*This contributor post written by for us Olivia Moore of Top Tool Advisor!
It is no secret that the prices of property are skyrocketing and incomes are not increasing as much in proportion to keep up with these surging prices. Besides paying for the house itself, there is an additional expense in its maintenance. For instance, paying for water and energy bills is expensive. All these expenses can burn a sizable hole in your pocket.
This is why more and more people are looking for living spaces that are not only affordable but also cost way less to maintain in comparison. Camper vans are one such option. There are a ton of financial benefits when you choose to live in a camper van. To begin with, no mortgage! Heard you say, YAY! But that's not all. In order to set everything up, the initial cost is far less. Should you choose to remodel the space, the costs are significantly less. Also, since the living space is small, you will obviously have a smaller area to maintain. You will also wind up needing much fewer resources for the upkeep of a camper van. For example, camper vans offer better insulation. So cooling down or heating up the living space will consume much less energy in comparison.
Another great benefit of living in a camper van is that it offers you the freedom of mobility. Camper vans are built to endure a variety of weather conditions, wind, rain, and debris that a vehicle may encounter when in long transit. This makes it ideal for exploring great places in the comfort of your home. You get to take in the scenic landscapes, experience beautiful sunrises, and sunsets. However, when your living quarters are three and a half square meters and on wheels, there can be a number of challenges that you are likely to face. Here is our list of the top five tips to see you through those challenges.
Don't bite each other's head off
Camper van life can take a toll on relationships. With the space being small, there are a lot of limitations. To begin, have an honest discussion about what your expectations are with regards to living in a van. Split the duties or take turns. For instance, if one of you is the better cook, then the other can take on the responsibility of cleaning. Take turns at driving. If you are planning on visiting a place, it would be a great idea to discuss in advance so that you have expectations aligned. Chart out an itinerary with the places you want to halt at during the haul.
No, that isn't a spell from Harry Potter. It is in fact, one of the core values that the camper van life is built on. With limited space, you are quite obviously not going to be able to carry everything from your wardrobe, kitchen and living room, with you. Differentiate between what is essential and what is not. Only take along items that will serve some purpose or you will only be making an already small place even smaller. You can check our collection of durable and high-quality clothes and accessories.
Great van + great tools = life saver + relationship saver
Purchasing a van is a one-time investment. You might as well do it right. Start by doing your research and assessing your budget. A brand-new van (or even brand-new AND converted) is great for those who can afford it. However, many people go the pre-owned route due to cost and/or the ability to convert it the way they want. If you go with a pre-owned van, make sure it is in good enough shape to last (remember, you’ll be putting lots of miles on this baby!) and be sure to bargain for a good deal. You can then spend that saved money on bringing it to top condition! (This blog is a great resource for Ford Transit and Sprinter van conversions.) Before embarking on a long haul, always make sure to check if everything is smooth with the van. You will save yourself a lot of frustration and shouting at one another because your vehicle broke down.
In case you do have a vehicle break down, you are going to require a good tool kit to fix things up so that you can be up and about quickly. Invest in good quality tools that can last you for years to come. One of the important tools you are going to need probably on a daily basis is a good-quality wheel lock. You may like a particular site and decide to camp there for the night, not realizing your van is on a slope. And then you find out in the morning that your van has slid due to the slope. To avoid such instances, it is ideal to use a wheel lock. Since wheel locks arrest the movement of the wheels, your van is also safe from theft.
There will be times when you will park your camper van in parking lots that are designated for RV and camper van parking. With many other camper vans around, the place is bound to be buzzing with noise. If you are tired from all the driving and want to rest or take a nap, the noise around you will probably keep you from getting those forty winks. For times like these, acoustic curtains can come very handy. Acoustic curtains absorb sound and also control unwanted echo. These curtains help you maintain a peaceful environment in your camper van. Besides sound absorption, they also serve the basic purpose of every other curtain - protecting your privacy and keeping the sunlight out. You can even check tips on how to sound deaden your vehicle so that others are not disturbed.
Keep the HANGRY away
Imagine this, your vehicle broke down on the way or you arrived at the campground / designated parking lot/destination you had in mind, much later than you had expected. Being stuck in traffic or missing a turn / taking a wrong turn has caused you to get all tried and frustrated and hungry. Any of the above-mentioned scenarios can and will happen at some point and leave you feeling grumpy. What's worse is that despite all this, you will need to cook your meal for the next few minutes or so.
Moments like these can be extremely fragile and must be handled with extreme caution and patience. To prevent the hangry situation, ensure you have plenty of snacks stocked up. One easy to make and store snack are these nut butter energy bites! Also, you can stock up on meal preps or ready to eat meals as a backup for those times when you are too tired to cook.
Do you have any other suggestions or must-haves on your own Van Life list?! Share in the comments below!