7 Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Vanlife

7 Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Vanlife

Buy or Sell Campers

Buy or Sell Campers

20 January 2023

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Are you sitting on the fence trying to figure out if vanlife is for you? We’ve got your questions covered! From how to fund your vanlife lifestyle, where to park, and how much preparation goes into the lifestyle switch – these are all the things that can keep you up at night. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back: here are 7 answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about vanlife. Uncover what could be changing in your life should you decide living in a campervan or RV is right for you…

1. How do you fund your travels and sustain yourself financially while living this unconventional lifestyle on the road?

2. How do you find places to park and sleep for the night when traveling around in your vanlife rig?

3. How do you deal with things like plumbing, electricity, and waste disposal while living in a van full-time?

4. Don't you feel unsafe in your van?

5. What do you do with all your stuff?

6. How do you keep yourself and your clothes clean?

7. What do you do about an address when you're on the road?

Honestly, whether you’re living a nomadic life temporarily or whether you’re a committed full-time got-all-your-stripes vanlifer, the number of times you’ll get asked these 7 magic questions is astounding. If we had a dime for every time we’d heard these, we’d be fully loaded. That’s not to throw shade, they are all valid. Hit the road and learn as you go (mistakes and all!) or get a head start on your new life on the road with our vanlife FAQs…

1. How do you fund your travels and sustain yourself financially while living this unconventional lifestyle on the road?

For a lot of people, the thought of living on the road and funding their travels can seem like a pipe dream. But it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of ways for vanlifers to sustain themselves financially while living on the road. Remote work, seasonal work, savings, and Workaway are all popular.

Many vanlifers work with what they have right now. Do you own a home? Depending on how bougie you are, and how much you plan to travel, renting or subletting your home can actually be enough to fund a life on the road.

Otherwise, some vanlifers have skills they take on the road – such as marketing, content curation, and web development – and they work remotely for clients all over the world. Scoring high on flexibility, this is great if you want to have the flexibility to explore. Additionally, picking up seasonal jobs during harvest season or agency healthcare work can also help boost income without having to commit to much more than a few days or weeks. Of course, keeping a bit of a savings cushion is always helpful as well. And finally, when all else fails, there are always ways to find housing and meals via volunteering platforms like Workaway–the perfect way to save money while getting an inside look into local culture that no guidebook could offer you!

For more money-making ideas you might not have thought of, check our blog: 13 Ways (You May Not Have Thought Of) To Make Money on the Road.

2. How do you find places to park and sleep for the night when traveling around in your vanlife rig?

It has to be said: one of the biggest challenges that many aspiring vanlifers face is finding places to park and sleep for the night. Whether you’re heading out on a weekend road trip, or embarking on a long-term adventure, securing parking spots isn’t always easy. Some countries or states have different laws about where you are allowed to park, and sometimes areas just aren’t vanlife-friendly. Answering the question ‘can you just park and stay the night anywhere in your van?’ isn’t always as simple as you might think. So how do we find park-ups?


Luckily, the vanlife community is a considerate bunch and, with some research, planning, and flexibility, you can find tried-and-tested vanlife park-ups. And, it doesn’t have to be stressful! Park4Night is an app that allows users to search for available camping spots near their current location. The database includes everything from RV parks to Walmart parking lots, as well as city streets where overnight parking may be permitted.


Hipcamp is another incredible resource for vanlifers who are looking to explore the great outdoors while living their dream of life on the road. Not only does it provide access to some of the most stunning and unique places, but it also helps simplify the process and make sure that everything runs smoothly. From finding campgrounds with all of the amenities that vanlifers need to advising on local regulations, directions, and even activities to do in each location – Hipcamp offers an invaluable service for anyone wanting to enjoy a worry-free lifestyle out of their van.

Other ways

Other tips for finding parking spots include asking locals or fellow travelers, scoping out backcountry roads, and getting creative with Google Earth or a classic ordnance survey map. And if you want to go a step further, sites like iOverlander are specifically geared towards connecting outdoor enthusiasts who want to collaborate on finding parking spots and sharing resources.

3. How do you deal with things like plumbing, electricity, and waste disposal while living in a van full-time?

These are a few big questions, all rolled into one! And it’s important to say that traveling in a van means that you will need to be prepared for some of the more “rough and ready” or “technical” aspects of life on the road – namely, dealing with water, electricity, and waste disposal. So here goes…

Vanlife Plumbing

Plumbing is the easiest aspect to talk about. Plumbing in camper vans is typically a relatively simple affair, mainly consisting of a variety of tanks, hoses, and fittings, all used to manage the different types of water. Water typically starts out in one or two different tanks, often referred to as freshwater water tanks and/or holding tanks. Once used in the sink or shower, the water will then be collected in an underslung waste water tank, referred to as a grey waste tank. Or, if used to flush a toilet, this water will be collected separately in a black waste tank. Generally, all types of tanks are connected by red and blue food-grade hoses or pipes and can be emptied regularly in designated dumping locations. Additionally, some vans may also feature an external shower head or other plumbing fixtures depending on their design.

Vanlife Power

Next up: electricity. Vanlifers typically get electricity to power their devices and appliances in a variety of different ways, depending on their setup and needs. To start, most will have at least one ‘leisure battery’ (often more). This is where power is stored. How vanlifers charge their leisure batteries typically depends on their power requirements and, believe it or not, the weather!


Battery-to-battery chargers, sometimes known as B2B chargers or DC-DC converters, are one of the most common ways to charge leisure batteries safely and efficiently. They do so by taking power from your vehicle’s alternator while the engine is running. Solar panels are another popular way to charge up and power devices while on the road. They can be easily mounted on the roof of a campervan and set up to provide reliable renewable energy. Simpler set-ups include shore power – or hooking up directly to an electrical grid, an inverter – which converts 12V DC power from the vehicle battery into 110V AC power, portable generators, or even propane-powered heaters in the wintertime. There are so many different ways available to get power to your van, it is important for any vanlifer newbie to properly research what options best suit their needs before hitting the road without remotely enough power for their new remote lifestyle.

Vanlife Waste

As far as waste disposal goes, it depends on what kind of waste we’re talking about. Let’s get specific with our trash talk! If you’re talking toilet waste, many vanlifers simply dump their holding tanks at appointed dump stations at campgrounds or truck stops when needed (cassette toilets or portaloos especially), while others may simply empty into a restroom toilet – it largely depends on what chemicals have been used. And if we’re talking trash, the key here is little and often. Vanlifers will typically dispose of trash at gas stations and recycling stops, which is fairly simple (if you don’t have a mountain of it!)


Becoming a “full-time” camper doesn’t mean you have to give up all the comforts of home – it just requires some creativity, planning, and flexibility! So if you’re thinking about living the vanlife, don’t let considerations about utilities or waste hold you back. With a bit of preparation and ingenuity, you’ll be on the road in no time.

4. Do you feel unsafe in your van overnight?

Honest answer? Yes, it can be a little bit scary to spend the night in your van when you’re out in an unfamiliar place by yourself. There are a few things that you can do to stay safe while living the vanlife, including planning and being prepared for any situations that might arise. Some key strategies include researching where you will park overnight beforehand (see Q2), keeping emergency contact information on hand at all times, and packing safety essentials like a flashlight, first aid kit, and roadside assistance tools like jumper cables. Additionally, it’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right or just seems ‘off’, trust your gut and get away from the situation as quickly as possible.


Do you really want to know what keeps vanlifers awake at night? Check out ‘The 10 Scariest Things About Vanlife’.

5. What do you do with all your stuff when you live in a van?

When living in a van, most vanlifers will either have their stuff stored away in storage units or they will call upon friends and family to help them out by letting them store things in their garages or lofts. Most vanlifers also become minimalists over time, learning what they need and what they can live without. This allows them to only keep the essential items with them while on the road, making it easier to navigate different spaces and stay organized. Clever storage hacks are your friend!


Ultimately, there is no one “right” way to manage your possessions when you live the vanlife – it largely depends on your individual preferences and needs. But if you are considering spending some time on the road in a campervan, it’s important to Marie Kondo your fodder. Weight and payload (the total amount of weight the vehicle can carry, including passengers) are factors to keep in mind – exceed these for your vehicle and it may not be roadworthy – as is your lifestyle. If you want to take bikes or boards with you when you travel, for example, you may prefer a van with a fixed garage to stash them in. It pays to start thinking about this and getting ruthless with your gumph as early as possible.

6. How do you keep yourself and your clothes clean?

There are a few different approaches that vanlifers take to keeping themselves and their clothes clean when on the road. Many vanlifers simply use public showers at campgrounds, truck stops, 24-hour gyms, or co-working offices, while others may have a shower on-board. For more vanlife hygiene FAQs, check out Campervan Toilet Talk: The Questions You’re Just Desperate to Ask. When it comes to clothes, there are some campervan washers on the market…but space and water usage is a concern, so most vanlifers use laundrettes or similar.


Ultimately, how you choose to keep yourself and your clothes clean is largely a matter of personal preference – some people enjoy having access to hot showers every few days, while others prefer to go longer between washes and embrace being more “wild”. Whatever your approach, it’s important to be mindful of your water usage and the impact that it may have on the environment and local communities. We encourage you to try to find ways to be efficient, while also making sure that you stay clean and fresh throughout your adventures!

7. What do you do about an address when you're living on the road?

If you’re living the vanlife, you won’t necessarily have a fixed address – and this can make it tricky to receive mail or packages. However, there are a few different ways that you can get around this issue, including using a friend’s address, virtual addresses through services like UPS My Choice, and using general delivery as an option for receiving mail at your local post office. Additionally, some vanlifers choose to rent mailboxes or PO Boxes through companies like The UPS Store or US Postal Services, which allows them to easily receive items while they are on the road. Amazon and other services also offer collection points too, which are great for 24/7 collection while on the road.


The options available when you live on the road will vary from country to country, but using a friend’s address or family home is the most common answer to the question ‘What do you do about an address when you’re living on the road?’

Feeling a bit more road-ready?

So there you have it, friends. If you’ve been wondering about vanlife but haven’t taken the plunge because of fear or uncertainty, we hope this post has helped give you a little more clarity, and helped you feel less daunted by life on the open road.


Of course, the only way to really know if van life is for you is to get out there and try it yourself. And what better way to do that than with one of our amazing vans? Check out our sales page and find your perfect match today!

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