Okay, living in a campervan or motorhome might sound romantic… but hold your horses there! Are you sure you’ve thought it through? Today, I'll walk you through some of the good and bad parts of full time van living, to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. So saddle up, and let’s go!
Hey-hey people! Stephen here, and today I’d like to talk about if you should actually LIVE in a motorhome.
There are, of course, so many romantic ideas about the lifestyle. Hey, I get it. You might have had a bad day at work and found yourself dreaming of getting away... or you might have been thinking about it for years. You might simply hate the office commute and want to work remotely, or you might be planning a full blown career overhaul to accompany your dream of moving into a van.
It’s a great idea… in principle. But in practice, is it for you? Have a look at these pros and cons below to help yourself decide (written in no particular order).
1. Con: it’s a turbulent lifestyle.
When living at home, you’ll likely find yourself in comfy routines. You’ve got stability, reliability, and you know what things will be like in the future. So if this is you and you want things to stay stable and comfy… that ain’t happening in a van! The good days are good, the bad days are bad. Expect turbulence. You wanted stories and adventures right? When you’re living on the road, that’s what you’ll get!
2. Pro: self growth.
There are so many opportunities for self-development. The difficulty in transitioning from one mode of living to another. The opportunities for really owning and tweaking your lifestyle until it fits you like a glove. Learning new practical skills. Gaining beneficial traits like time management and resourcefulness… in a van, you’ll find yourself developing QUICKLY. It’s inevitable: six months into full-time vanlife (or even, any full time travel) and you’ll find yourself looking back in awe at how far you’ve come. And you’ll see it everywhere. From your diet, to your wardrobe, to your bed time routine, everything will have gone under the magnifying glass as your lifestyle gradually optimises.
3. Pro: saving money.
This is a big one. For many people, vanlife may not be for pleasure but more a simple matter of economics. And to those people, I’d say… yep, it works just great. First off, the bills are significantly lower. Doubly so if you ain’t interested in travelling too much, with the biggest monthly expense being petrol. Then, if you’re set up with some nice shiny solar panels, electricity will be a doddle. Add a UV water filter to the mix, and you’re golden. There are a lot of practical and creative things like this that can be done with vanlife to chop expenses down like nobody’s business.
4. Con: lack of space.
Are you a minimalist? You will be! There isn’t much space, so especially if you’re intending to do this with a partner… make sure you’ve done a few test runs so you know what you’re in for before you start! You’ll be under a lot of new pressures and challenges, and there aren’t many places to go and have solo time in a motorhome… even less in the winter when going outside isn’t an option. Suddenly foldable containers and pans with removable handles will seem incredible, and buying most things that take up space will often be a joint decision.
5. Pro / Con: weather.
This is both good and bad depending on where you live and what you’re into. But generally speaking… weather in a van can be compared to the turbulence I mentioned earlier. Less average days, more good and bad days. Weather counts for a lot more when living in a motorhome than when you’re in a house, for example…
When it’s the middle of summer, it’ll be wonderful for road trips and exploring… but you may find that it can occasionally get way too hot inside.
Then when it rains, you’re kinda isolated. Board games and books it is then! However that's not the only downside to rain... you’ll need to make sure you can get out of mud too. A shovel and something to get you wheels some traction is practically a must if you’ll be off road.
And of course, snow makes a BIG difference if you’re driving a lot. You’ll need all-season tyres and some chains for driving in the snow and ice.
In short, much like life, expect lots of fluctuations. But if you’re prepared, you’ll be just fine!
6. Pro: mobility.
My personal favourite as a full time traveller is the mobility the lifestyle gives you. I know it sounds really obvious, but imagine it for a sec. If you want to be somewhere… with vanlife, you can just get up and go. There simply isn’t a great deal stopping you! You’re extremely flexible when it comes to visiting friends too. So if you’re tired of being cooped up in a house and want to start making every second count, this is going to be a massive one. The ability to do things relatively quickly and easily is wonderful.
7. Pro: nature.
Reconnecting to nature is also a big motivator for many people that are considering closing up shop and moving into a van, and with good reason. Being in nature has so many benefits. It’s great for your body with the sun giving you all that vitamin D, and the air is fresh and nice for your lungs. Needless to say you’ll have every opportunity to be active.
And there you have it! You’ll see that there are more pros than cons, but come on… I’m biased! Keep in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are so many more points to consider, too many to list in just this article. But two more pros are the reduced environmental impact, and the chance for more visits to distant friends and family...
Two more cons are the depreciation of your vehicle, and a lot of painful situations relating to internet. This one is particularly brutal for the remote workers and digital nomads out there. For some, you’ll also find that sounds are a big issue. Write now, as I type these words from my motel, I'm surrounded by 8 lanes of traffic, in addition to two other nearby roads. So if hearing strange sounds will make it difficult for you to sleep, make sure you have a way to address this!
And lastly, perhaps it won’t surprise you for me to say this… but I’d say that if you’re on the fence, just try it and see what happens. You only have one life, and experiences are more valuable than regrets! You can always have a test run first and see how that goes, and if you don't like it, simply switch back.
If you would like to rent a campervan or motorhome for a little while, why not click this link to book a motorhome for a short holiday, see how it goes?
See you on the road!