How To Live Successfully in a Car or Van

 
How To Live Successfully  in A Car or Van
 
July  8, 2019
 
by Cathy Harris, Syndicated Columnist

 

Bob Wells from CheapRVLiving.com on youtube thinks that once the government sees how many people are living in cars, vans, RVs, etc., due to the homeless situation, it will propel the government to take action to take care of them.  

However, I believe the government (along with the medical and pharmaceutical industry) only cares about ‘population control’ and ‘killing folks off’ because there are too many people in the world. So it’s up to all of us to take care of each other.
 
Why Many Travelers Are Living in Cars and Vans vs. RVs
 
I know most of you read the article I wrote entitled  “The Truth About The RV Industry – What You Need To Know About Camping World” and why as soon as you buy an RV, you need to be ready also to do your own repairs even if you have an ‘extended warranty’ or be ready to pay top dollars to get others to do these repairs for you. 
 
This is so true. I am sure many of you found the article to be ‘very problematic’ – like me – especially with what has happened at Camping World  — being on the verge of bankruptcy — because of their ‘unethical’ practices.
 
Even Bob Wells from CheapRVLiving.com has said on many occasions in his videos that living in an RV can be a #MoneyPit. After conducting months of extensive research — I agree totally.
 
All of my research in the RV industry opened the doorway for me to also educate everyone on why living in a car and/or van or a similar vehicle might be a better way to reinvent or change your life than buying an RV.
 
Many won’t be in a position to live in an RV or Motorhome or do these expensive and extensive repairs, especially many women, so they should think about living in a car or van instead. 
 
Many travelers, especially women, with Travel Trailers or Fifth Wheels, which can be dangerous to get out of and hook up at times (from ‘man’ or ‘beast’), have decided to downsize to #VanLife instead. So again, living in an RV might not be right for everyone.
 
 

Remember, you can save a ton of money while Car or Van Dwelling also, so look at these options, if you need to pay off bills and save for the future. 

Who Should Think About Car or Van Life?
 
Any group of individuals who are suffering today should think about #Car or #VanLife. They need to take action before it gets too bad. Many today in these very, very dark times have NO ACTION PLAN for their lives. This blog post is an ACTION PLAN! 
 
So who actually should consider Car or Van Dwelling? Those who should consider Car and Van Dwelling include:
  • Students Going Off to College: Not all students that go off or try to go off to college have supportive parents. Many college students today are trying to find ways to cut down on tuition. They can live in a car or van and cut down on dorm fees. With about 70 – 80% not even working in their majors when they graduate, many need to look at their options again. 
  • Abused Employees: Over the years as a ‘Discrimination and Workplace Consultant’, I have watched tons of women and men lose their homes due to #WrongfulTerminations and discrimination on their jobs. Many walked straight from their homes to the streets. They had no other choice but to get involved in prostitution or selling drugs and/or ended up homeless or in jail.
  • Abusive Spouses: Others, especially women, out here in the Car and Van Dwelling community have had to run away from ‘abusive’ spouses. No one should be forced to live in a relationship with anyone where they are not happy. Did you know most Domestic Violence hotlines are flooded with calls for help from women after the holidays (especially in January) once the bills come in?
  • Sickness: Just remember the number one reason that most people lose their apartments or homes is SICKNESS, so it’s important to take care of your health. I don’t know if I would choose to get out here on the road if I was sick (probably not), but getting out here on the road can help you in the long run from getting sick. You can take care of yourself better by being out there on the road because you can afford #BetterFoods (#OrganicFoods) and breathe in a better quality of air, especially if you choose to camp out on BLM.gov or National Forest land. 
  • Bills, Bills, and More Bills:  Having too many bills can make anyone sick. Many women and men have these big ’empty’ homes and can barely keep their heads above water because of all these high bills. So these are the individuals that need to consider moving into a car, van or RV. Land is the most valuable commodity you can have so don’t think I am telling you to just give your land away — because I am not. Unless you take care of yourself and your land and especially pay your taxes, the government is going to take it anyway. So do something with it or turn it over to family members who can. You can turn your land into an RV park or allow others to rent part of it to grow foods. When buying a house, only buy a house that does not have Homeowner’s Association (HOAs) fees because you probably won’t be able to grow foods in the front yard. If you need a break from it all, take a break and come out on the road and build a new life for yourself. 
Any of these situations can cause even the sanest of people to come unglued — physically, mentally and spiritually — and this is what is happening today. So consider leaving it all behind and get out here on the road. 
 
How To Fix Your Car Up to Live in It
 

Keep in mind that Camper Trucks and Vans are also called “RVs” and/or “Motorhomes.” Many travelers today because of the economy and just to be able to travel and see some sites are living in small and large cars, SUVs, trucks, mini-vans, camper trucks, camper vans, box vans, cargo vans, old bread trucks, converted horse trailers, buses, etc.  The sky is the limit in what type of vehicle you can live in.

No one really wants to live or sleep in their cars, but many are making it work today. Many families sleep in their cars when they go camping — so why not live in it full-time?

Why are we as a society looking down on anyone for sleeping in their cars — whether they are ‘homeless’ or just want the luxury of being mobile and traveling by car and saving on gas?

Many Van Dwellers believe RVers look down on them for sleeping in a van. I am sure they look at Van Dwellers as being ‘primitive’ because many don’t have running water, bathrooms or toilets. However, we are all the same — #OneCommunity of ‘wanderers, gypsies and nomads’.

If you live in a car, you can sleep in the front seat, passenger sleep or back seat. It all depends on the size of the person and which angle you will find most comfortable.  Once you lay the seat back, for many this can be a comfortable position.

You can remove the front passenger seat and put a board down from Home Depot or Lowe’s — get an inflatable camping bag, pillow and sleeping bag and you should be quite comfortable sleeping in your car. You can also use an air mattress.

Or you can remove your back seats and fix the area up like the front passenger seat. These two positions should allow you to be quite comfortable living in your car.

Why You Should Buy A ‘Toyota Prius’ To Live in 

Bob Wells from CheapRVLiving.com also recommends a ‘Toyota Prius’ as the type of car many should buy. There is also a Prius group for women on facebook.
 
You can start any car type group on facebook and hold events at meetup.com or join “Bob Wells Caravans” at www.Meetup.com/Caravans.
 
Many of these caravans are near towns — where you can still use your phone. They are a great way to meet others on the road – build relationships or even travel together.
You can get a ‘Toyota Prius’ and save $1000 a month on rent and do your work at McDonald’s, Starbucks, Libraries, Panera Bread, and other businesses with FREE wi-fi.
 
Some even park in front of libraries, target, McDonald’s, etc. and stay in their cars and use their wi-fi for free. You may or may not need a ‘wi-fi extender’ for this, however, the sky is the limit on how you can run a business from your car and be quite happy as you travel around the country and meet great friends and see some beautiful sites.
 
Living in a Car vs. Living in A Van
 
Living in a car is no different than living in a van. Of course, living in a car will not give you as much space as living in a van, but you can be totally happy living in either of these. 
 
Reasons to travel by car versus a van or RV:
  • It’s quick.
  • Great mileage. 
  • Great mobility so you can get up and go.
  • Great for stealth camping. 
  • Most families already have a car so start with what you got. It’s more affordable than a Class B van, Class B plus (also called a ‘Class C’), Class A, Travel Trailer or Fifth Wheel.
  • You can get a used car or van for $2000 to $5000 on autotrader.com, facebook marketplace, eBay, or craigslist or even cheaper from a personal seller.

If you only have a car and not a van, then set up your car and travel around the country and prepare to have fun. You can add tents to your car to extend your living area and space when out camping.

What you need to live in a car or van successfully:
  • Food
  • Bottled Water
  • Bowls/Plates
  • Folks/Spoons
  • Paper Towels/Napkins
  • Wet Wipes
  • Toilet Paper
  • Trash Bags
  • Bed/Sleeping Bag (Inflatable Camping Mattress)
  • Pillow
  • Knife/Swiss Army Knife
  • Flashlight
  • Mini Travel Umbrella
  • Sunglasses
  • Pee Bottle/Toilet Pot (Collapsible Toilet)
  • Small Fans (in the summertime)
  • Ice Chess/Cooler (Coleman Extreme Cooler – will keep ice for up to 6 to 8 days) or an Ice Chess that runs on a 9-volt battery. Many van dwellers have the Yeti coolers).
  • Inverter/Generator, which you can charge while driving and run your phone, computer, iPad, blender, steamer, 9-volt ice chess, etc.
You can wash off with wipes, buy a pop-up shower tent, use Solar Showers or take showers at gyms such as 24-hour fitness, Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, etc. 
 
You can also take showers at CouchSurfing.com, truck stops, state and county parks, hotels, friends and family member homes, etc. In places like Florida, they have showers on beaches along with potable water.
While in your car you can watch movies on Netflix.com, Amazon.com, and Hulu on your phone. To live in a van (minivan, SUV, camper van or some type of other larger vehicle than a car), you want to go ahead and purchase a good ‘house battery’ and solar so you can work inside of the van on a computer, iPad, etc. or watch TV. However, there are portable solar kits for those living in their cars.
  
Car and Van Dwellers – Sleeping or Camping in Tents
 
If you are sleeping in your car and/or van, you also should have a tent with you. Genji Sports Instant Camping tents are a great quality ‘pop-up’ tent, which means you can put it up and take it down in a hurry.
 
Springbar.com has the best quality of tents that lasts a while. The tents are really sturdy and can hold up in high winds. Ozark Trail tents are another good tent, but it was made in China, which means it might blow away in high winds. Kodiak Canvas tents are another tent used by Car or Van Dwellers.
 
 

If you arrive in your car or van as a ‘campground host’ or when you just go camping, bring a tent along especially if you need to take a break from sleeping in a car or van. 

Also, know up-front that many campgrounds require those arriving in cars and vans to bring a tent along.  They require you to sleep in the tents or you can set up the tent as a disguise — for safety purposes — and still sleep in your car or van.
 
If you are going camping in a car or van bring a head lamp and/or Luci Light (powered in the daytime by solar), fire starter and proper clothing. Try to bring more than one coat. 
 
For cooking when camping or when living in a car or van, you can also use these items:  
  • toaster oven
  • induction plate (could interfere with cardiac pacemakers) 
  • instant pot
  • air fryer
  • blender
  • steamer
Know the regulations and laws wherever you are. You can also bring chairs and tools along. You can tailgate off your truck or the back of your car. 
 
FREE Places to Park Cars or Vans While On the Road
 
If you need a place to park, you can go on craigslist and put an ad in it and offer $100 a month (or less) to park in someone’s driveway or on their land.
 
If you do this, the goal is to show up after dark and leave before daylight. I am sure homeowners who have houses and land would love to make this extra money every month and you will have a safe place to park.
 
Other FREE places to park your car include:
  • Rest Areas
  • Truck Stops
  • Truck Weigh Stations
  • Walmart (24 hours)
  • Kmart (24 hours)
  • State, City or Community Parks (Look for signs that say 24 parking)
  • National Parks
  • City, County or Regional Campgrounds
  • BLM.gov Land (It’s everywhere but mostly on the west coast). Camp on BLM land with groups of 20 or more people to be safe especially if you are a solo female traveler). 
  • You can do “Driveway or Mooch Surfing” (also “Couch Surfing” — staying on someone’s couch) in a family’ member, friend or someone’s driveway. Cars and Van Dwellers can do this easier than larger RVs.
  • Residential Areas (Respect “No Parking Signs.” Do not park on private property. Somebody is always looking).
  • Apartment complexes (There is usually street parking there too. Google or go to Craiglist and look for apartments for rent. Big apartment complexes without gates are a great idea especially for Car and Van Dwellers).
  • Community College parking lots (Check hours of Campus police. It’s usually 10:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m.).
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Strip Malls or Shopping Malls that are opened 24 hours, but they might have security guards.
  • Car Dealerships (Go to the service area especially if they work on the type of car or van you drive)
  • HarvestHosts.com allows Van Dwellers and RVers (not Car Dwellers). These are wineries, farms, breweries, etc. Memberships are $50 a year. (Owner name is Joel). They only take up to 5 RVers or Van Dwellers a night so you need to make reservations. You need to buy wine, cheese, and other products, while you are there.
  • BoondockersWelcome.com allows Van Dwellers and RVers (not Car Dwellers). Also, check out Boondocking.org.

Remember to start with what you have. If that is a car then get in your car and get out here on the road and enjoy yourself and/or save your sanity.

Even though you live in a Car, Van or RV, you can truly still live “The Good Life” by getting out of your COMFORT ZONE and putting one foot in front of the other and say the words — “No more struggles, no more pain, no more headaches, no more heartaches. I am building a new life and I am doing it now.” Welcome aboard the #FreedomExpress!
 
Share this info with the people you love and don’t forget to ‘Live, Love and Enjoy the Journey’ and be an active part of my NEW JOURNEY and blog at www.SimpleLifeRVing.com.
 
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Cathy Harris is a soon to be Full-Time RVer living ‘The Good Life.’ Her blog website is SimpleLifeRVing.com. She is also an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Advice Columnist at DearCathy.com, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Business and Love Coach and Self-Publishing Expert and the author of 26 non-fiction books at www.AngelsPress.com. Her books cover topics such as family and community empowerment, health, youth and adult entrepreneurship, writing/publishing, workplace discrimination, whistleblowing, government, law enforcement, domestic and international traveling, politics, media, beauty, car buying and selling for women, aging/retirement – just to name a few. She offers seminars, workshops, and consultations at www.CathyHarrisInternational.com.
 
 

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