Want to experience ultimate freedom with your significant other? Live the van life! Drive through amazing landscapes, sleep in scenic campsites, and stay and go wherever you want. Isn’t that the best way of traveling? But being together 24/7, with only 3.5 square meters of living quarters, can be quite a challenge for your relationship. How can you prevent being left behind on the side of the road? We have 10 tips for you to make sure that your relationship will survive the van life experience!
1) FOREPLAY: GET INTO THE VAN LIFE MOOD
Before you go, make a good plan for what you would like to visit. It’s better to discuss this now to get your expectations aligned. Also, make sure you discuss each other’s expectations of what living in a van would look like. Check out blogs from other couples who have been there and get inspiration from Instagram. Craft a great itinerary with places you can pass with your van. It will be the perfect warm-up for your road trip!
2) GET YOURSELF A SWEET RIDE!
Make sure that you get yourself a good van! Save yourself from yelling at each other because that stupid van broke down, again. Compare different rental companies, and make sure to check the reviews too. Or if you decide to buy one, make sure that it is reliable, taking extra care when purchasing used vehicles. A lot of used camper vans have been through a lot by the time you look at them, even if only a few years old. Do your research and ask lots of questions to get a good idea of what you’re actually buying. The rule that “what you pay is what you get” definitely applies in this case!
3) GET COMFORTABLE WITH EACH OTHER
You will be together all day and all night, which means that you will get to know everything that you and your partner do during the day. Be prepared to get to know your partner’s most intimate moments! This can be a little bit overwhelming when you haven’t lived together before, but if you survive this you’ll know that this is made to last!
4) SPLIT VAN LIFE DUTIES
The key to having a healthy relationship in a van! There are a lot of duties that come with #vanlife and make sure you do them together. Take turns driving, split the cooking duties (even if one of you can’t cook anything) and both tidy up inside your van. This way, at least, you don’t have to complain to each other about being stuck cooking dinner every night.
5) HAVE SOME TIME APART
Yes, this is even possible when you have a van! For us, the most important part of living the van life together is still doing our own things, apart from each other. We are generally together all day every day, but that doesn’t mean we have to do everything together! During the day, one of you can do that yoga class and the other one can go for a surf lesson. Just do some things apart every once in a while and you’ll be much more rejuvenated to spend time with your partner at the end of the day. (It’s also good for you on a personal level, and for your relationship as a whole, to spend time investing in yourself individually!)
Also, while your living space may only be 3.5 square meters, it’s not the only space available in which to spend time. For example, if one of us wants to read a book and just be by him/herself, then the other one sits outside or goes to the camp kitchen. It can be as simple as that and keeps your relationship healthy!
6) CREATE THE BEST PLAYLISTS FOR THE LONG DRIVES
You are going to spend a lot of time driving and you will get bored of the radio stations’ endless commercials and bullshit talk. That is if you have radio reception at all. When you’re living the van life you NEED Spotify. Make sure you have a couple of playlists downloaded on your device so can switch between them. Use WiFi to download the songs so that you can listen offline too. Also, bring a speaker in case you can’t connect your phone with the radio. Oh, and don’t forget to sing along as loud as possible!
7) AVOID GETTING HANGRY
Ok, this tip is always important while traveling together, but picture this: you just arrived on a campground late at night in the dark and you’re both feeling really tired and hungry. Also, you are grumpy from the unexpected traffic and wrong turns. The worst part: you still need to settle in and cook dinner, another half hour or so, at least.
Be extremely careful when moments like this happen. Don’t wind your partner up during these times, unless you want one of you to have to sleep outide! Even better: just don’t speak at all to each other until your bellies are filled with food again. Honestly, you don’t want to experience moments like this too often, so just try to avoid them by eating earlier!
As a backup, always be sure to have snacks on hand. If you know you have a long stretch of driving ahead of you and won’t get to the campsite until late evening, stock up on healthy snacks that can keep you both fed and happy and energized. Junk food will likely result in an energy crash, so that’s not the best solution. Energy bars, nuts and fruits, and the like are great alternatives!
8) SOCIALIZE WITH OTHER CAMPERS
Life on the road can get lonely sometimes, even when you are together. Sometimes you just want some friends in your life other than just each other. Luckily, campgrounds are super easy places to socialize with other people. Just have a talk with your neighbor or with that fellow dishwasher and you will have friends in no time! You will meet the friendliest people and they even might have some good tips for your road trip too.
9) TREAT YOURSELF SOMETIMES
Living in a van can be pretty hard sometimes, especially on a tight budget. Even if money is tight, it is super important to treat yourself every once in a while! If you don’t want to sit in your van every night, go have some drinks with other travelers for example. Or spend some quality time together and enjoy the sunset at a beach. Bring drinks and snacks and cozy up at this romantic time of the day. Even better, stay a bit longer and enjoy the endless stars! There are lots of low-cost or free ways to treat yourself, but be intentional to not resign yourselves to hanging out in the van on your computers every single night.
10) BUY A TRIPOD TO CAPTURE VAN LIFE COUPLE GOALS
It might sound a bit odd, but to capture your amazing van life, a tripod is a great solution. Imagine yourself camping at a spot next to a river with a spectacular mountain view behind you. It is picture perfect, and even more so with the both of you in the photo. Get yourself a lightweight compact tripod so you can get that perfect van life shot to show everybody these #couplegoals! Plus, you’ll be happy to have these memories stored in photos in the years to come, framed in your future home for your future children to see!
ARE YOU READY TO JOIN THE VAN LIFE AS A COUPLE?
Sometimes van life can be tough, but it is all worth it. Van life is all about enjoying the simple things in life. Although at times, you might drive each other crazy when living in such a tiny place, please don’t forget to enjoy each moment that you spend on the road together! Picture a heading out on a long drive with your loved one, and the sun hits your faces through the window, your favorite song comes on the radio, and you both start singing out loud. Those are the moments why we love van life together.
Have you been on a road trip like this? If you have any additional tips for our readers or questions please leave these in the comments below.
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