13 Reasons I Chose Van Life over House Life

Here are the top reasons why I chose to live full-time in my van instead of a traditional home.

Woman in a flannel standing in the doorway of a Sprinter van.

The moment I shared my decision to transition to van life with my loved ones, their reactions ranged from disbelief to concern. The idea of me trading a stable household for a life in a van alongside my partner and our dog, shedding most of our belongings in the process, seemed unthinkable to them. They voiced concerns over safety and the absence of home comforts.

However, this leap into van living has turned out to be one of the most rewarding choices of my adult life. Let me walk you through the key reasons that led me to eschew the conventional route of homeownership in favor of embracing the freedom and adventure that comes with life on the road.

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1. Travel Spontaneously

Red rock formations in Monument Valley in Utah with a blue sky in the background.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen.

One of the biggest perks of van life is the ability to travel wherever you want to whenever you want to. Gone are the days of requesting PTO for a single 2-week vacation each year. I love spending my summertime in the Colorado mountains and heading to the warm Arizona desert in the wintertime.

2. Work with a view

Photo of a laptop with a coffee mug next to it and the view of mountains with a blue sky out of the window of a cargo van.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

I get to work my remote job with a stunning view right outside of my window, and this view constantly changes to help me stay inspired. I do not have to work in an office cubicle or from a home office every day. Whether I want to drive to a scenic overlook or hunker down in a coffee shop, van life allows me to work wherever I feel like.

3. Spend more time in nature

Sunrise at Odessa Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. There is snow on mountains and water in front.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

Van life allows me to get outside and feel the sun on my face daily. I can slide open my van door to epic sunrises and sunsets and go on daily lunch walks with my dog. Living in my van allows me to always have my outdoor gear on me, so I am ready for hiking, backpacking, swimming, running, etc.

4. Spend more time with family

A man and a woman petting a golden retriever in green grass.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Before I started van life, I only saw my husband and dog in the evenings and on weekends. Now, we get to be together all of the time. I have learned more about my husband in 7 months of living together on the road than I did in the five years we had been married. As my dog ages, I relish every moment I spend with her and the memories we create as a family.

5. Enjoy travel while I’m healthy

Photo of a woman with a teal backpacking pack with items attached to it hiking on a dirt trail with yellow leaves.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

A lot of people say that they will travel once they are retired. Unfortunately, not all of us are guaranteed the health or time we think we will have when we reach retirement age. I am thankful to do van life now while I still have my physical health and can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and backpacking in the parks that I visit.

6. Meet new people

A photo of two men and two women smiling.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

Instead of being around the same coworkers and neighbors every day, van life allows me to meet new people constantly. I love connecting and swapping stories with other travelers and chatting with people who see our van and want to know more about van life. It is fun to have a community of friends across different states and even other countries.

7. Become self-reliant

A photo of a van with mountains and trees in the background at sunset.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

Something I did not expect when I started van life is how self-reliant I would become. I used to call my parents for help or look to others for solutions when things went wrong. Now, there are times when I am camping in dispersed areas where no one else is around, and I have no cell service. When problems happen on the road, I have learned to stay calm and handle situations myself.

8. Be mortgage-free

A mid-size house with a brick entryway and a garage. There is green grass in the front and colorful bushes.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Another perk of van life is no rent, mortgage, or utility payments. I used to pay this on top of a monthly loan for my vehicle. Now, I only pay towards my loan on the van. Depending on which type of van you purchase, you may not even have a monthly van payment and could be completely bill-free.

9. Save money

Two black camp chairs with a black camping table that has a bowl of tomato soup and a sandwich on it. There is a black dog and grass in the background.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

If you establish a budget, you could save a substantial amount of money by doing van life. In addition to rent, utilities, and vehicle loans, I used to pay to go out for drinks with friends each week and to go out to eat. I also paid for a TV with various streaming services. Now, I spend most of my free time in nature and cook my own meals in the van.

10. Live with less

Flat lay of outdoor apparel and gear on a hardwood floor.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

Although some may see downsizing as a con of van life, it is truly freeing to live with less. I only own things I need and know exactly where I keep everything. My life feels less cluttered and more organized, and I am not constantly buying new items since I know I do not have the space for them.

11. Do fewer chores

A person's legs wearing black leggings with tennis shoes on with a red broom on a hardwood floor.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

I used to devote hours every weekend to cleaning our apartment. I had to clean the toilet, shower, counters, and kitchen. I dusted the shelves and swept and vacuumed the floors. Since the van is such a small space, I can clean it in minutes. Instead of cleaning multiple rooms, I can quickly wipe down surfaces and sweep the floor.

12. Travel in comfort

A hand holding a coffee mug with coffee in it. There is a dog, blanket, and pillows. The back two doors of a van are open to green grass and mountains outside.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

Have you ever been on a trip and wished you had packed something you left at home? When you live in a van, you always have all of your belongings on you. If I suddenly want my warmest sweater while traveling, I can quickly grab it. Or, if I am visiting a national park and need more caffeine, I can easily make a cup of coffee in my van. Also, I no longer need to spend time or money booking hotels, Airbnbs, and rental cars to take trips since my home is on wheels.

13. Discover new places to live

Trees with a mountain peeking behind them with a blue sky and clouds, framed within the outline of a window.
Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

Van life can also be a way to try living like a local in places to see if you might want to plant roots there someday. I enjoy staying in an area for a few weeks and visiting local parks, libraries, coffee shops, and grocery stores to experience the vibe. I think about whether or not I could picture myself living there when I am ready to get off of the road. It is a great way to test out potential home bases without committing.

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