Hi, I’m a newbie with dreams of living the van life. My husband and I are in early planning stages of our adventure. We’d like to hit the road for a year to find ourselves and a new place to settle away from the east coast. Any tips in getting started and important things to consider during the planning phase would be much appreciated!
Greetings & Welcome!
Don’t get hung up on vans alone, for many a motorhome is a better choice, and can often be cheaper too. I have lived and traveled quite comfortably in $1500-$2000 motorhomes. The ones old enough to have the Dodge drivetrains were the most reliable.
Without considerable experience, it is almost always better and cheaper to buy a rig that is move in ready. Older motorhomes with low miles and in excellent condition can be found pretty cheap. What little you might lose in gas mileage will be more than repaid in comfort, convenience, and the lower initial cost.
The only big advantage of camper vans is if you need to park on city streets, but you give up a lot of space and luxury for that convenience. Cost wise, motorhomes are probably the best bang for the bucks. Building your own camper van can run into big bucks very quickly.
Floor plans mean EVERYTHING! Look around at as many as you can. Some will feel cramped and claustrophobic, others will feel open and inviting. Even if you’re building your own, seeing others in person can give you a much better prospective than just seeing them online. You’ll be amazed at the differences you’ll find in both look and feel.
Have a large enough emergency fund to cover any and all possible problems, and have backup plans, even multiple backup plans. Things rarely go as planned, be prepared for that. Take the time to enjoy your adventure. Detours along the way can lead to amazing places or opportunities.
Bicycles, including electric and gas powered ones, can be great for exploring cities, perhaps some of those electric or gas powered scooters as well, some even come with seats. Some people take along motorcycles or scooters, or tow a small commuter car. There are many possibilities. A little extra planning before launch, can make a world of difference later. Pack clothes to cover ALL weather conditions, because you never know what you might run into. It can be below freezing in some places, even in the middle of the summer.
Good luck & stay in touch.