Guidelines for a peaceful Vanlife

  • Tidy up your van

When everything has it’s own particular place, it’s faster and easier to find stuff, and it will avoid a lot of irritation. In a small living-space, it is important to categorize everything (leisure, meals, electronics, clothes…) : try having a “system”, and put back your stuff where it belongs, everytime.
Your van can get quite dirty and messy in a very short period, but fortunately it is also quick to clean and tidy up… It usually takes us less than half an hour every 4/5 days.

  • Have everything you need, but not more

Lose all the superficial stuff! You won’t need that 4th pair of pants, hairdryer or toaster. The less you have, the happier you’ll be. Be sure though to take some stuff you really like and enjoy using…
For more on that, check out our article : “stuff you absolutely need in your van”.

  • Know your van

Garages are neither fun not cheap. In French, we would say “il vaut mieux prévenir que guérir” (it’s better to prevent than heal). Check your van before going on a long trip. Check the oil level every few weeks and refill if needed. Do an oil change every 5000-8000 miles. Check your air filter and change it if it’s dirty or every 10 000 miles. Check your tires every few weeks.
It’s also a good idea to buy the manual of your van, you’d be surprised how easy it is to fix a problem sometimes.

  • Trust your instincts

If you feel not safe sleeping somewhere, go somewhere else or ask someone! It is not fun to wake up and move in the middle of the night. For more on sleeping in your van, check out our article “Where to sleep for free”.
The same goes for roads you may or may not go on. Dirt, sand or gravel roads must be taken with precaution : check the weather forecast if you can, know how long the road is and where it will lead you, etc.

  • Don’t run out of food, water or gas

If you plan to go into the middle of nowhere, better be prepared and buy everything you need beforhand. Also, food and gas are cheaper when you are in or around a city.

  • Living together 24/7

When you are two or more, privacy is a questionable notion, so get used to doing things you wouldn’t be doing usually in front of your partner/friends (we won’t go into details, you’ll see). Our advice would be to laugh together rather than mock one another.
Be sure to give yourselves a break sometimes : it’s nice (and primordial) to have some mutual passions (for us, that would mostly be photography and hiking), but if Alex wants to go fishing and I want to read, that’s ok too.

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