Pooping, Loneliness, and 8 Other Terrible Aspects of Living in a Car, According to VanLifers

10 Worst Things About VanLife


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10 Worst Things About VanLife

The Realities of VanLife

Just over 3 million people consider themselves VanLifers in the U.S. — that is, digital nomads who live and work in their cars. Although VanLifers glorify the lifestyle on social media, sharing idyllic photos of breathtaking natural features, the reality is that living in your car kind of sucks.

That’s something even staunch supporters admit, as one recent post on Reddit's r/VanLife shows. In the more than 300-comment thread, VanLifers from around the world shared “the absolute worst parts of living in a van,” from having to poop in a bucket to the constant social isolation.

Morning in two

1. Constantly Worrying About Survival

If you live on the road, you can’t shut off your brain, says one Redditor. They write that there’s a constant “running mental inventory” of questions they have to ask themselves: “How much water do I have? How full is my grey tank and potty? Do I need to find a spot to empty this today?”

Woman enjoys coffee from her van

2. Dealing With Loneliness

While there’s “freedom” in living a nomadic lifestyle, it’s also incredibly isolating, Redditors say. If you live “everywhere and nowhere,” you start to feel “rootless,” a commenter explains.

Rear View Camper Van and Woman in Mountains
Public Restrooms
Man holds a refueling gun in his hand for refueling cars. Gas station with diesel and gasoline fuel close-up.
man is sleeping in car

6. Enduring Hot and Cold Weather

Without a real home, you miss out on some essential comforts: air conditioning, heat, insulation. So when the weather is less than ideal, you might suffer. “Here in Europe, the weather is not nice all the time,” shares one VanLifer. “Try spending 10 days in pi***** rain in a small van. At some stage you just feel like calling it a day.”

Related: 27 Essential Steps to Winterize Your RV

Male driver driving heavy truck while yawning

7. Sleeping Poorly

Living in an unairconditioned box in a parking lot means that you aren’t always going to sleep soundly, whether it’s because of the temperature, noise, or a cop knocking on your window in the middle of the night.

Man drinks coffee in his van, sea view
decoration of the windows of your caravan - from practical fabric blinds to stylish sliding curtains. It is also good to be protected from prying eyes inside the car

9. Not Having Privacy

“I feel like I can't shut the world out enough these days and have the privacy I need to just exist,” one van-dweller writes. It’s a common sentiment. When you go to the bathroom, have a shower, or eat a meal, it’s often in public, leaving you little room to be truly by yourself.

Portrait of a mechanic replacing tire
Minerva Studio/istockphoto