Worst Van Life Ever!

6 Van Life Fails to Avoid

We always try to share the ups and downs of how to live the van life, but we recently went through the worst van life we have ever experienced! It was a great adventure hunting out a new van for our Around The World Travel Series; but as beautiful as it was crossing the USA in our newly purchased Kombi, it was nowhere near a livable home on wheels.

We broke all the rules that we had written about for Preparing for the Road.We ran out of time in the USA, so we were unable to properly prepare our vehicle for the elements or finish building the interior to turn into a liveable and comfortable home on wheels.

These are the 6 unfortunate Van Life Fails we experienced and the reasons why you should never break these Van Life rules.


Van Life Fail #1 : No Privacy


Who in their right mind would sleep in a van without any kind of blockout from the outside world? Well, we did and we’re not proud of it.

Even though we managed to find safe and free camping spots to sleep in we just couldn’t rest soundly knowing that people could just walk past and look in at us whilst we’re sleeping. It’s no wonder that this point made it to our Top 10 Worst Things about Van Life list. Having the sun beaming down at you first thing in the morning isn’t ideal either and it just made living in a van super uncomfortable. It was only after an attempted break-in in New Orleans and when we were faced with sleeping on the Harlem streets in New York City that we found some dark material to drape over the windows so that we could have some privacy and protection for our belongings in the van. So, if you’re planning to do what we did and plan to be sleeping in an unfinished camper, at the very least get some sheets over those windows.


It is fair to say that we had some of the worst nights sleep because of the lack of privacy, so we advise to avoid this Van Life fail if you want to keep sane and healthy on the road.


Van Life Fail #2 : Unprepared for the Elements


This Van Life fail can happen to anyone. If your van or RV is not prepared for the outdoors you’re in for a rough ride. Our problem was leaky windows and lack of preparation for our worst van life enemies, bugs. Dealing with the worst Mosquitoes ever, or Noseeums, or actually any type of bugs and van life don’t mix! So if you are unprepared for these little buggers, you are going to have a rough time out there.

We had sleepless nights being eaten alive by mosquitoes and those little noseeums because we didn’t pack (or couldn’t find) our bug nets and bug spray. On our road trip to Alaska in our previous van, we tried many different techniques to stop the relentless Alaskan mosquitoes from ruining our fun. This time, we were completely unprepared for the elements and worse than that our windows leaked like crazy! Not a good thing when all of your belongings are in the bus.


Van Life Fail #3 : No Organisation


As well as stupidly living in our van whilst it was being converted, we also traveled and lived with all of our worldly belongings packed inside the van with us. So you can imagine just how crammed and disorganized our living space was. When you are living in a van, organisation is KEY to being able to live comfortably in a tiny space. A lack of this results in a immensely frustrating and impracticable way of living.


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Van Life Fail #4 : Unhealthy Eating

Being able to cook for yourself is the only way you can truly give your body what it needs. If you don’t have a cooking setup in your van, you will fall into the trap of eating fast food and takeout on the road.

We had spent many hours researching what the fridge options are for van life, the best cookers for campers as well as the necessary items you need for a van life kitchen BUT we didn’t have time to put any of those into our new van build ad we were left with NOTHING! No cooker, no way to boil water, nothing to store food in, nothing. Evidently, this led us to eating take out and ready made food from the supermarket. Not only was it pricey, it wasn’t always the healthiest of options.


Van Life Fail #5 : No Exercise

This Van Life fail is similar to that of unhealthy eating. When you live in a van, you drive a lot which means a lot sitting down and little exercise.

Normally we wouldn’t drive for days without giving ourselves a break. This time we were on a tight schedule and our time out of the van was non-existent. We were miserable because of the lack of exercise and it not only affected our mood, it also had an impact on our overall health.


Van Life Fail #6 : Poor Sleeping Arrangements


Never live in a van without a bed. That’s all we need to say about this Van Life fail.

We slept on a thin mattress that was on a piece of wood that was on boxes. Don’t do this, you won’t sleep well and you you will be grumpy. Very grumpy.


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