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Introduction

Nobody can say the exact amount of living in van costs. This is because the way different van life travelers carry out their lifestyles on the road varies. Van life is different for everyone, so is the price. While some van lifers prefer to invest and live luxuriously while exploring the cities of the world, others would rather spend little bucks to survive on the road. Many van lifers today engaged on a road trip not only to see the world from different perspectives but also to escape from expenses that come with housing. This is to tell you that living in a van is cheaper than renting or owning a house. 

Meanwhile, the affordability of living on the road is unpredictable. Likewise, there are some expected and also unforeseen costs that come with traveling in a van. The cost of living in a truck also depends on how long you intend to travel around the world. I have heard a story of a young couple who traveled from the US to South and North American for about 24 months. You can be sure that their van life expenses will be much more expensive than I would have spent if I were on vacation from my job and decided to live in the van for six weeks.

This article covers how much it cost to live on the road and travel in the van. How to choose the right van, cost of the van, as well as monthly van life cost, will be reviewed in this post. It also contains the breakdown of the van life expenses. 

How to choose the right van? 

Choosing the perfect van for your road trip can be a bit tricky. This is as a result of the amount of van available on the market today. Your favorite van design can be another camper’s worst campervan. Picking the ideal van is a personal decision. Therefore, you need to look for the features you want in a campervan before you choose it for your life on the road experience. 

For van life travelers who are going on the road journey with their family, nothing can bring you adequate comfort like a sprinter van. With a spacious van, you can easily ride around the towns in Washington comfortably with your partner, brothers as well as dogs. Also, you need to focus more on the preparation of spaces such as the gear storage space, food storage space, sleeping space, seatbelt, and many more. If you are living on the road with your partner only, then there is no need to create all of these spaces. 

However, it might be essential to check for tall vans that allow you to stand up while in the campervan effortlessly. Tall campervans bring additional convenience while you move around in your van. Meanwhile, it costs a fortune like the large vans. Nevertheless, other factors make a motorhome costly. One of which is the design with the essential features and items. The amount you will pay for a campervan with a solar BUT, all kinds of internal wiring, a bamboo ceiling, a hitch, as well as clearance will be much more expensive than the one for ordinary campervans. 

This is where your budget comes into play. Some van lifers have given up their houses and jobs to start a new life on the road. These campers will undoubtedly incur a lot of bucks by living this lifestyle. So, if you ask these campers, “How cheap is living in a van?” then, you might be getting scary and discouraging stats. These types of van life travelers are ready to invest as well as pay more to enjoy an unforgettable lifestyle on the road. Whereas, some van lifers see van living as one of the different ways to explore and to enjoy thrilling events around the world. You can never expect this variety of campers to spend a fortune by living this lifestyle. 

Some van life travelers find it difficult to pick between a new or used van. Generally, new trailers are costly compared to the used ones. New vans are ideal for van lifers who intend to live a luxurious life on the road. However, some campers choose to purchase the mint vans as a result of their durability. 

Cost of the van

The cost of a van depends if you are converting one, buying a used or new one, or renting. Since you won’t have to purchase a vehicle for conversion, converting a van can be much more affordable than buying a used or new one. However, it might not be as cheap as renting a van. According to van lifers who have at one time or the other converted their van, the estimated cost of conversion is around $1,700 to $2,000. The fee includes store-bought materials, online purchased materials, as well as the acquired materials. There are some tools you don’t have to buy as they are mostly found in workshops. Some of the materials purchased from the store include spray adhesive that costs about $11.37, various fixings of approximately $37.17, the laminate floor of $67.19, tape measure of about $7.32 and many more. Acquired materials include bedding, cladding, fixings plyboard, and many more. 

The cost of purchasing a new or used van varies on the model of the truck. VW Vanagons are one of the most expensive vans on the market today. The cheap VW Vanagons cost about $25,000. Unlike the VW Vanagons, Sprinter vans are much more affordable. However, some of their parts can be costly. Depending on several factors, a sprinter van ranges from $30,000 to $150,000. Cargo vans are ideal for urban stealth camping. Unlike other vans, these motorhomes come with little or no headroom. These vans have cheaper parts with low maintenance. The price of cargo vans ranges from $35 to $150,000. 

Renting a van depends on a few factors. The length, as well as the size of your van rental, are two of the crucial factors. You can be sure that renting a larger 12 passenger, or sprinter van will be much more expensive than renting minivans and family-sized vans. On average, a rental car in the trailer costs $622 per week, approximately $89 per day. 

Monthly van life cost

The cost to live and travel in a van depends on the number of van lifers and the economic situation of the hosting city or state. On average, it can cost around $2500 per month to live on the road between two people. This might cost double for a family who is on a van life trip. Likewise, there are some cities in the US with a good standard of living where you will buy your food, drink, and other essential materials at a cheaper rate. 

Even though van living helps you escape expenses of renting or owning a house, there is gas, food as well as insurance to pay. Some van lifers who cook their meals every day tend to spend less compared to the ones who visit restaurants every morning and night. Foods in some regions of South America are costly, and you would have to pay more to enjoy these mouth-watering dishes. Also, a few van life travelers are fortunate to get a free campsite for their van, thereby, saving up bucks that would have been spent on paying for the service. 

If you hope to save a lot of bucks while living on the road, it is essential to avoid splurging on entertainment. For instance, you should avoid organizing picnic parties unless you have to celebrate your partner’s birthday or wedding anniversary. Also, avoid regular visits to concerts, cinemas, theatres, and other social places. A regular visit to tourist attractions, paying for campsites, and crisscrossing the country can be more expensive than your traditional lifestyle. While making arrangements for all these expenses, it is also essential for you to cater for unexpected costs. For instance, when your van breaks down halfway to Chile, make sure you have an emergency fund to get you out of the road as soon as possible. 

Breakdown of Van Life Expenses

At this stage, we are sure you know that living on the road does not cost a fortune, like your traditional lifestyle, where you have to pay to own a house or rent it. Nevertheless, there are still some pertinent items to purchase before you drive around the cities of the world. Here is a breakdown of the necessary expenses and how much you should prepare for each aspect. 

Food/Cooking 

Of the plethora of items, you will need to survive on the road; the food is the most essential. Not only is it what you have to take almost three times daily but also one of the significant sources of energy to push your campervan down to the cities in Idaho. If you have a van with a tiny fridge and stove top, then you should thank your creature. With the stovetop, you can easily set it up at campgrounds or run it on propane to get yourself a dinner. Van lifers with no stovetop in their RV should purchase one and fix it before setting out on the trip. 

For van life travelers with little or no skill of cooking, or campers who don’t like to make dishes, make sure you incur a lot of funds in your food/cooking budget. If you have to eat three gourmet meals in cities like New York City, then be ready to break up your bank. Van lifers who can make their meals should prepare about $250 per month on groceries, and those with little skill in cooking should get ready about $400 per month on groceries. 

About $360 should be budgeted for van life travelers who would take little or no fast food from cafés or restaurants while on the road. Campers who would have no other options than to visit café and restaurants almost every day should prepare about $500. Van lifers who have come on a road trip in order to save up expenses should avoid fast and indulge in eating out at restaurants more often.

Gas 

Like the food, the gas is also another essential item you must give adequate attention to as it incurs a lot of bucks in it. This is because your van moves from one place to another almost every day. You will need to consider the cost of gas if you are a van lifer who loves to travel a lot. Van life travelers should avoid purchasing or renting an old van with no or poor gas mileage. When you don’t have an accurate gas mileage, you will have to be paying quite a bit in gas. Therefore, it is vital to get the best miles per gallon gas mileage while you are converting your van. 

There are different means to pay fewer bucks for gas. One of which is having a credit card that gives excellent gas rewards. If you have to fill it often, you can make a little cash from it. Aside from the credit card, make sure you get apps that can quickly locate gas stations with the cheapest rate no matter the region you ride to. So, make sure you prepare about $500 for gas. 

Laundry

You are lucky if your RV comes with a washer and dryer to make laundry right inside your van. However, if your van has no washer and dryer, all you need to do is to check out the nearest as well as the cheapest laundromat around your hosting city. You can always take your dirty clothes to the laundromat whenever you need to and pay some bucks for the service. Make sure you prepare about $150 for regular washing and drying in the laundromat every month. 

Internet

You don’t have to budget much for your internet usage. This is because most museums, libraries as well as businesses have free Wi-Fi that you can easily access. Meanwhile, it is advisable to come with a mobile device with a good data plan in case you will be staying or visiting places with no free Wi-Fi. 

Conclusion

In a nutshell, this post has reviewed how cheap living in a van can be. If you hope to save up a lot of expenses on your traditional lifestyle, nothing can make you forget you lost your house than living on the road. Living in a van also allows you to see the world from different angles. Since you already know you won’t have to spend a fortune to live this lifestyle, we wish you a safe trip as you embark on a van life trip.   

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