You’ve been hearing about van life, and you find it fascinating. You have friends that are van lifers, and you watched a lot of YouTube videos about it. Now you have decided to become one as well — a van lifer. It’s not just you though; it’s you and your partner. However, you still feel there are a few things you should add to your current knowledge.
Whether you and your significant other are preparing to start van life or have already begun, there are things you must know to make the experience a happy one.
1. Downsizing Is Important
Before you and your partner begin this amazing journey together, you have to be fully prepared. It is not easy living with someone in a space as small and cramped as a van. So before embarking on your journey, try living in a tent for some days with your partner. This will help prepare both of you for the journey ahead. If you can’t get a tent, you could improvise with something similar.
2. Van Life Essentials
There are special items that van life requires. Just like a house needs furniture, a van requires certain “special and practical items”. You will be doing everything you would do in a home but this time in a van, so adequate preparation is necessary. You are going to need items like:
- A toothbrush holder
- Spice jars, specifically the magnetic kind
- Hammock or sleeping bag
- Bug screen
- A diffuser
- Collapsible water bottle
- Blinds for windows
- Foldable fan
- Water filtration system e.t.c
- First-aid kit or medications
These are just some of the essential items you should have to make van life less of a hassle.
3. Lower Your Expectations
Although van life isn’t all rosy and glamorous, it does have some fantastic aspects and benefits. However, it is best for you and your partner to reduce or have no expectations as you travel from place to place to prevent disappointment.
You both might see a location online and it might look so peaceful and beautiful, but upon arrival, it’s nothing like the picture. It might be too hot, crowded or cold. All your plans are ruined. You feel disappointed and angry, all because your expectations were high.
Also, traveling non-stop could pose other challenges like bad weather, no power, lack of free camping etc. It is essential to expect and plan for these challenges to easily tackle them when they happen.
4. Find And Travel With Your Community
It is a great idea to be part of a community of other van lifers. It makes it safer and more enjoyable for you and your partner. You not only get to visit unique locations but also make more friends and be part of a community. It also gives you and your partner a break from one another as it takes the edge off trying to entertain and amuse each other.
You both can enjoy the company of people with similar interests and probably learn a few things. So, when it’s just you and your partner again, it’s more enjoyable.
5. Be Mindful Of Your Finances
Money has torn many marriages and relationships apart, so it is dangerous to let your finances come between you and your partner.
To prevent this from happening, you and your partner have to keep track of how money is spent. It is best to put your money in one account and make all your expenses from there. This way, you know when and who spent an amount at a given time. Tracking and keeping a record of the money going in and out of the account is much easier.
You could also try to make more money while traveling so that pressure on your finances is reduced. Instead of having to cut down on spending, you could buy certain items to improve the quality of the journey or even upgrade your van.
6. Divide Responsibilities
Taking care of a van and one another can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. This is why it is best to share the workload, so each person knows what to do and when to do it. You can always assist your partner if you desire to.
One person could arrange items in their proper places to avoid clutter. Another could stock up on water or do the laundry when you get to a campsite or suitable location. Doing this helps in the general organization of affairs and keeps the van tidy and fresh.
7. Share The Wheel
Taking turns driving is a good way to get the full van life experience, except in cases where one partner doesn’t drive so well. But if you and your partner are good drivers, it is best to take turns driving. It would be unfair for all your driving plans to be one person’s responsibility, especially if you’re going on long road trips like Route 66.
8. Be Ready To Compromise
You and your partner have similar interests, which is why you both embarked on this journey together. However, each person still has personal interests, and sometimes you both can, and want conflicting things. You might want to visit the beach while your partner wants to go rock climbing. Either of you must compromise to please the other.
But if not, you could try activities that both parties enjoy like running, canoeing, etc. Otherwise, be prepared to take turns on who gets to compromise that day.
9. Alone Time
As couples in van life, you both will be in each other’s faces a lot. It is essential you get some time away from each other. It keeps the romance alive and serves as a reminder that you are still your own people even though you are always together.
Use the time apart to engage in activities you enjoy individually – reading, swimming, yoga, stretching, etc.
10. Practice Parking
It is crucial to practice parking because you cannot just park anywhere at night. You might have to do some walking or research beforehand to find a good and legal spot to park.
However, you can always use campervan parks; there are usually good campervan park locations in different countries. So, if you don’t want to do the legwork, these parks are the next best thing.
11. Find Romance In Everything
Seeing your partner do every single thing isn’t what most would describe as romantic. The lack of privacy combined with the fact that you both have strayed from the norm might take away the romance. One of the best things about being in van life is that there are so many things you can do, you can never run out of options.
So, to keep the fire burning, inculcate fun bonding activities into your routine and try to spice things up once in a while. This could be by traveling to certain romantic spots like special restaurants or beaches. The list is endless, just find what works best for you and your partner.
Communication is key; this saying can never be overemphasized, especially in relationships. You and your partner should address issues as quickly as they arise and be ready to put them behind you.
There is no fun driving from country to country when one person is giving the other the silent treatment. Endeavor to keep communication lines open, it keeps the peace flowing and the van moving.
Van life may not be easy, but hopefully, you and your partner can enjoy van life to the fullest with these tips. Anything else that you would like to add on that we missed out?