The appeal of Van Life - whether permanent or just for a vacation or weekend trip - is obvious to many of its supporters. Instead of having to plan months in advance, as with other trips, you can hop right in, hit the road, and leave the bleak daily grind behind instantly. It's spontaneous and convenient, and you don't have to fly to faraway places and can enjoy the trip without a guilty conscience. Whether or not this is true and what belongs to the Van Life, you will discover in the next few lines.
Vanlife is definitely a lifestyle and a community. Many of the van owners have even put their van or camper together themselves - this creates a real connection to the vehicle and the feeling of being at home is reinforced all the more. Every day you see more and more pictures on social media of insanely beautifully restored minivans, and all of them are so beautifully decorated that you want to stretch you legs in them immediately. A wonderful example can be seen at Steffi & Niko from @avancalledfred.
If you want to read more about how "Fred" came to life you can read this Interview on saveacamper
However, the hype that this way of traveling is particularly sustainable is met with harsh criticism, as for example Ute from Bravebird summarizes on her blog.
Nevertheless, we know that we can travel much more sustainably by van than if we were to embark on a cruise or a flight. Here's why:
6 reasons why Van Life can be sustainable
Even if you don't strive for absolute sustainability in your van - living in a van virtually forces you to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, because space constraints mean you inevitably have to limit yourself to the essentials.
2. Consumer behavior
The manageable size of the living space in the van also means that you inevitably adjust your consumption behavior. The calculation is simple: What you don't buy doesn't have to be reproduced, which saves resources.
3. Water and energy consumption
As with the question of space, the same applies here: What is only available in limited quantities is used more consciously and, above all, more sparingly.
4. Waste prevention
From low-waste to zero-waste - the Van Life or even the life on the pitch make it quite easy to avoid waste as much as possible compared to the usual life in an apartment or house by choosing products with less packaging from the beginning.
5. Conservation rules
Conservation rules, or rules of conduct, are designed to protect the local flora and fauna and should always be followed. Even if some of them seem exaggerated, a local expert has always thought about them and the rules have been established mostly as a result of (nature-damaging) precedents.
6. Toilet choice
If you basically do without an on-board toilet in your own van, you reduce your resource consumption, because many models need water and electricity. However, this is a comfort that is almost indispensable in case of illness, for example. If a toilet is to be installed, however, partition toilets are recommended as the most sustainable option.
And whoever thinks that Van Life is only for young, childless couples is wrong. Those who travel with children provide them with valuable experiences in nature, which they often have less and less opportunity to do these days. Traveling with four-legged friends is also far easier with the Van Life than with traditional vacations.
The Weder family shows on their blog "6inavan" how you can manage this with a family and how much fun it can be!
What about you? Has this really made you want to get on the road and drive off on your next van vacation? Sunglasses on, backpack packed. When do we leave?