8 Vanlife Myths Debunked

The sight of the open road, a casual yet classic vibe, large sunglasses and some 60’s rock playing in the background… Vanlife, am I right? The idyllic Instagram lifestyle seems so perfect. 

*screeching tires sound* 

Let’s back this up and debunk a few of the common Vanlife Myths out there. This is Vanlife vs Reality. 


1. Myth: You will enjoy beautiful and peaceful places to sleep. 

Reality: The sounds of construction waking you up in the morning, the passive-aggressive “don’t park here” notes left on your windshield, the rumble of semi-trucks passing you at 70mph… These are the idyllic sounds of vanlife in the wild. Ah. So peaceful. 

Remedy: Ear plugs are your friends! Also, try finding free campsites with ioverlander.com or freecampsites.net.


2. Myth: You will enjoy pristine and isolated lakes to bathe in every morning

Reality: You will pay $5 for a cold shower at a rec center three times a week. 

Remedy: Stay away from cities at all costs. Also, invest in baby wipes and cherish the bodies of water when you find them! (That means don’t pollute lakes and rivers with shampoo and soap)


3. Myth: You will cook delicious meals while traveling to exciting places.

Reality: You will eat gas station food while driving for 14 hours straight.

Remedy: Get really good at prepping meals for long drives! If you make a batch of curry or chili when you’re camped somewhere you can save it for long drives.



4. Myth: You will travel extensively and enjoy happier times 

Reality: Your van will break down on the side of the road and strand you in the middle of nowhere.

Remedy: There’s not really a remedy for this one. Just get a AAA membership and practice deep breaths. Also maybe sign up for a meditation app like Headspace or Calm.



5. Myth: You will work remotely while sipping margaritas on a beach (or somewhere like that)

Reality: You will pay way too much money for coffee while sitting in a cramped coffee shop next to six college students studying (loudly) for their midterm. 

Remedy: Ok, sometimes you will work remotely while sipping margaritas on a beach, but not always. If you want to spend time working outside more often, get an unlimited data plan and a cell booster like the Weboost 4GX.


6. Myth: You will spend all of your time in National Parks enjoying the scenery

Reality: National Parks are expensive and you won’t be able to find parking anywhere. 

Remedy: Purchase an America the Beautiful public lands pass! They are only $80 a year and will get you into any National Park or National Monument for free. Parking will always be an issue, but hey, park outside the gates and bike in instead!


7. Myth: You will do yoga every morning to stay limber and balanced

Reality: You will feel very awkward stretching in a Walmart parking lot. 

Remedy: Practice stretching in your van. Or look to the Forest Service roads for quiet camping and comfortable outside places to practice yoga.


8. Myth: You will save money by not paying rent

Reality: You will spend an unreasonable amount of money on gas, park fees, parking tickets, van repairs and things you don’t need from a gas station. 

Remedy: Be smart with your money! Avoid cities, spend as much time on public lands as possible, and try not to get parking tickets.

What did we miss?

Do you have any more vanlife myths that need debunking? Let us know down in the comments! 

About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro

Kaya Lindsay is the social media coordinator for Yosemite Facelift. She is also a writer and photographer with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors. In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing ever since. You will most likely find her in a parking lot or coffee shop, camera in hand, planning her next adventure. Connect with her on Instagram @OneChickTravels

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