Living in our van on the road can be challenging. Two people, little tiny box, lots of stuff – challenging may be an understatement. What we do to make it easier and even fun? Beer, wine and hard liquor not necessarily in that order….
Seriously there are lots of things to consider and things that can make like easier
How to Travel
Hotel rooms, condos, RV, a tent or something else. Choosing how you travel is the first step. However it does not need to be a one time decision.
Often we have done 12 days of camping and then 2 days of hotel. The hotel stay lets us catch up on things like laundry and good wifi. Our thoughts on hotels can be found here.
Every once in while we find we just need to stop so we rent a place for week or even a month. We have found places on AirBnB and VRBO for these stays.
We us a mix of maps, GPS and dead reckoning. Keeping in mind the GPS is not infallible, we often override its preferred routed.
We did struggle with an Android update that crippled Mr Rams phone navigation. He finally resolved it by rooting his phone and uploading a GPS fix.
Having a road atlas lets you look at the big picture of an area, something that is hard to do on those tiny GPS and phone screens. Also when we first enter a state we stop at the visitors center and pick up a paper map of the state. When we leave the state we usually toss the last map and get the one for next state.
This guy opted for just maps on one of his trips,
Living in the Van
How did our sheep dog come into being.
Setting up – the one way system.
Do you really need all of that paper? We do wonder about that. But you do need a permanent address and a way to have whatever does show up forwarded to you. If you do not have relatives or friends that can do that for you, you will need to look at services from KOA or others.
When you do have mail sent, you can consider General Delivery to a local post office. Just make sure you let them know its coming or they may send it back.
Note that we expected most if not all of the junk mail to stop once the forwarding ended from our old house. We were wrong. It seems the post office sends your new address to all of those great companies that send out junk mail so that you do not miss a single catalog or solicitation.
I would suggest you start now to remove yourself from as many mailing lists as you can before you sell your house.
Is 15 gig on your cell phone enough? There are 5 of on our cell plan and most months 15 gig is plenty. However if you or someone on your plan likes to stream video, you may want to look at one the unlimited plans.
For us 15 gig has turned out to be plenty of data – except during football season. We do stream some games and come very close to our data limit.
We currently have AT&T and have found many places with no service. People with Verizon seem to have fewer areas of no service though once you wander into the wilderness nobody gets any service.
Some we have met suggested getting a booster such as this one from WeBoost. Many reviews and a few people we have met have said if you have a tiny amount of signal to start with, these boosters can turn it into something you can actually make a call or search the web with. If there is no signal at all, a booster will not help.
Comparing service maps Verizon appears to be the winner. However there are areas that AT&T has better coverage. Mr Ram had hoped to switch his phone to Verizon so that we have a better chance of having signal when we want it. However his Moto G3 was a GSM only phone. With no CDMA bands he was stuck on AT&T.
Another thing to consider is wifi calling. Some campsites, even ones in the middle of nowhere, will sometimes have wifi. Mrs Ram could use her Iphone 6s to make calls using Montana’s Bannack State Park wifi. AT&T did not allow Mr Ram to do that with his Moto G3 Android phone. However Google will let you get one of their phone numbers and you can use Googles Hangout Dialer App to make calls over wifi.
Work or Volunteer?
Interested in Volunteering and getting a free spot to park your RV? Check this out.
Or maybe you want to work? See this for Glacier.