Living in a Camper Van: Pros and Cons

It can be easy to get caught up in the beautiful idea of Van life. I know because I’ve done it! All of the Instagram posts, YouTube videos, and Pinterest photos showcase the most glamorous aspects of living in a camper van, but like everything else, there is a downside.

It is important to work through all of your options when making a big decision like purchasing a van to convert. I want to make sure you are aware of the ups and the downs that come with this lifestyle.

If you are considering selling everything in favor of living in your van down by the river, consider these 5 pros and cons.

Living in a camper van

Living in a Camper Van Pro #1

You can travel anywhere you want and stay for the price of a camp spot or for free! This is probably the biggest selling point of van life. No more outrageous hotel rooms or AirBNBs because you have your own cozy home with you at all times.

Living in a Camper Van Con #1

Not every camping spot will be glamorous. Walmart parking lots, rest stops, and truck stops are commonly the only places available to sleep while traveling from one destination to the next.

It is wise to use an app such as iOverlander to find a place to make camp for the night on your way to your destination and once you get there.

Living in a camper van

Living in a Camper Van Pro #2

You have the freedom to go anywhere you want whenever your heart desires. If you especially love a spot, you can stay a few more days… or weeks. If you aren’t feeling your new digs, you can pack up and be somewhere new before the sun sets!

Living in a Camper Van Con #2

Gas costs money. Having the freedom to go anywhere on the continent only works if you have the gas to get you there. If you are traveling full time while living in a camper van, your income will not be as consistent as it was when you were chained to that desk.

Learn how to budget for your road trip here!

Living in a camper van

Living in a Camper Van Pro #3

With Van life, you can work for yourself and make your own rules as you go. If you love to take pictures, you could do freelance photography. Love to write? Start a blog! There are plenty of opportunities to get paid for what you love while you’re on the road.

RoamRight travel insurance

Living in a Camper Van Con #3

Starting your freelance career can be a tedious process. Whether you want to be a photographer, writer, or exotic interpretive dancer, you will have to build a portfolio and experience before you start making real money. It’s not impossible, but like all things, it takes time and effort.

Living in a Camper Van Pro #4

No more rent payment! Even though you probably won’t be bringing in a consistent paycheck (at first) you won’t have to worry about a big chunk of your money going towards your housing, water bill, power, wifi, etc. Your bills will diminish big time while living in a camper van!

Living in a Camper Van Con #4

Even though your housing costs have disappeared, that doesn’t mean that you no longer have financial responsibilities. A number of those bills you left behind will be replaced with gas costs, insurance, vehicle maintenance, and other surprise expenses.

Living in a camper van

Living in a Camper Van Pro #5

You will be able to explore all of the places you never thought you would get to experience when living in a camper van. You will be ticking off that bucket list like it’s going out of style, AND you will be making like-minded friends along the way!

Living on the road can be lonely, but more times than not you meet people who are living for the same values that you are, and that is invaluable.

Living in a Camper Van Con #5

You will most likely spend a good stretch of time away from your family. This is especially true if most of them live in one place. It can be difficult for some people to be gone for months at a time and could potentially cause conflict with those you love.

There are ups and downs to being a nomad and living in a camper van, as there are with any lifestyle. If living and traveling in a conversion vehicle is truly something you want for your life, you will take the good with the bad and keep on trucking…. Or vanning?

You get what I’m saying!

Anyway, don’t let the cons scare away from an amazing experience, and don’t the pros cloud your judgment and trick you into thinking Vanlife is nothing but beautiful scenery and sunset pictures! It is what you make it!

Share some of your van life pros and cons in the comments! We’re always learning from each other!

Happy travels, friends!


Comments

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  • 1 year agoReply

    […] Check out the pros and cons of van life here! […]

  • Susanna

    1 year agoReply

    Thanks for being real and sharing the downsides of van life as well. My husband and I are buying a van next spring. We will keep our apartment and use it for long term road trips around Europe, so this was super helpful. I’m actually most worried about the confined space and we’re not even selling all out things. As a photographer and blogger, I am excited to be able to take some amazing photos and be inspired by the places we see. As you said, I can do whatever I want!

  • Elizabeth

    1 year agoReply

    A lot of these pros and cons remind me of life as a nomad in general. I agree that starting a freelance career takes a lot of time and effort! I travel by public transport around the world so I always have to relay on the schedules, having the freedom to go where I want when I want with a van would be a huge plus.

    • Tasha

      1 year agoReply

      I’m sure traveling by public transport is an adventure in itself. Having a van will allow us to live off grid with solar power and always have our home with us!

  • Indrani

    1 year agoReply

    Van life is something I want to experience at least once in life time. Just for a month will. The pros and cons explained very well in this. Stay at a camp spot or for free is indeed very tempting. May be renting out my assets for a short period will be good option to experience this kind of life.

    • Tasha

      1 year agoReply

      We did it for two weeks in a minivan before we took the plunge and bought our Sprinter.

  • Kristy Bullard

    1 year agoReply

    My husband worked out-of-town for two years and we stayed in a camper. It was fun! The walls seemed to close in on us, but it forced us to go outside and do some exploring!

    • Tasha

      1 year agoReply

      I think the limited space is the best excuse to seek new adventures!

  • Blairvillanueva

    1 year agoReply

    The idea of can camping is very tempting. It could be convenient for travel and accommodation. However, the idea of how to get a relieve is still tricky for me. Still having a van is cool.

    • Tasha

      1 year agoReply

      A lot of people use a composting toilet!

  • Amrita

    1 year agoReply

    This is quite an insightful post. While living in a campervan sounds pretty exciting for travellers and nomads like us, but we usually never think about the cons. As you said, there is freedom in campervan life and also some limitations. Anyone who wants to plunge into this life must think about both. I am not sure whether I will be able to do this. Even after being a nomad, I love my home after months of travel!

    • Tasha

      1 year agoReply

      It definitely requires commitment!

  • Ami Bhat

    1 year agoReply

    Reading this made me realize how different and in some ways, a little tough is life on a camper van. No doubt you do not have big bills but then there is the steady part of the income that you will miss. It is a break from lot of norms and the usual mindset. In fact, this post has made me get a new found respect for the nomads

    • Tasha

      1 year agoReply

      Thank you!

  • daniel

    1 year agoReply

    I always wanted to own a Camper but didn’t have a clue where to initiate. I assume there’s a downside to every good thing but regardless of anything, I think it is a really cool way to try out something amazing. A buddy of mine has a Camper and I swear he has some really good time with it.

    • Tasha

      1 year agoReply

      It’s really nice to be able to take your house with you everywhere!

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