Preparing for and living in a van, or any other vehicle, does require some preparation and thought. There are many questions to be answered, “Where will you go to the bathroom?”, “Where will you shower?”, “is it safe?”. It really isn’t as easy as packing your stuff in a Westy and driving off in the sunset. So here are five key things that you need to think about and prepare for before you make the commitment.

  1. You will probably spend the majority of your days outside, so sleeping is the real issue here. Make sure you have a comfortable space to sleep in that can be cool, dark and quiet. Invest in insulating sleeping pad, cot or other padding and you must have an appropriate sleeping bag if you will be in temperatures that get low. Also, a sleeping bag packs much better than blankets.
  2. Security. Tint your windows first and foremost. You don’t need peepers peering in at you. I you can’t afford that, cover the windows from the inside with black material to give the appearance of tint and get a windshield shade with good coverage. Have a panic button on your car’s key fob if you have one and be careful where you park.
  3. Parking. This one takes careful strategy and common sense. Know the law, in some states you can sleep in your car as long as you are legally parked. Here is a list of ideas for parking at night: hotel parking lots, rest areas close to town, possibly parking in residential areas, 24-hr gyms, Walmart (call first), in front of a friends apartment.Depending on where you park, you won’t want to break out the grill and cook dinner. Get settled somewhere else.
  4. Hygiene. Hygiene is import because it makes you feel good and you might start to look suspicious if you really let yourself go. Try to use the bathroom at work or a gym. Showers might require some planning or a gym membership. There are national franchises you can join if you are traveling. You should also invest in a portable shower for when you are out in the country or adventuring.
  5. Clean Clothes. Local laundromats. If you can find one with Wifi,even better.
  6. Organization. Some of you might not think this is important to plan, but staying organized can make or break a great travel adventure. Keep your clothes organized and have a place for everything. Your space is small so you have to be creative. Use the negative space your sleeping system may create to store items. Make your space homey and keep your driving area clear so you can mentally prepare for driving.

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