You’ve determined to drop the roots that maintain you in a single place and see what the world has to supply, taking your own home on the go. Very similar to an lovely hermit crab or turtle, you need to be secure, comfy, and totally ready for no matter journey comes your method, wherever on this planet you need to be. 

Welcome to van life.

Residing in a van is a variety of enjoyable. It lets you be fully location unbiased, providing you with the liberty to go the place you please, as long as there’s a highway to take you there. 

However, similar to something in life, it’s not all epic sunsets, picture-perfect campsites, and comfy nights. There are a variety of professionals and cons to residing in a van however selecting the right car sort for the van life you dream of is vital to creating it give you the results you want.

Whereas vans are available many shapes, sizes, and colours, I’ve damaged them down into 5 differing types. These automobiles will give you both extra off-road capabilities, extra inside area, or a extra lux expertise. Fill within the blanks to select the most effective van for your van life. 

Jeep / SUV with Roof Tent


  • Use your on a regular basis car
  • No constructing mandatory
  • Can take you anyplace, roads non-compulsory
  • The most effective-fitted car will include an enormous price ticket, an older or used mannequin will likely be inexpensive


  • Not nice for constructing an inside residing area
  • Small, not in a position to stand inside
  • Unhealthy climate is a dealbreaker

Let’s begin with the smallest possibility on this listing and one which’s really not a van in any respect. Choosing a Jeep or small SUV with all-wheel drive (AWD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD) received’t provide you with an indoor kitchen or workspace but it surely’s the last word car for out of doors adventures.

We met loads of folks on the highway who have been touring this fashion. By including a pop-up tent to their roof (with a ladder for straightforward entry), they have been actually in a position to take their on a regular basis car anyplace they needed to go. With a Jeep or different SUV fitted for actions, you’ll be capable to simply carry your bikes, kayaks, or additional gear with you. Plus, most of those automobiles can fold their backseats fully down, providing you with the choice to sleep inside or offering you with loads of storage for all your tenting gear.

The Backside Line: A Jeep or related SUV with a rooftop tent is the right journey car for these in search of a real escape. If you’d like to have the ability to go and camp anyplace, with out being hindered by roads or parking areas, that is the one for you. Ultimate for these not doing this full-time.

Ford Econoline E150 or Related


  • Sufficiently small to park anyplace and mix in
  • Giant sufficient to have a mattress, small kitchen, and cupboard space
  • Simple driving, particularly in cities
  • Tremendous inexpensive


  • Not all fashions have 4WD 
  • You received’t be capable to rise up
  • Max area for two folks

A Ford Econoline E150 is comparatively small. That is the kind of van most frequently related to development employees, painters, or sadly sufficient for its vanity, these dodgy white vans that youngsters are lured to.

Now, let’s drop that stereotype and see these vans for what they are surely: a compact sufficient car that you just’ll be capable to slot in practically all parking spots however massive sufficient the place you’ll be able to flip the within into a snug construct with some room to stretch out.

When my husband, canine, and I launched into our western U.S. highway journey, we purchased a Ford Econoline E150, affectionately named Wanda. Wanda was the right van for what we would have liked her for. We deliberate to spend most of our time open air, solely deliberate to do dispersed tenting, and needed to have the ability to pop into cities when it was handy.

She was the right dimension for all of that. 

Though the Ford Econoline was superb for our journey, it does have its downfalls. Except you need to take off the roof and add peak, adults received’t be capable to stand totally erect in these. You’ll must hunch or sit whereas inside, which might get fairly tiresome if that is your full-time house. Ours additionally didn’t have a 4-wheel drive, so whereas we have been in a position to take her to some fairly distant locations, we couldn’t do the entire adventures we hoped for. 

The Backside Line: A Ford Econoline or related is the most effective van for van life if you’d like to have the ability to combine in visiting distant areas with spending time in cities. It’s additionally nice if you happen to plan to solely do that part-time or for a comparatively brief time period. 

Mercedes Sprinter or Related


  • Trendy facilities
  • Spacious interiors
  • Large enough for a small household (however greatest for 1-2 adults)
  • Ultimate dimension for full-time van life


  • The worth tag of your van is well-known and would possibly draw undesirable consideration
  • It’s larger than you suppose, making metropolis driving typically robust
  • Given the variety of options, it is likely to be robust to keep up

I do know you’ve seen loads of Sprinter vans whenever you scroll by means of Instagram daydreaming of your life on wheels. I get it: they’re new, fashionable, aesthetically pleasing, and spacious sufficient. When you have the cash to spend on one, it actually is difficult to beat out a Sprinter’s facilities, particularly as a digital nomad needing to steadiness journey with work.

The mixture of with the ability to rise up and having the entire facilities of an actual home, with out being so large you’ll be able to’t get anyplace, is a reasonably nice possibility. Remember although, Sprinters are in all probability smaller in your head than they really are in actual life. You received’t slot in many parking areas or parking decks if you happen to plan to spend your time stealth tenting round cities. 

Given its dimension although, it’s a nice van for full-time van life for a single particular person, couple, or a household with a small youngster. Because of how intricate van builds are nowadays, you’ll be shocked by how a lot you’ll be able to match right into a Sprinter. 

The Backside Line: A Sprinter is a superb possibility for somebody who will dwell full-time of their van. It’s can price a hefty sum, so it’s greatest for somebody with cash to spare. It’s not the one van on the market, opposite to what social media says.

Schoolie (aka a Faculty Bus)


  • You’ll have greater than sufficient room inside
  • You may get tremendous artistic with the inside construct
  • It’s an inexpensive possibility
  • It’s each child’s dream come true


  • It’s large so that you received’t have all the liberty to go the place you please
  • It’ll be actually troublesome to search out parking in cities
  • Gasoline will likely be costly

All aboard the varsity bus! This time although, we’re skipping elementary college and going straight into the outside. Properly, at the least as far into the outside as your large ‘ol bus will take us. 

Let’s get one factor straight: residing in a college bus is cool. One thing about it brings all of the vibes and you’ll go forward and assume whoever calls this bus house is a reasonably down-to-Earth particular person. That being stated, driving a college bus wherever you go definitely isn’t for everybody.

Given its dimension, you’ll be able to kiss downtown parking goodbye. You may also say chao to tremendous dispersed tenting the place the areas to park would possibly simply be a small minimize out down a hardly used forest highway. 

Alternatively, its dimension means spacious residing. Should you plan to journey slowly, keep on buddy’s property, or are keen to sacrifice the place precisely you park your own home, you’ll love simply how large your moveable home is. You’ll be capable to create a full-on residing area, working area, kitchen, and sleeping space with none points.

The Backside Line: A schoolie is the perfect “van” for “van life” if you happen to favor consolation and area over the flexibility to journey far off the overwhelmed path. That is nice for people who want ample workspace or are simply making an attempt to save lots of a reasonably penny on housing prices.



  • The construct is finished for you
  • You’ll have all of the at-home facilities already inbuilt
  • You’ll have loads of choices with dimension
  • You’ll find an RV in your price range


  • They’re not nice off-the-grid automobiles
  • Stealth parking will likely be robust in cities
  • They operate at their full potential solely when attached at RV websites.

Earlier than I dive into residing in an RV, I need to preface with this: RVs are available a wide range of sizes and builds. I notice it is a large blanket time period however I’ve my causes for lumping all of them collectively, simply stick with me on this one. 

Whatever the dimension RV you buy, one factor is for certain: the inside construct will likely be performed for you. You’ll buy it prepared for the highway, that means you can begin your nomadic life the second you drive away from the dealership (or from that random particular person you met on Fb Market). 

That is nice if you happen to both A) don’t have any constructing abilities or need to make use of a hammer or B) are keen to start out your journey and don’t have any time to lose. On the flip aspect, that is lower than superb if you happen to both A) love constructing issues or B) need to have any say in maximize your inside area. 

For us, having the inside performed for us was a deal breaker. My husband likes to construct and I needed to be taught. Though constructing our personal van fully on our personal was weeks of continuous work, it was an enormous a part of the enjoyable. We felt related to our house and began our journey with an enormous sense of accomplishment and possession. 

Should you simply rolled your eyes at that, you’ll in all probability love an RV.

A bonus factor to notice about RVs is far of them must be hooked as much as operate to their full potential. This implies tenting at RV parks, not the nice open air. With that electrical energy and water provide although, you’ll be able to have a extremely comfy livelihood in an RV.

The Backside Line: An RV is for you whenever you desire a journey car that’s prepared for full-time residing from day one. Primarily based on the scale of the RV, it may comfortably suit your whole household. It’s additionally greatest for the person who desires to carry the entire comforts of a home with them.

Which is the Greatest Van for Your Van Life?

Now that we’ve gone by means of 5 totally different car varieties for van life, which one will you select? 

Selecting the right van, or related,  to your nomadic journey is vital to beginning it off on the appropriate foot. Earlier than you pull the set off and buy the primary deal you come throughout, take a while to consider what you need van life to appear to be for you. Since this can quickly turn into your automobile, your own home, and your workspace, you received’t need to take this determination flippantly. 

Kat Smith, the founding father of A Method Overseas, has been residing world wide for the final 10 years. She just lately spent 6 months within the U.S. constructing out a van and having fun with a protracted highway journey. She’s again overseas now, at the moment traversing the Balkans.


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