So as you probably know, Zak and I have chosen to live in a van full time. When we tell people that we get all sorts of responses but most of them are: “How did you do that?” and “I would love to do that, but I don’t have _______”.
Giving up your conventional life to live in a van, whether it is full time or part time, is not only scary, but it is a deeply personal choice. Nobody can tell you what is right for your life. So, our suggestion is that you go ahead and take some time to yourself and/or time with your partner to figure out all of the reasons why you truly want to pursue this lifestyle. Zak and I did this before starting our own journey, and you can take a look at that blog post here.
Your Time Frame
Once you have figured out why you want to live on the road, ask yourself: “What is my time frame?” Do you want to be on the road indefinitely? 3 years? 1 year? 6 months? Less?
Our suggestion: If you want to adventure in the van for anything less than a year, renting may be a smart way to go. Buying and building out a van can be expensive, and once you’re done on the road, reselling the van can be tough. So, renting can give you more financial flexibility. There are a lot of sites out there for renting vans such as Outdoorsy, RV Share, and Escape Campervans.
Are you looking to be out on the road for an extended period? There are lots of buying options for vans that you may want to look into.
Types of Vans
There are a ton of vehicles that people convert and live out of and they can range from just a few thousand dollars (USD) total all the way up to $375,000…
Some of the smaller I have seen are Kia Souls, Transit Connect Vans, Mini Vans, and Ford Escapes. Except for the Transit Connects, these cars are usually SUVs that people were already using as a regular vehicle. While these are very convenient, and pretty cheap (in comparison to other options), there’s really only room for one person.
Some of the cheaper, but slightly larger options are the low-roof models of vans like a Ford E350, Volkswagen Vanagon, or even a low roof Ford Transit or Ram Promaster. These are much longer/ more space than the above options, which are basically just trunks. The only issue that some people have with these is that most people cannot stand up inside of the van. You can decide if that bothers you or not.
Lastly, there are the high roof vans. These are usually anywhere from 6’2″ to 6’5″ in height, so most people can stand up in these. These are the most popular options for vanlifers, and generally what you see on Instagram or TikTok. The most popular models are Ram Promasters (Zak and I have this one), Ford Transits, and Mercedes Sprinters. I’m sure that I am missing other options, but these are the ones that I have heard of the most.
As far as I know, there are three options for converting your van. Firstly, you can convert it yourself, which (usually) takes the least amount of money and the most amount of time. Secondly, you can get the van converted by someone else. Lastly, you can buy the van pre-converted (least amount of time, usually most amount of money).
Zak and I built out our van ourselves for a few reasons. We wanted something that really worked for our lifestyle, and we also wanted to know how it was all put together, so if something broke, we could fix it without having to bring it to a professional. If you are looking to get your van converted, then you can usually find a small van business near you that would do it. If you are looking to buy a band new van pre-converted, you can buy them through Winnebago or van build another company. Lastly, if you are looking to buy a used van, you can try sites like Vanlife Trader.
Okay! I think that’s all the info I have for you. If you want to know more about vanlife, check out our Vanlife Jounral. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to shoot us a message via our contact page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.