Are vans even close to being a viable option at campgrounds / RV parks? (esp. on the east coast)

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tx2sturgis

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If you were planning on Hipcamp, but now find that you will be buying a 'self-contained' travel trailer of some sort, then you might want to look into boondockerswelcome.com

Same basic idea: Hosts are usually individual property owners with enough room to accommodate RVs, but unlike Hipcamp, hosts do not normally provide facilities, other than maybe electric and sometimes water hookups.

Most of the BW hosts do not offer restrooms or showers, although there are exceptions.

Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts are now combined, so you can get a membership that provides access to both types of locations.


 
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I was looking at Boondockers Welcome earlier today actually.

I think maybe there's some strategy here like: Identify a cheap campground in an inconvenient location, that's always gonna have space and that I can always use as a fallback. Then try to opportunistically spend as much of the time as possible in places that are more conveniently located, but always have the fallback available if the more convenient ones are full.

Or something. And, I mean, Boondockers Welcome also works as that kind of fallback too. Like "oh heck, it's a holiday weekend and there's no spaces anywhere" kind of thing.

I dunno. Something is gonna work out. I know I can figure out something, I'm just going to sleep on it for a few days and let things settle.

Thanks. :)
 

bullfrog

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There are still places for trailers most places you would park a van, like truck stops, motel truck parking areas, maybe Cracker Barrel, Cabelas, boat ramps, take up fishing! You just have to limit your stays and move often just like in a van. We got a place to stay doing night security for a school bus garage just by asking. Maybe put an add in a local bulletin board or Facebook asking for a rental spot.
 

eDJ_

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Since you are new, still working where you are required to be in the office 3 days a week while considering Van Life as an alternative to the sticks & bricks. there are numerous things you need to consider. 1) Where you are in terms of weather & temperature. 2) Will you be using the same vehicle to commute back and forth to your parking place from work. 3) How minimalist of a life are you prepared to live and how much comfort can you sacrifice.

Your first need when living outside of the sticks & bricks will be safety. Speaking of safety from the elements. Even in a factory built RV that is insulated with heating/ac, if it has to run full time to keep you comfortable will it be any less expensive than an apartment. You will often hear of RV's, Vans, etc referred to as steel tents. A trailer park, State or National Park, etc not much more than an improved camp ground. You may have to check into a Motel during very bad weather.

If you are in an RV such as a Class-C and you have to drive it back and forth to work, the fuel cost may be more than rent. (12 to 14 mpg times the distance back and forth to where you park/live. A small econo-box car may be necessary. Insurance on both. Maintenance & upkeep on both. Parking place rent/utilities/hookup fees. Also Nomads who live this lifestyle often buy a membership to a syndicated Gym (use Planet Fitness as an example). Thus you clean up & change into fresh clothing there. (this can take the requirements of shower & toilet out of the picture). If your parking place/camping site has toilets you would use them. Basically your rig would be a sleeping room and possibly a place to cook.

You will often hear the Nomad "types" speak of living a minimalist lifestye. Not always so painful but it may be a new way of thinking that isn't always so comfortable. Imagine not having anything in your rig that can't deliver a couple or more uses. Shunning single use or purpose items will become more important than before. (granted some things may be bulky and only offer one function. Example: a single serve electric coffee maker that uses single serve brew cups...but even it could heat water for tea, hot chocolate, ramen noodles, boullion, or other cooking needs. Yet a small tea kettle may be just as useful if you have a heating source which could also heat other kitchen utensils and you learn to drink instant. It's a matter of thinking and choices that will serve you best.) A good bed will be most important for your comfort and a good seat so you could work from your rig. I've had both a regular Van and now a High Top. (after a high top there would be no going back for me). Having both dimensions of being able to lay down or stand up becomes a comfort priority expecially with older Nomads. Ultimately you do most of your living outside of your rig. If you are working in it, then it may double as a work space unless you could WIFI somewhere perhaps using a "Magic Jack" (or some other form of VOIP with phone handset) for phone service. You may carry a laptop, small printer, scanner, copy, FAX. (you may be able to Zoom, or SKYPE...but you will always have those you need to reach by phone) Thus if it's too cold or hot to work from your rig, you could a more suitable place using your Cell as a hot spot or WIFI if available.

Perhaps some of this will help you to figure it out.

Below are a couple of links in the signature line that may also be helpful to you.
 

thebarefootbadger

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I wanted to throw one thing out there. For a while I had a converted Dodge van - kitchenette, jackknife sofa, toilet. It had been professionally converted by some long-defunct company, but it had a "medallion". Geico was happy to insure it as an RV. Then I got stuck in sand and used my roadside assistance to get it pulled out. They took pix. Within days my insurance was cancelled because "that isn't an RV", and even with pix of the medallion and living setup they weren't satisfied and would no longer insure it. It took me weeks to find another insurer - everyone said no to RV, no to passenger vehicle, and no to commercial van, it just fell in the cracks. I finally did find an insurer but it was about 3X more expensive than it was before.

I don't know if things have gotten better, but outfitting a van yourself apparently adds a whole 'nother dimension to "stealth".
 
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