Ten Things You Have to be Aware of Know Before Starting Van Living
We have been living van life for quite some time now, and our tiny home is not as idyllic as the Instagram photos may show to you.
Living in a vehicle is not an easy thing. We have been driving from Chile to Alaska for five years, and now we are filming an episode about traveling around the globe in a van. We know how important it is to be prepared before setting out somewhere.
Here’s a list of the most important things you need to know before you start van life.
1. Select the vehicle that best suits your lifestyle
Every vehicle has its own unique perks, depending on how you live. Vehicle having will be much more pleasant if you choose the vehicle that best suits your lifestyle, hobbies, and travel plans.
There are plenty of options available for your lifestyle and adventure. You may be traveling with your family or on an extended journey across the globe. Perhaps a 4WD is more suitable for your destination if you are more adventurous. Or maybe the children need extra sleeping space in a pop-up camper. It doesn’t matter what. It is important to do extensive research before you decide on the right vehicle. This is our favorite part.
We have created a list of pros and cons of the most loved vehicles to live in.
2. Are you a fan of long trips or short trips?
It is important to decide how long you plan on living the van life before you jump into a vehicle dwelling.
This will help you set up your vehicle in the best possible way. A short adventure lover might not require a top-of-the-range power system and solar. They may not even need as much storage. However, you will still need a complete water supply in your van and a heating system with a hot tub for the comforts and convenience of home while you are on the road.
If you plan to travel full-time, however, you will need to set your rig up to make it comfortable and functional for long-term living and travel.
3. What are you going to do to make van life sustainable?
You need to know what you will do to make money while on the road. You have many options for earning a living while still driving and/or living in your travel trailer.
You will spend less on van living, but it is not free. You may be able to work remotely, find temporary work, or keep your job if this can be done in your case.
You will need to modify your vehicle so that you can work from your van.
4. Find out where you are going to sleep.
There are many places where you can sleep for absolutely free, but it is better to know them in advance. This will help to save you from driving around aimlessly trying to find a quiet and safe place to stay the night.
5. Find out where you are going to wash your clothes.
Some people cannot live without a hot shower every day. In the case when this applies to you, as well, then it’s time to learn about your options.
This could be installing a shower in your RV, building your own van shower, or searching every day for a gym, recreation center, or other options. However, it can get tedious if your travels are frequent.
You can be more flexible and find a variety of ways to get clean, even if it means you have to jump in a freezing pool every once in a while.
This is one reason people can get tired of living on the roads. To enjoy this lifestyle, you need to be prepared and understand where you will be heading to.
6. Be aware of that where you are going to poop
This can either make or break your long-term vacation plan.
You might be averse to going outside in the wild and searching for a place to pee, so you may want to consider other options. You can bring a portaloo, make your own bucket and install a toilet to ensure you’re comfortable while doing business.
This is something that we all struggle with. If you want this lifestyle to last, you need to pay attention to how you keep your body and mind healthy.
7. Discover how you can stay healthy and happy
We’ve already mentioned that van life can be hard. You’ll constantly be moving, having to manage cabin fever, and trying not to overstay your welcome are all realities that many normal people don’t have to deal with. You can live a happy life by balancing work and playtime inside and outside the van and keeping your body and mind healthy and fit.
Think about the positive changes you want to make in your life and what new activities you will engage in to help you achieve that happy balance.
8. How will you cope with bad weather?
We know that van life can be quite miserable when you live in a small, cold, damp home surrounded by mold and condensation. Bad weather can be dealt with before it hits. We know this because we tried van life in the Arctic and were shocked at what the result was!
You should consider insulating your vehicle, venting it, and fixing any leaking windows or holes. When it gets really bad, we need to absorb excess moisture and condensate in the mornings. We also need to keep windows cracked when using our propane heater.
9. What is your plan for escape?
Are you prepared for the time when you will need to get away from van living? This is vital to avoid burnout, and it also helps you maintain friendships and relationships both inside and outside your mobile home. It is rather an important thing to have a support network of family and friends that you can call on your travels. It can be exhausting to be mobile for extended periods of time so consider ways you can spend your time away from your home.
Spend time with friends away from your daily van life
10. Know what you’re going to do when trouble strikes!
It is crucial to prepare your vehicle for van life. Knowing how to handle mechanical problems is an important part of owning a vehicle. Vehicles that are heavily used break down often and must be maintained according to the recommended schedule. Your van’s life will be easier if you know how to take care of it. It will reduce the cost of living by learning how to maintain your van and perform regular inspections. You will also be able to identify and fix minor issues, which will help you to travel further off the beaten path.
I hope that my tips and directions were useful. And they help someone to “hit the road” and fully enjoy it
Cell Booster Improves a Signal, It Does not Create a Signal
These are just a few examples from some of the places we have visited over the summer. Almost every time we tested the booster, the speeds were noticeably better. This brings us to a major factor in deciding if a WeBoost RV booster is the right choice for you.
Are you willing to pay $500 to have the ability to improve your 4G LTE hotspot speeds?
If you are a weekend warrior that camps once a month, then perhaps it might not be worth the trouble just for improved internet on the occasional camping trip.
On the other hand, if you are a full-time RVer (or known as a digital nomad), then you will find the WeBoost RV Cell Booster an essential piece of equipment.
WeBoost Drive Reach RV Price
The WeBoost Drive Reach RV retail price is $499.99 on both their website and on Amazon.
The high price tag certainly encourages one to research the alternatives and WeBoost has multiple cell boosters that range from $200 – $650.
The cheaper models are built for passenger vehicles and have a much smaller range while supporting a single device on the network while the most expensive model is built for a stationary RV and requires setup before each use.
Overall, with checking out the various different models, the Drive Reach RV is the best model for the full-time RVer that likes to move around to different locations.
(Side Note: We paid full price for our WeBoost cell booster, and this article is not sponsored.)
Installation of the WeBoost Drive Reach Booster
The installation process may seem a bit daunting after opening the box and seeing all the components, but it is quite straightforward with clear instructions.
Basically, it works by using a large antenna that is mounted on the outside of your vehicle and is then routed to an inside antenna, which is the point that boosts the cell signal.
The box comes with hardware to commonly mount the outside antenna to the ladder of an RV, although you can mount it in other ways that can be convenient to your build.
Since our box truck is a custom build, we found the best location to be on the corner of the truck next to the cables for the solar panels so all the cables and wires can be kept together in an organized manner.
The outside antenna connects to a 25’ cable that leads to the booster unit that is to be installed inside the vehicle.
This booster is then connected to the inside antenna by another cable. The inside antenna should be installed in a location that is not obstructed and can be within a few feet of your 4G/5G hotspot device.
(Note: It is important to know that your hotspot device will need to be as close as possible to the inside antenna, otherwise, it will not have much of an effect. When we are using the internet, we place our 4G hotspot (in this case an iPhone 11 Plus) right next to the inside antenna to provide the best results. Keep this in mind when you decide on the proper placement of the antenna inside your vehicle.)
Once you have both antennas situated and the booster box in a convenient location, it is then time to provide power to the cell booster.
Biggest Drawback of the Drive Reach Cell Booster
This is probably our biggest annoyance with the WeBoost Drive Reach RV cell booster. In fact, it makes no sense to either of us; we are still dumbfounded by the lack of this feature.
The cell booster does not come with a 12V power source.
Why a product specifically targeted for RVers does not have a 12v connection is beyond me since everything else that runs off power in an RV is with a 12v connection, except for power-hungry appliances.
In the box is a 120v AC connector which would need a power inverter to use. This is a complete waste of energy and is not a recommended method for powering this device since you can connect it directly to your DC power.
We decided to purchase the separate 12v DC cord for $24.99, which was a bit frustrating since we felt like it should have been included with the package.
(Note: We connected the cell booster to our control panel of switches, so we can turn it on and off with the flip of a switch. This allows us to conserve energy by only keeping it powered when in use.)
Final Takeaway: Should you Purchase the Drive Reach Cell Booster?
As we have previously determined, the WeBoost cell booster does not create a cell signal where there is already no cell signal. It is simply a device that will take a poor signal and improve it with better service.
As a full-time RVer and digital nomad, I find this to be an important tool to have on the road and would recommend it to anyone else that shares a similar lifestyle.
If you are an individual that goes on the occasional camping trip with your recreational vehicle and might not even work your job during the time you are camping, then this may not be worth the trouble of installation and shelling out the extra $500.
Thanks for reading our in-depth review of the WeBoost Drive Reach RV cell booster and we hope that it has helped you make the right decision. Have you had other results from the cell booster in a different location in the United States? We would appreciate your feedback and suggestions if you have been able to come up with different results in other States – just mention something in the comments below!