A car or recreational vehicle can provide four walls and a roof over your head and even tea and coffee facilities. Whether its a car, caravan, camper-van, motor home or recreational vehicle, a vehicle can be both transport and accommodation.
- 1 Living in a Car
- 2 Living in a Recreational Vehicle
- 3 Where do you park?
- 4 RV Gatherings
- 5 Free camping Tips and Hints
- 6 Vanlife
- 7 Resources
Living in a Car
- A car.
- A travel kettle that plugs into the cigarette lighter.
- Bungee ropes, gardening wire, torches and some bed linen.
- A gas stove, pots and pans.
- A deodoriser, that you hang in the car.
- It is not illegal to sleep in your car, but you will be woken by curious coppers.
- You can travel when you want, and stay in one place when you want.
- Parking is largely free.
- Getting to pick up hitchhikers.
- Hot in the summer, problem of shade from an early-morning sun, cold in the winter.
- There is no running water, electricity or refrigeration.
- Paying for gas, but you can make money from ride shares.
How do you sleep?
Sliding forward the two front seats provides space for a back-seat bedroom. A bean bag behind the driver's seat will help, pillows to level out the back bench.
Where do you shower?
Service stations, bus staions, train stations, rivers, lakes, a connection you have made via hospitality exchange and public facilities.
Where you go to the toilet?
Bus stations, train stations, supermarkets and of course public toilets. If you have the nerve it is possible to enter a larger restaurant or bar, when it's busy. If in an RV, van or car, try the Thetford Porta-Potti methods. Double bagging, wet wipes, and alcoholic gel.
Never leave anything on display, and always lock your vehicle. A vehicle is safer when in a pack of vehicles, rather than a lone vehicle on the edge of the pack. When you park up chat with the people camping around you.
Think about buying a caravan, which is a vehicle equipped for living in, and is typically towed by a car.
Hints and Tips
- Use online websites to locate a cheap car for your journey.
- Buy insurance cover.
- Having a more discrete vehicle will always lower your chances of theft.
- Know where the nearest public toilet is, along with nearest gym, post offices etc.
- Think about buying a roof top tent for your car. They are pretty amazing, since easily mount directly to your roof rack or aftermarket roof bars and can be fully setup in just a few minutes.
Living in a Recreational Vehicle
A recreational vehicle (RV), often called a "caravan", "camper van" and "motorhome", is, in North America, the usual term for a motor vehicle or trailer equipped with living space and amenities found in a home. If you have the cash then, a camper van or RV is a great way to go. However, they are much more expensive than cars if you are looking to buy.
In some countries, such as Australia, there are many places to hire a camper van, and many places to buy and sell them cheaply. You may also make a profit if yo have good bargaining and selling skills. You can learn more about buying and selling a camper van in Australia here.
- Cheap RV Living is a good resource for living cheaply via a RV life.
Where do you park?
Parking is an issue for those with cars, or those with a RV. Yo can park anywhere, from fields, parking lots, roads to service stations. In many ways, using a RV or car as accomodation is similar to Camping by tent.
Free camping is a great way to reduce your daily costs, by not paying campsite fees. The downside is that you do not have the facilities that the campsite offers (toilet or shower). If you follow your common sense you can enjoy free camping in lots of lovely areas, meet people and save money.
Suitable wild camping areas
- Beaches: Beaches are a great, and for many, the best place to free camp. You can normally park up in a sandy or dirt car park, facing the sea. Beach areas are normally quiet and have beautiful views and sounds. Some have toilets, and some have cold water showers.
- Truck stops: Many cross-country main roads have truck stops where truckers stop overnight. Almost all are free, some not being much more that dirt areas to the side of fuel stations. These areas can be good places to stop for the night. Safety is generally good.Stay out of the way of the trucks. The trucks need a lot of space to turn, and won't be happy if you are parked in the way. Look on the dirt surface to see their tire tracks, this will indicate where they turn and park.
- Road laybys:: It is often possible to find road laybys in which to park. Often around lakes or mountain areas. Parking next to a busy road isn't a good idea. Crime can be high in roadside areas.
- Supermarket car parks: Some supermarkets allow vehicle to park overnight. Ask permission before stopping for the night, as you don't want to be locked in or clamped.
- City parks: Many city parks have large roads or avenues around them. It is often possible to find somewhere to park for the night.
- Urban areas: If you have a small vehicle, you can often park in urban areas. Always be aware of your profile though, crime is an issue.
Free camping Tips and Hints
- Try and buy supplies, fuel and food in local establishments.
- It is important to not upset the local people, police and authorities. If you do upset people you, and everyone else there, will almost certainly be moved on. This may also jeopardise the future of the free camping location.
- Never leave any rubbish or waste behind.
- Never make excessive noise. If you are playing music ensure only you can hear it.
- Park sensible, so that people can use the parking bays around your vehicle.
- If you have to run your engine to charge your leisure batteries, do so during the day, and not at night or early morning.
- Don't ever use a generator, as they are noisy and everyone will hear it. If you need mains electricity then you probably need a campsite.
Yes, its trendy... alot of people seeking to follow the #vanlife trend. It just means converting and sleeping in a van, instead of a car or RV. Many of the same tips and hints apply. Its not all rosy. Check out A Realist’s View of the Vanlife Trend.
- Park4night is an app, that allows you to find/share the nice spots where you like to relax with your camper, your equipped van or normal van.
- The Road Is Our Home (facebook)
- Nomadic Fanatic is a RV youtube star.
- Carolyn's RV Life - single (solo) woman traveling, living and working in an RV with my dog Capone.
- Free Sea Party - a RV social experiment.