State Residency and Physical Addresses

Is there anyone else out there who doesn’t have any family to use as a permanent address? When I start my van life, I won’t have anyone whose address I can use. I know some folks use mail-forwarding services as their address. Is this the only choice I have? Is it the best option?

If so, from what I’ve learned, folks end up choosing a state, like South Dakota, that doesn’t have an income tax or yearly smog/vehicle inspection requirements. Is there anything I’m missing or should be considering? I’ve even heard that some people will stay a night or two at an campsite that allows van dwellers to use their address, though this option doesn’t sound very feasible in the long term.

As for mail, I’ve worked for years to stay off of mailing lists. The only mail I get anymore is usually junk mail addressed to Current Resident. I’m not concerned about getting mail forwarded often at all. But, I realize that I would need to have a physical address for insurance companies, banking, and the possibility of things such as jury duty.

Any recommendations or advice? If it were up to me, I wouldn’t even bother having an address at all.

this doesnt really answer your problem at all, but still good info. I’m with you on not having a permanent address but there are some advantages

Probably the only reason that is good enough for a permanent address is that If you have your van is done up like an RV (toilet, water, power) it is considered an RV if something happens to it, if it registered that way or not. The benefit of that is if your van is considered or even registered as an RV it can be covered under renters or home owners insurance and that will protect you on the road.

For that you have to be on a lease or mortgage somewhere but if you have a cool friend that could hook you up, that would be prime.

I am a disabled vet and some states like Oregon and California have permanent plates for random causes like that. I also drive a pre-inspection and smog vehicle. There are weird loop-holes out there if you look for them

I started another thread asking about RV insurance on vans. I know the requirements for different states can vary. I’ve not heard about having to be on a mortgage though. That’s out of the question for me because that would be like co-signing a loan, making me liable if someone else defaulted on their mortgage. Besides, I don’t know anyone anyway.

Residency-wise, South Dakota seems like my best bet, unless I’m missing something. Not only are they income tax free and vehicle inspection free, you don’t have to renew your drivers license as often. And South Dakota is pretty much in the center of the country so, if I had to go back for some reason, it would never have to be a full cross country drive. Still, I’d like to know if I’m missing something when it comes to choosing a state for residency.


Yeah, man. PO Box and go from there? There are sneaky ways to get around that but you have to be inventive

Unfortunately, from my research, banks and insurance companies won’t let you use a PO Box. Many of them are even catching on to the mail forwarding places and not allowing those either.

I see their point because folks take advantage and abuse everything these days. But, with the advent of smart phones for contact (and the availability of going to UPS and other places to temporarily receive mail and packages), having a cell phone should be enough. Alas, I don’t make the rules.

I started out with a local mail forwarding place & used that for several years then went to Escapees. This is an often covered subject on the cheaprvling forum.

Thanks Becida! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best experience on that forum. While there were nice, helpful people, there were also militant members always ready to wag their finger at folks asking questions: “Did you bother to search the archives?” “This has been talked about already. We don’t need another thread on this subject.” Etc., They were there first so I’m not complaining. I just decided that it wasn’t for me. A bit too much ego for my comfort. If I wanted to be spoken to like that, I’d call my mother! (Just a joke trying to show I’m really not bitter about it! Life’s too short to hold grudges or get upset at the little things.)

Did you do some searching? The answers were there… If you do some digging and look for the gems you can find them there but you have to look.
As I recall Bob Wells covered the subject pretty well in one of his blogs (back when he did blogs).

Escapees does a fine job of getting you a home address & a mailing address, that’s their business.

Thank you for the information on Escapees. I’d heard of them but didn’t know that’s what they did. I’ll have to research where they’re located because I hope to get residency in South Dakota. Some states are cracking down on residency requirements because they feel a little taken advantage of that they’re being used for the benefits but don’t get the benefit of a live in resident in return. As a result, I understand that there have been some crackdowns on mail forwarding companies.

Yes, I did search the archives. Any time I go to a forum, I spend hours reading the archives and the rules before posting. I joined this site 9 days ago and, according to my profile, have read 99 topics and 685 posts, for a total of 12 hours. Four hours of that reading was before I even posted an introduction. And the introduction was a day before I asked any questions.

When I posted my questions on CRL, I also commented that I performed a search but that the search didn’t answer the points I was looking for. It didn’t matter. I was met with hostility. “Did you do some searching? The answers are there.”
“You couldn’t have looked too hard because I found the answer in one minute.” But the answer they reluctantly provided wasn’t the answer. It was THEIR careless reading of the question and eagerness to display their superiority and prove me wrong. I didn’t appreciate it.

Some answers took major digging. Some of the responses were old and sometimes information changes. It’s unreasonable to require that a new person completely exhausts an entire website full of forum archives, hundreds of videos, blogs, guest articles and more before they are “allowed” to ask a question safely. To be blunt, it’s just rude and egotistical. If the old-timers on a forum are only willing to answer new questions… then they’re not very willing to help and are only there for themselves. (That’s okay, too, as long as I learn that, I let them have it their way.)

Sorry, but that forum was more of a good ol’ boys club than a help site. All different types of people are interested in van life and some of them are looking for encouragement and interaction while they start down the road to van life. On CRL forum, those folks were met with “Be here our way or not at all.”

One thing van dwellers can confirm is that they will be answering the same questions over and over again for years to come by curious folks and people interested in learning more. Patience and grace are part of the process because everyone is different. To respond with clear and present frustration, impatience and barking accomplishes what? How does that make anyone want to get involved? It put me right off CheapRVLiving website and videos. You don’t treat people that way. After one week of constantly witnessing, and experiencing this, I was happy to just let them have their website for themselves. (Because I don’t know what they might be going through either.) Sadly, many other new members never posted again either.

Escapees RV club will solve all these problems for you