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Living life on the road is a dream for many people.
But it can be hard to know where to start, or what to do when you are out there in the wild.
You want more freedom and adventure in your life, but don’t know how to make that happen.
We’re going to break down everything from how much money you’ll need for your first trip (spoiler alert – not much!) all the way through choosing a vehicle and how to build it.
This guide will be as comprehensive as possible so that by the time we’re done with this article there won’t be anything left for you to worry about!
If you’re ready for an exciting new lifestyle then this guide is for you!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Van life is exactly what it sounds like.
People who live in their vehicle full time with no fixed home or location.
Can you imagine…
The freedom of traveling anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, and being able to stop for a night or two in places that are beautiful, or relaxing, or have awesome things going on?
Not having to worry about where your next meal is coming from because you can always just cook it in your van.
Being able to work wherever you want, or not at all if you don’t feel like it.
Having a completely different lifestyle from most people around you.
Not having to answer to anyone about what you do with your life, and being able to make every day exactly how you want it to be.
Sounds amazing right?
But it’s not as easy as it seems.
People romanticize the lifestyle all the time and don’t realize how much work goes into making it happen.
But if you’re up for a challenge, and curious enough to try something different then we have some great news for you…
It can be done pretty easily!
There are all sorts of reasons to make the jump into van life.
It could be that your current situation is draining you, and you just need to get out for a bit.
Maybe you want to do some traveling for a while before settling down somewhere else later on (that’s what many people do).
Or possibly there are just so many beautiful places in the world, and you finally want to see them for yourself.
Van life is a way of putting adventure back into your everyday life.
You are constantly looking for new things to do, and feel stimulated by all the different cultures that surround you.
It’s also a great way to save money on rent while you’re traveling.
If you’re curious about this lifestyle but aren’t sure how to get started, or what it entails then don’t worry! We’ve got you!
So, let’s start with the basics…
Well, it all starts with a van, doesn’t it?
You can’t just jump into this lifestyle without a vehicle.
Maybe you already have one that you’re planning on converting, or maybe you need to get your hands on one before you can even start thinking about this adventure.
We’re going to go over a few different options in the next section, so don’t worry if you don’t know which one will work for you just yet.
And before we get carried away talking about all the things that your van needs, let’s make sure you have some money to do this with.
It’s not going to be the cheapest thing you ever do, but it doesn’t have to break the bank either.
This is the million-dollar question that nearly everyone who hasn’t done this before is wondering.
And there’s no exact answer to it either because it all depends on what kind of van you’re looking for, where it’s located in the world, and how long you plan to live in it.
It really depends on what you are looking for when buying your van.
For instance, if you want something that’s nice and luxurious then you can find a van that’s $30,000 to $60,000 or more which will get from point A to B just fine but will cost you more in the long run.
On the other hand, if you are willing to build your own custom van then it will be a lot cheaper which is around $10,000-$25,000 but it will take time to find the right parts and to do the manual labor.
And don’t forget, there are also other costs which include gas, insurance, camping site fees, dining out, recreational fees, and anything else that comes up along the way.
These can cost you between $500-$2,000 or more a month, depending on your spending habits.
There are a lot of things to keep in mind when making this decision, but usually, it’s just a matter of weighing out how much money you have to spend versus how long you plan on living in it.
The first step before you can get started with van life is obviously to choose a vehicle.
They come in all shapes and sizes so it’s best to decide what your own needs are before you even start looking at vans for sale.
For example, do you need a place to sleep and store your things?
Do you want something small and maneuverable for off-road adventures?
Or are you okay with taking up more space in exchange for having multiple beds or somewhere to put your kitchen area?
How long are you planning on traveling for before heading back home again?
There are a lot of things to think about, so let’s go ahead and break those ideas down one by one.
Does size matter?
When you first start looking into van life the allure of huge RVs is pretty powerful.
They seem like a great way to have a lot of space to yourself, and can often be converted into mobile homes at a later stage.
But then you realize how expensive they are, how much gas they need, and don’t forget about the whole ordeal of parking them overnight.
They also aren’t the best vehicles to take off-roading in most cases, something that is pretty important if you’re looking for adventure.
…But It’s All Relative!
You don’t need to spend your entire life savings on a giant RV with four beds, air conditioning, and a full kitchen.
In fact, you may find that this kind of setup isn’t perfect for your lifestyle.
That doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy the smallest vehicle in the world either (not everyone wants to drive a tiny Toyota Echo it turns out).
Take some time to think about what kinds of features you really need from your vehicle to make van life work for you.
Take a look at the different options available, and decide which ones are the best for you, now and in the future as well.
If you don’t need something with a shower or air conditioning on-board then there’s no reason to spend that kind of money.
Do You Really Need… That?
In our opinion, the most important thing to consider is your power supply.
For some reason, a lot of people forget about this when they’re thinking about the van they want to buy, and it can cause some serious problems down the road.
Not only should you look for something that has solar panels or an actual 110v power outlet, but you also want to stay away from the big diesel engine RVs.
On average they use a lot more gas and are way noisier than their smaller counterparts.
Plus, if all else fails you can always install solar panels on your roof or find an alternative place to store them inside for when you need them.
No Power? No Problem!
There are a lot of other options for people who don’t have the means to put solar panels on their vehicles.
Some people go with gas generators if they really need electricity, and others stick to smaller things like lights that run off USB power banks, phones chargers, or the cigarette lighter on your car.
Part of the charm of van life is being able to unplug from society and not having a need for all the things you’re used to.
While it may be frustrating at first, eventually you’ll find that living without those things makes you so much happier and more satisfied in the end.
With so many types of vehicles to choose from, sometimes it’s hard to figure out which one would be the best for you.
While both are great for the nomadic lifestyle, they do have their own set of benefits that make each one perfect for different people.
To help you figure out which choice is best for you, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons to consider when making this decision.
It has more storage space than most vans and can usually fit all of your belongings with room left over for plenty of extra things.
If it’s an Airstream or other fiberglass trailer, it will be stronger and lighter, which makes it more fuel-efficient to tow.
You have to hook your trailer up to your car in order for it to work.
If something happens with the connection at the hitch or the wiring, you may be stuck until you can find a mechanic to help with it.
They can also be difficult to maneuver, especially in small spaces like parking lots and your driveway.
When choosing what type of vehicle is best for your nomadic lifestyle, always think about the things that matter to you most.
Some choose travel trailers because they need more storage space, while others prefer the freedom of not having to worry about hooking up a trailer every time they want to leave.
It’s important that you consider all aspects and go with what will work best for your unique situation.
However, if you’d rather live in a van, that’s perfectly okay too.
You won’t have to worry about hooking and unhooking your van from a trailer every time you want to leave.
It only takes a few minutes to get set up in a parking lot when you’re ready to settle down for the night.
Some vans feature beds that lower down from the ceiling, so you won’t have to use an air mattress that can deflate throughout the night.
You’ll be limited by how much storage space it offers and may not have a lot of room for many belongings.
If it’s hot outside and you don’t have any windows in the back to open, then you may get a little claustrophobic.
Basically, it all comes down to personal preference.
Now that we’ve given you plenty to think about and help guide your decision-making process, it’s time to make your choice.
Use this as a helpful resource, and choose the type of vehicle that is best for you!
If you are on a budget or maybe you are handy, you can build your own van.
This will allow you to get exactly what you want out of your van, instead of buying a pre-made setup.
It can be hard to build a van by yourself, but not impossible if you have the right guidance and tools.
Here are some tips and tricks on building your travel van:
Before you start buying or building anything, it’s important to think about how you want your van to be laid out.
You can go with a simple bed in the back and living area upfront, or if you’re someone who needs more space, consider adding a kitchenette.
Remember that this is YOUR van, so make it functional for your own unique lifestyle.
Here is a great video by Sarah & James – Custom Crafted Vans Explaining the best van layouts.
To make your van feel more like home, get creative when decorating!
Do you have a knack for art?
Decorate the walls with some bright colors and cool drawings to liven up the space.
Don’t have any artistic skills?
Just add some bright lights so it’s easier to see and a few potted plants for liveliness.
Incorporate your favorite things into the design of your van so it really feels like you.
Having storage is very important when designing your layout since you will have limited space.
Take advantage of all the pockets and storage spaces in the overhead compartments, under the seats, and behind the driver’s seat.
Many people choose to build in extra storage bins for more efficient use of space.
If you’re someone who likes to have a lot of things with them when they travel, keep that in mind!
Building your van can be fun as long as you immediately think about how you’ll utilize the space!
If you want to get more ideas, check out this awesome video via Van Life Sagas where they give you storage hacks.
One of the biggest concerns people have before they find a van to live in is safety.
It’s natural to worry about someone trying to break into your vehicle, especially if it has all of your belongings inside.
Here are our tips for staying safe while living inside a van on the road:
These safety tips will help you feel much more comfortable while living inside a van.
Be sure to pay special attention to the windows on your van since most thieves will try to gain access that way if they see anything of value inside or outside of it.
Another concern that van life skeptics have is whether or not they can make enough money while having a van to live in full time.
If you think about it, most of these fears are based on misconceptions about what it means to live in a van.
For one thing, people think that vans are only for people who already have lots of money and that you have to be rich to do it.
In reality, vans are for anyone who doesn’t want a normal 9-to-5 job but still wants to make enough money on the road to pay living costs in a van, buy food, and fees for adventures.
You can find lots of different jobs that will let you work remotely or even take your position full-time.
Some of these include:
Earning money from display ads, referral programs, affiliate links, or Google Adsense can be an excellent way to earn an income while van life.
Check out this article that shows you have to get started with your own blog.
If you have solid writing skills then there are tons of job opportunities for you online.
You can do blog posts, write eBooks and white papers, or even ghostwrite entire books for other people.
This is a newer career path that’s been gaining popularity as more companies are looking for people who can work from home and contractors who don’t mind traveling from place to place.
You’ll need a degree in something like computer science or programming if you want to make money through a remote staffing agency, but it’s a great way to work in different places across the globe and make enough money to live comfortably.
If you’re a talented artist then there’s also the option to draw on your tablet or phone and sell art online through sites like DeviantArt or Etsy.
You can check out our comprehensive article here to help you get started.
If you’re skilled at social media marketing, blogging, graphic design, or even SEO then there are plenty of work-from-home opportunities since most companies don’t mind finding people who can do their job from anywhere in the world!
When you consider all of these unique opportunities, it becomes clear that van life isn’t just for people who already have money.
As long as you’re capable of doing a good job, companies and entrepreneurs will give you plenty of options to work from wherever there is an internet connection.
As you can see, living inside a van isn’t nearly as expensive or risky as most people think.
Whether you’re looking for a new way to travel in style or want to save money on rent while still being able to afford the things you need, having a van to live in is a great option that’s perfect for anyone giving up their 9-to-5 job.
If you are thinking of living inside a van, it’s essential that you understand what you are letting yourself in for.
Living on the road isn’t all sunshine and rainbows; there are certainly some major challenges to overcome.
Here are a few challenges you may face while having a van to live in:
The best way to get over this is simply by starting your journey, even if that means going on day trips for now.
Once you’ve made it out of the city it’s much easier to make friends at campgrounds, etc.
It can be intimidating at first especially if you are doing this solo, but don’t let that stop you.
You’ll be surprised how much fun it is to meet new people and make friends from all over the world!
This is especially true if you live with another person or bring a lot of expensive camera gear with you!
You’ll have to find other ways of storing things, so make sure to get creative with it.
This is definitely one of the biggest challenges with van life.
The best way to overcome loneliness is by joining online VanLife communities on Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube.
On top of that, there are a lot of great meetups and events for people who live on the road as well!
This might not apply to everyone, but winter can be incredibly challenging while living inside a van in colder climates.
Make sure you do your research and check what the weather is like during different times of the year before making any big decisions on where you want to live.
It may even be worth spending part of the year somewhere warm, and the other part in a place with more diverse weather.
If you’re really lucky, both will work out fine!
Whether it’s staying in a parking lot for weeks on end, finding food every day, or dealing with the people who think vans are just homes for hobos.
In fact, the biggest obstacle of them all is your mind.
It’s hard to stay positive when you’re living in a tiny place and not being able to shower on a daily basis.
The best way to overcome this is by continuing on your journey, even if you’re tired and feeling defeated.
It’s important to keep moving forward and remember why you started living inside a van in the first place.
If all else fails just take a deep breath, count your blessings, and think of all of the awesome things to come!
Another obstacle you’ll face is trying to find work while being on the road.
It’s hard to maintain a consistent job when you don’t have an address or are constantly on the move.
The best way around this is to simply find work online!
Take a look at Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer for some work that you can do remotely from your laptop.
Alternatively, you could also find part-time work at a campground/RV resort in exchange for a free stay!
It’s not the easiest way to make money but it comes with other perks as well.
If any or all of the above may seem daunting to you then the best solution might be to have a nice chat with a friend or family member.
Even just letting them know that you’re considering it and asking questions can help ease your mind as well as theirs!
If you’re just starting out it can be difficult to find the right tools to help you transition into van life.
We have found the best resources that we recommend to make this process as seamless as possible.
There are also a ton of great blogs and vlogs about living in vans out there that you may find useful for getting new ideas.
Some of the best include:
1. Hobo Ahle [Solo Female VanLifer]
2. GNomad Home [top resource for van building]
3. TinyHomeTruck [learn how to convert a truck into a tiny home!]
4. Novel Kulture [how to make money on the road]
5. Diversify Van Life [highlights the less-heard voices in the Vanlife and Nomadic communities]
There are also a ton of great books out there about living inside a van. Some are focused on specific regions, whereas others are more general guides to van life!
Some of the best include:
1. How to live in a van and travel: Live everywhere, be free, and have adventures on a campervan or motorhome – your home on wheels
2. Van Build: A complete DIY guide to designing, converting, and self-building your campervan or motorhome
3. Where Should We Camp Next?: A 50-State Guide to Amazing Campgrounds and Other Unique Outdoor Accommodations (Plan a Family-Friendly Budget-Conscious Summer Trip)
4. How to Live the Dream: Things Every Van Lifer Needs to Know
5. 100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do
These resources will be a huge help to you if you’re new to van life.
Now that you understand more about what van life is all about, it’s time for you to take the plunge and start living your best life.
There’s nothing stopping you from going out tomorrow and buying a van, but if you need some more time then just go on day trips for now or even rent one for a weekend.
Having a van to live in might seem like it is too much hassle, but trust us, once you get past the first month or two, it becomes so much easier!
Just make sure to take your time and be smart about what van will work best with your budget.
Vanlife is all about making new friends, seeing the world from a different perspective, and challenging yourself to be the best you can be.
Don’t let your fear of change stop you from going out there and making it happen.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
If you are looking to sell on Amazon you need to do some basic product research. It may sound like a simple process but there’s a lot that goes into it.
And if you don’t have the experience it may take months or even years to fully understand how to sell the right products and make a profit.
Luckily there’s a tool you can use that makes this process easy.
In this Jungle Scout Review, we will be sharing everything you need to know about this product search tool for Amazon.
Jungle Scout is a Chrome extension that allows sellers on Amazon to see important information about the products they’re selling.
When you use it to search for items, you’re given detailed information about:
There are other features you can use with the Jungle Scout extension, but be aware that some of them are limited to Jungle Scout pro.
Since you are getting detailed information, you can determine the best products to sell and how to price them.
There are multiple versions that you can use, the standard version is what we’ll mainly be focusing on with our Jungle Scout Review.
This version is great for beginners to work with and comes with plenty of features that will help you succeed on Amazon.
Another option is the API version, which allows you to go more in-depth on historical sales data for products.
There is also the Cobalt version, which is centered around helping enterprises grow on Amazon stores with all kinds of useful insight.
Finally, there’s Downstream, which is geared for advertising on Amazon by streamlining everything related to marketing and data onto a single platform.
If you use the Jungle Scout extension, you’ll be able to save yourself money and time on what otherwise would be hours of research.
The installation process for this extension is fairly simple. You’ll first need to visit the Jungle Scout website to install the app.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to sign up for Jungle Scout’s services, selecting the option for Amazon sellers.
There are 4 main subscription plans offered for the Jungle Scout Suite.
New users to this extension will get a 7-day Jungle scout free trial of the pro version upon joining.
Once you are registered, you’ll be ready to get started!
Jungle Scout is packed with features that will make selling so much easier for you!
Here is the list of features you can expect to find when using Jungle Scout:
It does this by giving you access to real-time data of each product.
You’re then able to sort each set of products into groups to keep your data organized.
There’s even an option for exporting the data as a CSV file for other uses.
What it does is email out your newly released product to a pool of potential buyers that fit the demographic of the product you’re selling.
There are also limits you can set to your promotional offers for products so buyers can’t overuse them.
You can customize what you’ll be alerted about, whether it’s changes in the product titles, new sellers, or categories.
This tracking feature is great for staying one step ahead of the competition!
You can even use the existing product listings on Amazon to give yourself a competitive edge by adding their keyword to your listing or by tapping into what they haven’t.
The Jungle Scout Database is thorough and can even match products to their factories.
These searches can be conducted through the use of ASINs which instantly gets you the result you want.
Pricing details are included for when you’re ready to make an order, and you’re even able to place that order through this feature.
With this feature, you’ll be able to see each opportunity as it appears, determine if it’s just a seasonal item and vet them to make sure they’re good for you to sell. (This feature is limited to the Pro version exclusively)
You can sort your searches through categories, sales rank, revenue, and estimated sales to reveal the best opportunities.
This also includes the FBA profit calculator so you can keep track of any overhead costs that may come up when working on your next listing.
This learning hub includes over 130 videos designed to cover the entire journey a seller goes through.
You’ll be able to work on this course at your own pace and if you have any tough questions, you can ask on their live Q&A streams.
You’ll be provided with the complete historical data of the products you search for and be able to figure out if they are the right items to sell.
You can also input ASINs or the Amazon Standard Identification Number to see how well a specific product has been performing over a monthly period.
Once you’ve conducted your trend research, you’ll even be able to add it to your tracker.
This is great for figuring out what keywords are great and which ones aren’t.
By reverse searching the ASINs of your competitors you’ll also be able to see how well they’ve been performing with their keywords.
Another great part of this feature is how you can easily import an existing keyword list or your results from the Keyword Scout onto it to quickly get an analysis going.
It helps identify which keywords are working best for you and which ones aren’t.
A recent addition to this feature is the seller central linking options, which allows you to pull your product listings into Jungle Scout to help you figure out how to best optimize them.
After you have set that up, all you need to do is check for results. This feature even shows how much time you’re saving just by using it!
You can see the details down to the product level to show how well something’s been performing over time.
Another part of this feature is its ability to show you a financial loss statement so you can find out how your business is doing.
The sales analytics allows you to better customize your expenses and find out how well your PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns are working out.
It does this by keeping track of how much you currently have and providing you with predictive data showing how things may change shortly with sales.
It is also great for dodging unnecessary Amazon product storage fees as well as stock shortages.
These features are only the tip of the iceberg and of course you can try it out by using the Jungle scout free trial.
All of them are super helpful in making your career as an Amazon seller successful.
Now that you have the extension, it’s time to learn how to make the most of it!
By following along with these steps, you’ll be able to start maximizing how well your Amazon products perform!
The first step is to install Jungle Scout free trial then go to your Amazon account where you’ll want to conduct your product research.
Secondly, after you follow through with your search on Amazon, you’ll want to hit the Jungle Scout logo on the top right side of your browser, then you’ll need to wait for the Jungle Scout Extension to appear.
Once you have installed the extension this is what should appear:
The third step is removing any products that don’t belong on your list by hovering over them and checking each item, as they can skew your results.
To delete them, simply select the X that appears when you hover over them.
Finally, you’ll want to look for a product that has sold exceptionally well over the past month(usually products that have moved over 200 units with a decent amount of reviews are good choices).
As you can see it isn’t difficult to use this extension at all.
You’ll be able to stay on top of any opportunities for selling products that come your way.
The answer simply lies in how efficient it is to use.
Once you’ve installed this Jungle Scout free trial it takes no more than 5 minutes to get results from it, which is why so many Amazon sellers have used it to help them succeed and create profit.
Jungle Scout is a massive time saver and you can start seeing the benefits almost immediately.
You’ll also have more time to focus on marketing and sourcing your products.
The accuracy of Jungle Scout compared to similar extensions is unparalleled; their results are 99% accurate once all the unrelated or unnecessary results are removed from your searches.
Just remember that you have control over how specific your searches are, they can be as broad or as specific as you like.
The customer service that Jungle Scout has is also exceptional, which is another plus for sellers that might run into any issues when using the extension.
Jungle Scout is an incredibly useful extension that Amazon sellers should add to their browsers.
It not only saves time in conducting market research but also presents you with chances to capitalize on other opportunities as they appear in real-time.
So you shouldn’t wait any longer if you’re hoping to make it as a successful seller on Amazon!