• Steven Cohen

16. Vanlife, cheap you said? (EN)

Mis à jour : 15 oct. 2020

This morning, after two weeks on the road, we decide to let go and stay at the Resort. For my part, I go back to work: emails, phone calls, conferences, etc. I also take the opportunity to take a look at the budget of this new life in on the road. As for Emily, she takes advantage of this rest day to stroll with Dov and enjoy the pleasures of the resort's toilets and private showers. After all, I admit that a little comfort has never hurt anyone!

Besides, since we left Dallas, there is a question that keeps coming back: how much does this “Vanlife” cost? And at the same time, is it cheaper than living in an apartment? It is true that between the price of gasoline, insurance, repairs of the van, the various nights in the parks or resorts and food, all these combined expenses still weigh in the balance.

Personally, I always used to keep an eye on my finances. On my twelfth birthday, my mother gave me my first pocket money, which was accompanied by an accounting book, which she taught me to fill out daily. Since that day, I started to keep all my receipts, to list my expenses and know where this money went. Twenty years later, this habit has remained intact! As you can see, listen to your mother, she could teach you the basics to make a fortune.

But let's back to the expense of living in a van, which seems to intrigue more than one. When we were in Dallas, the cost of living averaged around $ 5,000 a month. Including the rent and utilities, our 3 cars (insurance, toll and gas), as well as miscellaneous expenses such as shopping, restaurants or travel. Now, since we started our trip in the Eurovan, we have reduced this figure by 20%, while keeping our usual comfort (security, water, toilet, electricity, shower, etc.). Therefore, even if the Vanlife seems more affordable, it's not the optimal way to save money, it has a real cost attached to it...

On the other hand, during the month of April 2020, we opted for the "wild" camping grounds. That is to say, living on public plots of land which are under the aegis of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and for which no rent has to be paid, is a life changed! Usually these places have no toilet, shower, electricity or access to water. In addition, they are usually in the middle of nowhere, now you understand why it's free! On the other hand, this type of camping allowed us to reduce our monthly expenses by 70% and we manage to spend only $ 1,500 per month there!

However, let's be honest, even if the nature around us was beautiful, this way of life does not seem to be for everyone. First, we invested in a 60W solar panel and a 240Wh generator to store the energy it produced. Then we expanded our water supply in the van from 12 to 20 gallons to continue washing dishes, cooking and drinking for a longer period of time. Finally, the highlight of the show, we built a toilet from a plastic bucket, adding wood shavings at the bottom and a small portable shower to wash ourselves outside of the van.

Therefore, as you can see, the Vanlife remains within everyone's reach and even allows some savings if you are ready to make certain concessions in your comfort zone. In addition, if you are resourceful, camping in the wild (BLM) should not be a problem for you. Nothing is impossible for a true Vanlifer 😉.

Blog dedicated to Marie Nigro and Virginie Sut-Knuttila

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Steven est né au cap de Bonne-Espérance en Afrique du Sud. Cette étape n’est que la première d’un long en voyage. Après une jeunesse passée...


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