Ever thought about leaving life as you know it behind for a little while and hitting the open road for an unspecified amount of time? Are you craving that feeling of freedom as you cruise along the coast, wind in your hair, knowing you can stop wherever you want?
It’s a fantasy for a lot of us, and some people are starting to make it a reality. Whether it’s with van conversions or decking out their station wagon, hitting the open road and living in your car is becoming more and more popular. So popular, even, that’s it’s become something of its own category on Youtube and other social media.
But not all of us have the time and money to convert a van into a mini home on wheels. So how do you go about traveling around the country and living in your car? We’ve compiled a list of all the things you need to think about before you set off.
Think about size
Listen… we hate to break it to you, but you can’t live in a hatchback or sedan. Or, you could, but it sure wouldn’t be too comfortable. If you can’t get your hands on a van, getting a nice spacious wagon is your next best bet – something like the Skoda Octavia Wagon, which is spacious and still has the comforts you’ll appreciate when you’re on the open road.
How are you going to sleep?
Here’s the thing – you need to sleep. That part’s obvious. But where are you going to sleep? That’s the big question. And this is also why we said earlier that traveling around in your hatchback or sedan just wouldn’t be too comfy – especially if you’re on the taller side. Sleeping on a cramped back seat isn’t really a vibe.
But if you’ve got a station wagon, then that’s a completely different story. We recommend investing in a good camping mattress – potentially one that can easily be rolled up and stored away, like an air mattress. Space is scarce, and the more of it you can make during the day, the better.
Take into account the season that you will be traveling in and plan accordingly. Foam mattresses can be comfy but hot in the summertime. And are you packing enough warm bedding for the wintertime? Getting a versatile blanket that can work in a multitude of different temperatures and climates is the way to go.
You might even consider getting a platform installed in the back – meaning more storage room, even if the mattress is on top.
Keep clean on the road
Maybe you’ll have access to a shower or maybe you won’t. Either way, you need to plan ahead on how you’re going to keep clean because things will get very stinky very fast otherwise.
If you don’t have access to a shower at a campsite or anywhere else, you might consider getting a portable shower solution that you can hang up wherever you set up for the night. For any times you find yourself in a tricky spot, make sure you have plenty of wet wipes on deck to clean up best you can until you find the next place to have a good shower.
Think about your privacy
Your privacy is important if you’re living in your car, and the best way to ensure you have some is:
- Sun visors to put up to not only keep your car cool during the day but also to put up while you’re sleeping
- Curtains. This one may be a little trickier but if you can set up some kind of curtain system for your back windows, you’ll get a lot more privacy.
How are you going to do those everyday tasks?
Consider how you’ll do your cooking and where you’ll be doing your laundry. Portable clotheslines (a lot of which come with both hooks and suction cups) can be super handy at not only hanging up your laundry outside but can also be used inside your car if it’s a rainy day or you’re on the move. If you hit up a laundromat and want to save your dollars on drying, these portable clotheslines can be a lifesaver.
In terms of food, you’re going to want to focus on all things that don’t require refrigeration and will last a long time without going off. If you can fit a portable stove into your car, that can be hugely beneficial. Otherwise, you can look out for outdoor barbecue areas, or stick to good old sandwiches.
Think about lighting
Yes, you can use your car light, but you might also want to consider other ways to light up your car’s cabin at night. Portable lanterns are a great way to do this. For that little added bit of comfort, you can also consider battery-powered fairy lights to string up in the back to make it feel cosy and comfortable.
Keep it clean
This is a big one. It can be incredibly tempting to just let everything go, but make a conscious effort to keep your car clean both inside and out. This means throwing out your rubbish, and taking time to hit up a carwash from time to time for a good wash and vacuum. You might consider getting a little rubbish bin for your car, so all the rubbish ends up in one place and is easy to discard of when you need to.
Be careful where you park up
Be aware of where you can and cannot park. Make sure it’s legal to park, but also make sure you’re not picking a secluded area. It can be tempting to find a stunning area, away from the hustle and bustle, and set up camp – but you need to stay safe, and being all on your own in the middle of the wilderness can be a recipe for disaster.
Ready to hit the road?
There are plenty of other things to consider before you start living and traveling in your car, but start with these basics and do some additional research and planning before heading out on your adventure to make sure you’re completely prepared and ready for anything.