A woman in leggins and a hat walks away from her broken down van in the wilderness.

Gen Z Van Lifers Won’t Last

It seems that every generation has trends that come and go. Van life has become a trend amongst the Gen Z generation over the past few years. However, we’re confident that it’s only a matter of time before it’s no longer trendy.

The popularity of van life, like a sun setting behind the mountains, will fade into the distance, and the crowds will flock to the next big thing. 

Let’s look at the van life trend and why it won’t last.

A woman in leggins and a hat walks away from her broken down van in the wilderness.

What Is Gen Z?

You’ve likely heard of the generational names like Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials. The newest addition to the group is Gen Z.

This generation is typically anyone born between 1997 and 2012. Researchers expect this to be the largest generation in American history, with them being approximately 27% of the US population.

This is the first generation not to know a life without social media and the internet. Their early adoption of technology often leads to stereotypes of being addicted to technology, anti-social, or having narcissistic tendencies.

However, while there may be statistics to back up some of these stereotypes, painting an entire generation with broad strokes can make it challenging to get to know individuals.

Age is just a number — these 10 RVing boomers are HOT 🔥

Who Are Van Lifers? 

Van lifers choose an alternative lifestyle when traveling and living everyday life. Instead of a house or apartment, their home has wheels. Sometimes it’s even cheaper than renting.

They convert vans to have all the necessities to live a nomadic lifestyle. What van lifers can create when they put their DIY skills to the test can be rather incredible. We’ve seen some rather luxurious conversions from them.

One could argue that many of these adventurers live a more luxurious life than some people in their sticks-and-bricks homes. 

Many of the eldest Gen Zs are in college, and some choose to live in a van rather than a dorm.

We can thank YouTube, Instagram, and all the other social media platforms for the massive increase in the popularity of van life.

Some incredible content creators share their adventures online for others to see and enjoy. This often creates a desire for more people to embrace the nomadic lifestyle and see that it’s not as impossible as they may have once thought.

Van life also exploded due to the chaos of 2020 and 2021. During this time, people were looking for alternative options to travel and fulfill their sense of adventure. It was a great solution and offered flexibility and freedom for traveling during the turmoil.

Why Won’t Gen Z Van Lifers Last?

Like a revolving door, trends come and go. The van life trend is attractive to many Gen Z’ers because it is a unique lifestyle. It loses its appeal for being unique and exclusive the more it gains popularity.

It’s only a matter of time before the next big trend comes along to steal the spotlight on social media.

You can think back over the past several years and reflect on trends like ice bucket challenges, trick shots, and dances. These trends were hilarious and a great way to get attention.

A guy sits far away looking on to his van and contemplating his life.

However, as soon as they were no longer cool, they disappeared from the internet as quickly as they came on the scene.

We also expect that Gen Z van lifers won’t last long because it’s not always easy. What they see on social media is often a very polished image of the lifestyle.

To say van life can be challenging is often an understatement. It’s sometimes downright hard.

Is Van Life Hard?

Anytime you take on an entirely new or unfamiliar lifestyle, it can be challenging. Learning to manage your water and power are two hard adjustments for van life. If you’re not a flexible person or adjustments can be difficult, the lifestyle can be overwhelming.

It’s most definitely not for everyone. Many people jump into the lifestyle without doing enough research and quickly abandon it when they realize it’s not as easy as social media makes it out to be. 

What Are the Downsides to Van Life? 

Constantly packing up all of your things and moving can be frustrating. Things break, the weather doesn’t cooperate, and your plans don’t always go as planned. This can make van life very stressful.

It can also be challenging as more people embrace the lifestyle. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find campsites and boondocking sites.

Some of the best spots fill up fast or attract large crowds. This often crushes the desire of van lifers to enjoy solitude and isolation.

A ma living in his van in a parking lot has a crowd of pigeons flocking around him.

Try urban stealth camping if you’re having trouble finding a place to stay overnight in your van.

Can I Legally Live in a Van?

This can be a tricky question to answer. There are many places where you can live out of your van legally. However, there are also places where it’s strictly prohibited.

You can’t just park your van anywhere. 

Some cities have local ordinances for overnight camping. You can be fined or towed for illegally camping in your van. Even if you own the property, your local code enforcement may have strict guidelines for what qualifies as a residence.

Is Van Life Worth It?

Van life is a unique way to live your life and see the country. You can experience some of the greatest landscapes and still live comfortably.

Whether you’re trying to visit as many national parks or states as possible, van life can make it possible. However, it’s also not an easy lifestyle for everyone. 

Does the nomadic lifestyle of van life appeal to you?

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