in a home on wheels!
You never have to worry about using a cringe public camp shower again. Our van bathrooms include refreshingly hot, high-pressure showers and portable chemical toilets that can be stored in the shower cabin or under the seat, depending on the build type. Our brand new to 2023 B-Loft build even includes a full-size RV wet bath with a built-in, flushable toilet! So many of our clients tell us this is their favorite van feature!
Challenge: Regular maintenance and repairs are necessary to keep your van running efficiently, but where can you go, and who can you trust to keep your van baby in tip-top shape?
Solution: Just like a car, it’s essential to regularly check your van’s tire pressure, brakes, and fluid levels. Keep your van clean and tidy from the inside out (check out some eco-friendly Vanlife solutions here!). We also recommend investing in a roadside assistance program for peace of mind.
Challenge: The road can be a lonely place at times! There will be days when you’ll see more corn stalks than people, and at times, it can be tough to build relationships while living a nomadic lifestyle.
Solution: There are many solutions to this challenge! The Vanlife community is one of the most friendly, eclectic, and open-hearted on the planet. The relationships you build on the road will shape you. You’ll often hear stories about how people who met in one town later ran into each other in another.
There are several Vanlife events and gatherings happening throughout the year (the Bemyvan crew will be at many of them!) And you can bet you’ll meet interesting folks who would love to share stories from the road with you. One of our clients, Rika, shared how Vanlife turned her once introverted self into a social butterfly! There is no shortage of opportunities to make friends. And you’ll see – having the van is an ice-breaker in itself! It’s a head-turner nonetheless, and people love to stop by and see what the B-Van build is like!
Honorable mention: Consider bringing along (or adopting) a furry friend! A pet is the perfect adventure buddy, not to mention a heater on chilly nights and an added security system. Our B-Vans are pet friendly and can even include pet doors. Check out our blog on Pet Travel while you’re here!
Challenge: Finding a reliable internet connection can be a real headache, especially when you’re out in the middle of nowhere! But that’s not exactly an excuse when you have a deadline or presentation due. Luckily, times are changing fast, and the future has arrived!
Solution: Our B-Vans are equipped with the latest technology to ensure you have a fast internet connection no matter where you go. Satellite internet via Starlink offers robust, reliable internet in even the most off-grid locations. If you’re traveling through cities and need to get your work done, we recommend adding the WeBoost Wi-Fi booster so you can take advantage of the city signals.
Every challenge has a solution, and one of the most exciting things about Vanlife is finding which works best for you! Think of life on the road as a puzzle. Put the pieces together, be patient with yourself, have fun along the way, and marvel at the masterpiece that is the life of adventure you’ve created!