A woman sits in the open door of her camper van holding her surf board.

Is the Vanlife Craze Dying?

Vanlife has been trendy for the past couple of years. However, there are some signs that the trend is dying. The popular YouTube travel channel, Kara and Nate, even announced to their over 3 million subscribers they’re most likely done traveling in their van.

While many embraced the lifestyle over the past couple of years due to uncertainties with traveling, that might be changing. Kara and Nate might not be the only ones abandoning ship when it comes to van life.

So is the #vanlife craze dying? Today, we’ll take a look at what we’re seeing when it comes to the future of the trend.

What Is Vanlife?

Vanlife is an alternative lifestyle that many nomads embrace to travel the world. These nomads typically convert a cargo van (or purchase a professionally converted model) to meet all their needs during their adventures. Some of these adventurers are working as “digital nomads.”

Traveling in a van makes it easier for them to navigate roads and fit into smaller spots that larger RVs and trailers can’t. While they may not be as large as some of the RVs you see on the road, they can provide everything you need to live comfortably to fulfill your sense of adventure.

A woman sits in the open door of her camper van holding her surf board.

Is the Vanlife Craze Dying?

All trends eventually come to an end. If they didn’t, many of us would still be collecting beanie babies and taking care of digital pets on a keychain.

So is the end of the van life craze on the horizon? Let’s see!

US Van Sales Down

It’s hard to argue with numbers because they don’t lie. Good Car Bad Car recently reported that the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Metris were the only two conversion vans that showed an increase in sales. The Ford E-Series (down 31.89%) and Ram ProMaster (down 14.27%) both showed negative sales numbers compared to last year.

A major decline in sales supports that not nearly as many consumers are looking to purchase vans to convert. However, that’s not the only reason we think we’re in the final days of van life.

Disappointed Newbie Vanlifers

YouTube and Instagram can make van life look so easy that anybody can jump in and have the time of their life. In reality, it can be incredibly hard.

Things are constantly breaking, and you always have to manage what feels like a hundred different things. Living in a tiny space isn’t easy and can be challenging.

Many have jumped into van life without researching it. They’re incredibly disappointed to discover that it isn’t exactly how they imagined it and that it’s much more difficult than they had realized. To say they’re disheartened is a severe understatement in many cases.

Five vanlife YouTubers share their biggest regrets of living in a van.

More Restrictions on Overnight Parking

While many businesses or locations allowed overnight parking in the past, it’s becoming increasingly harder to find. Many looking for a spot to park overnight get a knock on their window in the middle of the night. They’re told they have to vacate the parking spot or receive a citation.

It’s not just businesses getting tired of policing overnight parking, but local governments are too. Some people take advantage of overnight parking by overstaying their welcome and destroying communities.

This typically results in the creation of rules and regulations. This forces popular overnight parking spots from businesses like Walmart and Cracker Barrel to follow the local laws and regulations and prohibit parking.

More Trash and Campsite Destruction

Overnight camping spots aren’t the only areas being taken advantage of — campsites are too. Some of the free parking spots boondockers have been using for decades are no longer available.

This is typically due to guests trashing the campsites or destroying the land. The priority of the governing agency is to protect it, and they have no problem closing an area to camping if it helps them accomplish their goal.

We’re witnessing the death of boondocking, and here’s why.

Higher Fuel Prices

It’s no secret that fuel prices are rising across the country. Depending on how often people travel, they can use a tremendous amount of fuel.

Some find that their fuel costs are double what they were when they first started traveling. Because many of these travelers embraced living in a tiny space to travel, sitting stationary to save money on fuel isn’t a very appealing option.

The van life became very popular due to the travel restrictions the country and world started seeing in 2020. Vans provided the perfect opportunity for adventurers to stay as safe as possible while traveling.

Many of the vans used to travel have everything the nomad could need to live comfortably on their own. The travel restrictions happened right as van life was becoming a thing, making it appealing to many looking for alternative travel options during the pandemic.

What Are the Downsides to VanLife? 

While van life can be an incredibly fantastic way to live life and make many memories, it’s not for everyone. Many jump into the lifestyle without considering the downsides.

Managing power, water, and having to empty sewer tanks are all things that require an adjustment. You can’t simply run every appliance or use as much water as you like. Adjusting your usage of certain appliances or amenities takes time, but you may never adjust to living in a tiny space.

You can’t take everything with you, and you’ll quickly begin to feel claustrophobic if you try. Life in a tiny space can be overwhelming and cause mental fatigue and exhaustion.

This couple found out the hard way that full-time van life was not for them.

In this lifestyle, it’s not if something goes wrong, but when something goes wrong. Inevitably something will break, or you’ll need to fix it. Depending on what breaks, you may have no other choice other than to fix it yourself before getting back on the road safely.

When bad things happen, it can get stressful in a hurry.

Is Vanlife Overrated?

Vanlife is by no means overrated, but we can’t stress enough that it is not for everyone. Many that choose to embrace the lifestyle find that they thrive and that it awakens a whole new part of them that they never knew existed.

However, others that jump in quickly learn that they’ve made a major mistake. If you’re considering jumping into van life, we strongly recommend doing your research.

Watch plenty of videos from reputable channels that show honest depictions of the lifestyle. It’s often best to go on short trips and work your way up to longer adventures. This can help you adjust to life on the road, so it’s not a complete shock if you decide to travel full-time. 

Do you think the craze is dying?

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