13 Things Some Van Lifers Do That People Can’t Stand

Do YOU do any of these things?

Although most van lifers are respectful and have good intentions, some do things that can rub others the wrong way. Unfortunately, this can cause people to perceive the van life community negatively. Here are some of the most annoying things van lifers do that people can’t stand.

1. Taking Up Multiple Parking Spaces

Photo Credit: Brooke Alexander

Depending on the size of the rig, it might take up more than one parking space. When van lifers intentionally park their van or RV across several spots, it’s inconvenient for other drivers (especially in a popular location or busy area).

2. Overstaying in Parking Spots

Photo Credit: Kaylin Zittergruen

It’s frustrating when van lifers overstay their welcome in parking spots, especially in desirable areas where others want to park. When van lifers stay in one location for too long, it prevents anyone else from being able to park there. Locals also complain when van lifers park in residential areas or try to “stealth camp” in front of their homes.

3. Littering

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Some van lifers don’t clean up after themselves and leave their campsites littered with garbage and dog poop. When van lifers don’t properly dispose of their waste, this damages the environment. It’s something that even fellow van lifers like myself can’t stand!

4. Making Excessive Noise

No one likes to listen to a loud generator all night. Van lifers who make excessive noise by constantly running their generators or playing loud music can disturb the peace. If van lifers ignore established quiet hours in a campground or public space, this can prevent people from sleeping. 

5. Ignoring Proper Waste Disposal

The proper way to dump sewage is this!

Improperly dumping greywater or sewage in most places is illegal, but many van lifers do so anyway. Some van lifers don’t even have a greywater tank, so their sink water drips onto the ground with each use. This leads to unsanitary and harmful environmental effects. 

6. Camping Illegally

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Some van lifers think they can camp anywhere and disregard local regulations or laws. Trespassing on private land can lead to negative interactions with locals and the authorities. For van lifers, this can lead to the dreaded knock telling you to leave!

7. Hogging Amenities

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Van lifers often use amenities like public restrooms to take sink showers – which can inconvenience others waiting to use them. When it comes to laundry, van lifers often don’t like to carve time out of their adventures to visit the laundromat, so they often have loads of laundry to do once they finally get to one. Hogging amenities like washing machines and driers can be annoying to locals who need to use them.

8. Leaving Pets Unattended

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Many van lifers have a furry travel companion like a cat or dog to join them on their travels. Some leave their pets unattended and allow them to roam off-leash or leave them in their vehicle for hours. When the pet barks, whines, or approaches others, this can lead to conflict.

9. Spreading Out Their Gear

campervan parked by a lake with gear out
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When van lifers extend their awnings and set up their tables, chairs, and grills in public spaces, this can take up lots of space and limit others from being able to use the spaces, too. The clutter can also be unsightly to others walking by. 

10. Monopolizing Outlets and Wi-Fi

power cords in an outlet
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Some van lifers charge all their electronics in public electrical outlets. When these devices are completely dead, it can take hours to charge back to full capacity, keeping others from being able to use them. When van lifers use public Wi-Fi (especially for heavy bandwidth activities), it can slow the internet speed for others trying to use it.

11. Ignoring Fire Bans

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Many states, natural areas, and campgrounds have fire bans to protect the environment. Some van lifers ignore these fire bans, which creates safety hazards within the community.

12. Engaging in Illegal Activities

people's hands with drugs
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

When van lifers engage in illegal activities like drugs, this can disturb the community and involve the police. Other activities like vandalism can cause permanent damage and have lasting impacts on the area.

13. Disregarding Vehicle Maintenance

beat up looking campervan on the side of the road

Sometimes, van lifers don’t take care of their rigs. Their vans might emit excessive smoke or leak fluids. This can be problematic for the environment and other drivers and campers.

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