Our Top Tips on How to Embrace Your Very Own Vanlife
After seven years of exploring life from my van, I’ve learned a lot. More than ever people are looking to break free from old ideas about living and wonder if jumping into vanlife is the right fit for them. Whether you’re planning to hit the road part-time or full-time, every vanlifer will have their own unique experience — that’s part of what we love about it! While where your journey eventually goes is up to you, we’ve got some advice and top tips on how to decide if living in a van should be the next step in your adventure.
Get ready to step out of your comfort zone
Hesitation about driving out into the unknown is a common reason why many people delay trying out vanlife. One of the best ways to get through the adjustment period is to make sure that your van feels like a safe space where you truly feel at home. After living full-time in different van models, our Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is our perfect home on wheels. It’s safe and reliable, so we have peace of mind no matter where we are. Plus, it’s simple to customize, so we feel comfortable and happy with our space designed just for us.
Having space to stand up and move quickly from the front to the living area at the back of the van is essential. Being able to do everything in your day — from your first cup of coffee to your bedtime routine — without stepping outside makes you feel like you’re not just sleeping in a van but living in your home on the road.
If you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself why you wanted to get into vanlife. What was missing? Why? Focus on everything your van adds to your new way of life and how it fulfills you.
Find a balance for your life on the road
Just like life in a more traditional home, we’ve had our share of ups and downs. Striking the right balance between working remotely, taking care of chores, raising our baby, and appreciating the scenery around you isn’t always easy.
Our top tip: actively work at finding the best work-life balance so you can enjoy each day in your van to the fullest. Here are the mindsets we think can benefit any budding vanlifers out there:
● Be adaptable: you never know what the next day holds
● Be curious: don’t ever forget that vanlife is about exploring and discovering new things
● Be open-minded: meeting new friends on the road is one of the things we love most
● Be patient: good things come to those who wait
● Be organized: vanlife is not all fun and games, and you still need to get things done
● Be resourceful: transform problems into opportunities to learn
● Be spontaneous: have fun and let the world tell you what comes next
In the end, be open to finding out what truly makes you happy and stick with it.
Slow down and be aware of how you spend your time
One of the most important lessons vanlife has taught us is that the only thing you can’t buy is time. If you want to live your life to the fullest and cherish every second of it, then vanlife might be for you.
Since you can work from anywhere, create your ideal schedule and shift things around to sync with your day. We usually try to hit the road while others work, so traffic is less heavy. If we hit a traffic jam, instead of sticking rigidly to the plan and getting stuck on the highway, we just take the next exit and find a new route.
Staying on top of your schedule is a superpower, and the more you master this skill, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the time you save.
Sometimes, you just have to go for it
You won’t know if living in a van is made for you until you try it. If you need a helping hand before planning your first road trip, we always stand by these quick tips for first-time vanlifers:
● Always go further (safely!) on minor roads or paths to find the most breathtaking views and spots others might have passed by
● You don’t have to start full-time right away — find your own pace
● Never skip maintenance appointments for your van
● Always plan more time to get from point A to point B than the GPS is telling you
● Don’t fill up your van with things you don’t need
● Never forget how important personal space can be