Van Life Newbie/Beginner


I am brand new to car purchasing and getting my driver’s license in January of next year. I just wanted to ask for advice in regards to purchasing my very first van to live in Full-Time. I’m 25 and will have my Bachelor’s very soon in Psychology. I am going to attach some general information below for anyone to respond. Without giving away too much information. I do live in North Carolina, for context.

  • Budget: $10,000-$11,000
  • How much space you need: I could use about 10 by 10 square feet.
  • Who you will be living with: I am single adult with no partner or pets.
  • Your preferences: I’d prefer something I could easily bring along a makeshift toilet and still cook fairly easily. I also want a few windows, but not too many for peeping. I also want a car that is affordable and can be serviced at most places. I also want something that fits most parking spots.


I did live in a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan for 5 months. The car cost me around 10K$. I made a simple build in it. I could cook, have a small toilet, did some computer work (I do compose and edit music as hobby/hoping that I will be able to earn from it…) very confortably. Yes it is small, but for a very decent price on gas/mileage and also for the stealth aspect of it, I really don’t regret it.

My only caveat is insulation and winter car living in very cold wheater…

Hope you find something to your liking! and I wish you success for your driving exams and in finishing your degree! :slight_smile:

Greetings & Welcome!

100 square feet is going to be tough, my extra long van only gives me 72 square behind the front seats.

At 21 feet long, some parking places are too short.

A 8’x20’ shuttle bus or skoolie might get close to your size wishes, but you would need to compromise on other things like being serviced almost anywhere. The good news they can often be found MUCH cheaper than vans, and gas ones with a van front should be serviceable in most places.

Most buses will only top out around 10mpg, but that’s the price you pay for more space.

A small RV could be the best bang for your bucks. They can still be found cheap, in excellent condition, and move in ready. Given the choice between a move in ready RV or building my own, more often than not, I would choose the move in ready RV route. Often cheaper to purchase, more comfortable living, and a higher resale value later. Most people tend to lose money on DIY camper van builds, sometimes a LOT of money.


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller

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