If you are like us, when you are getting ready for van life, you’ve done a ton of research. But there are always some things that fall through the cracks in all that excitement. These are the top 5 things we wish we knew before vanlife!
Before van life we had never traveled without a looming end date. We had always been on a mission to get from point A to B, and didn’t leave much time for meandering scenic drives. We still haven’t gotten the full hang of traveling slow but Cedar is definitely teaching us now! Don’t be in a rush, take time to go into the little towns you pass by, and take the back roads, far from the busy highways. You never know what you’ll find there!
Don’t leave your warms clothes behind
This is for all you Canadian’s out there thinking about tanning your buns off in Arizona in December while your family and friends freeze their buns off at home. We saw all these beautiful pictures of people in bikinis chillin in their vans and thought we were going to be spending our days basking in the glorious heat of the sun. We were unpleasantly mistaken. Average temperatures were just one of those things that didn’t occur to us to check before hand. Friends, just know that if you plan on being in the southern states, especially the desert, you will need warm clothes.
3. EXPECT to visit the mechanics
We had to do some MAJOR work on our van shortly after hitting the road. It was a huge bummer, but everyone we talk to, seems to have this issue, especially if they own an older vehicle. Make sure you have some… several thousand $$$ set aside for work on your van. It’s a bummer to have to get work done, but as you do, you will have a good record of what has been changed out and a good service record. We would also 100% recommend getting the Black Card RV Packaged from CAA or AAA. It is well worth the membership fee and gives a huge piece of mind to know you can get a couple free tows if you need it. I can say that we have put out CAA membership to good use.
4. Less is more
When your thinking about van life you are most definitely thinking about all the gear you’re going to need. We can tell you from experience that you are going to need a lot less than you might think. If you have a hard time giving it away before you leave, and you don’t end up using it while you’re on the road, then take some time to go through everything and get rid of the things you are carrying around that no longer serve you. If you haven’t used it for a couple months, then let it go!
5. Get travel APPS
Some travel apps are totally worth it and others, not so much. We have found iOverlander and Allstays to be great tools when looking for a camping spot. We also use Gas Buddy regularly to find the best fuel price. And Alltrails is a awesome app to use if you’re into hiking