Pros and cons of vanlife
‘It’s everyone’s dream to live like that!’
‘Living in a campervan? Are you crazy?!’
‘Wow! Amazing! I want to do it too!’
‘Really? Are serious? That’s fantastic.’
‘I even don’t want to think about it.’
People reacted for our idea of vanlife in many different ways. People on Internet also had their own opinions. We didn’t want to listen to anyone. Just try. Because everything can be great for one person and horrible for another.
After a few months of living like that we have a lot of thoughts about it. First of all your experience depends on the country in which you travel, season, weather and random situations. However there are some main pros and cons which we listed below.
- Independence –> You can go whenever and wherever you want to. Just wake up and go.
- Amazing views –> There is nothing better than waking up and drinking morning coffee in a beautiful nature. Sun, mountains, sea. Everyday something different. The same with evenings. Watching sunsets in beautiful places became our routine.
- Own (comfortable) bed –> Many people cannot sleep well in someone else’s bed. When you stay in a hotel or hostel it can be nice but sometimes you can regret the decision, because sleeping is impossible. We had these situations before so we thougth about it. Our bed in a campervan is very comfortable. We love sleeping in it.
- You don’t have to pack your luggage –> You can travel from one place to another with all neccesery things with you and don’t have to think about packing and unpacking.
- You have your home with you –> At the beginning it can be unbelivable but after some time you really feel in a campervan like at home. Whenever you sit there you feel like at home. And even if you are not very home person, when you travel a lot, sometimes you just need it.
- You can have your favourite things while being in travel –> When people travel usually they have to take only the most important things. When you are a vanlifer you can have much more favourite things. Example? Favourite mug, blanket, teddy bear, dress, book.
- Freedom –> When you don’t like a place in which you are, you just go away. When you love it you can stay for as long as you want to.
- People –> You can meet many amazing people. Some of them are vanlifers, some other travellers, some just came to your place for a walk and you meet them. You can talk with them for 5 minutes and forget or make friendships for a longer time.
- No stress with booking rooms –> You don’t have to worry about dates, prices, locations and other details of rooms to rent in places you want to visit. You can just go there and stop.
- Own toilet in public places –> Who doesn’t know the moment when the need of pee is very big and there is no toilet in a public place? I hate this feeling. So as a vanlifer I can just go to a van and use my toilet (of course if you have it there – we have).
- Stock of water and food –> Like at home, in a campervan you have some stock of food and water so whenever you are hungry or thirsty you can open a fridge or cupboard and take something. Wherever you are: in a forest, town, by lake, on the road. And you can prepare warm food or coffee whenever you need it. I love it 😉
- Dogs –> We usually travel with dogs. And if you also do it you know that it is sometimes a problem to find a proper place in which you can stay with your pet. But it is possible to manage this situation. Bigger problem is when you want to go sightseeing and dogs (or cats) are not allowed in some public places. Then you don’t know what to do. And if you have a campervan you can just leave animals inside (of course only when temperature inside is ok) and go sightseeing. Then take them and go for a walk together. And then go to sleep in a car without thinking about pet friendly hotel. Nothing better!
- Some privacy everywhere –> If you have your home with you you can stop it in the middle of the city and feel comfortable. You can change your clothes or take a nap whatever happens outside.
- No plans –> If you don’t like planning, vanlife is a perfect solution for you. You can just do what you want to in the moment. And you are all the time at home. And in travel at the same time. You don’t have to plan anything. Just live!
- Little space –> Obvious, I think. It’s not as big problem as it seems to be because during vanlife you spend a lot of time outside. You often have your own ‘private garden’ or you just do outdoor things. But when it’s colder or you are just tired and want to spend some time in a car, you feel the lack of space.
- Limited electricity –> We have solar panel and big batteries so we’ve always had enough electricity but we have to remember about limits and that you cannot charge all your devices at the same moment.
- Limited Internet –> When you visit different countries you have to think about it. Your mobile internet is very limited abroad and buying it in every country is a different adventure. And it’s never unlimited.
- Cold water –> We know that in campervans there are many different solutions but in our one we don’t have any water heating system. If we need warm water we use a kettle. Also when we want to take a shower we have to boil some water and add it to a tank.
- Clean & dirty water –> Water is also limited of course. When you see that you’re running out of it you need to find a source. It’s not a very difficult task to be honest. But you have to think about it. The same with dirty water which you should pour out in designated places.
- All the time in public places –> Even if you stop a campervan in the middle of nowhere, on the field or in forrest it is not your private area. You are in public all the time. Usually it’s not a big problem but after some time of travelling we started to appreciate privacy.
- Need of life organisation –> Everything has to be organised in vanlife. Things have to be done in correct order. You cannot buy too many things because you will not have space to keep them. You need to find water in a good moment. You should charge batteries when sun shines and not when it’s rain. You need to clean kitchen immediatly after cooking. And throw away trash when you see a bin. And so on. There are many activities which you have to keep in mind and do in planned way.
- Use time for basics –> Basic activities like these mentioned in previous point use a lot of time. Preparing toilet lasts, preparing shower also. Changing water tanks of course too.
- Uncomfortable bathroom –> It’s so nice to have a bathroom during vanlife. Not everyone has one. We cannot imagine living without it so we built a simple space with shower and toilet in our campervan. But it’s not the same as normal bathroom. So sometimes we miss using it.
- Driving a lot –> At the beginning we thought we would stay longer in one place and not drive a lot. But it doesn’t work like that. Almost each day you move somewhere and after some time you can see on the odometer that the number is growing very fast.
- Broken things –> If you think that in a flat things get broken too often you should try vanlife! All the time something breaks down. And usually you have to repair it immediately. Or look for a shop to buy something. And it’s not always so easy.
- Driving a big car –> Van is a big vehicle. Maybe not every but ours certainly is. It makes it hard to manouver in narrow streets and tight spaces. And you have to think about height limits too. Also driving itself is sometimes very tiring. Especially when there is a wind or you are driving through mountains. Size and weight of this thing can just be felt and it’s not always pleasant.
- Security –> We don’t think vanlife is unsafe way of travelling. But if you want it to be safe you really have to have this topic in the back of your head all the time. Van is a place where you keep all of your belongings, so you really don’t want someone to break into it and steal your things. Therefore when you plan to go sightseeing, walking or just stay for the night somewhere you always ask yourself if it is safe enough here? Sometimes you are not sure, but you just lock your car and go, because there is really no other option to see some place.
Vanlife has many pros and cons. I don’t know if I mentioned everything what is important – if not, I will add something later. For sure it’s not perfect but it’s a very interesting and exciting way of live. Absolutely worth to try if you ever think about it! 🙂