Top 11 Best Travel Companions for Van Life
Deciding to live tiny and travel while living in a van conversion is one of the most rewarding and adventurous decisions we have ever made. Having the best travel companion is the creme de la creme while traveling.
Doing it solo has some major bonuses to it for sure, but having a good travel companion is like icing on a cake. When we say the icing on the cake, we mean the really good, homemade sweet and fluffy icing. The good stuff!
You might initially think that your best friend or your spouse would be the top answer for the top 11 best travel companions for van life. While that certainly may be true, it is definitely not an automatic given.
Today, we are going to take a serious and objective look at what characteristics make the best travel companions for van life.
It is a foregone conclusion that you must “like” this person and have some common interests. Otherwise, why would you consider being around them in the first place?
Each of these characteristics of the best travel companions for van life is something every one of us who travel with a companion, partner, spouse, or significant other should all be striving to achieve.
We all have the ability to improve ourselves, and for van life, these are some areas that everyone can appreciate.
Here Are Our Top 11 Best Travel Companions For Van Life.
#1 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life is Responsible
Traveling across the country full-time, or even part-time can afford some opportunities for many things to go wrong at any given moment.
Your travel partner is ideally someone who has an innate characteristic of being a responsible person. Someone who understands and adheres to the petty duties and responsibilities of living and traveling full-time in a vehicle.
This is the person who knows that when they are beginning to get tired and sleepy while driving between destinations, pulling over or switching drivers is a “no-brainer”.
The responsible travel companion is someone who does not take unnecessary risks while driving or making decisions. Taking a route without first mapping it out or driving excessively fast is not something a responsible travel companion would do.
Taking the back roads is a great idea if you are not in a hurry to get to your next destination, just understand and know what is up the road before you get there.
Getting pulled over by the local “Rosco P. Coltrain” may not be something you are concerned about, but less interaction with law enforcement makes for the most enjoyable and stress-free trips.
#2 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life is Considerate
You are living and traveling in a vehicle that is, in all reality, less than 100 square feet of living space. You are going to be sleeping, cooking, eating, working (unless you are retired or independently wealthy) showering, and just lounging with this person 24/7.
If you are like us, you will be spending the majority of your time outside of your van conversion. Whether that is your campsite or just out adventuring and exploring on foot or bike.
Our point here, you are going to be in tight quarters with another human being. Having a travel companion that is considerate is a must!
Knowing when to give your travel companion a little space can make or break a traveling partnership. When your companion has a headache or is not feeling very well, cranking up the stereo is probably not the most considerate thing to do.
Perhaps your traveling partner is rather shy and modest when it comes to using the bathroom. Considering the logistics and real estate within the van build, giving them some space and privacy to take care of their business can go a long way in maintaining a healthy relationship with someone while on the road.
Social media is a very popular vehicle for sharing experiences, life moments, and everyday occurrences. Sharing embarrassing or sensitive pictures and information on social media posts without your companions’ knowledge and permission is a big “no-no”.
#3 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life is Independent
You are living and traveling in a very small space. At any given moment, you are likely to be within arm’s reach of the other person. Having a travel companion who is independent and not completely relying on you for entertainment, is a good thing.
There are hundreds of decisions to be made on a daily basis while living and traveling in a van. What route to take to get to your next destination? Where are you going to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner? What beverage are you going to consume? To have a campfire or not to have a campfire? Stargazing at night, or Netflix and Hulu? I could go on and on with the endless decisions that are made on a normal day in van life.
Some of us are natural leaders and it is easy to lead, decide and take the reins so to speak. It is nice to have someone whom you travel with that is capable and willing to make decisions for themselves. Hell, make decisions for both of you at times.
Someone who enjoys a little alone time with themselves. Sometimes when we spend time apart, it makes spending time together all that much more special.
Having someone who is able to critically think for themselves makes our own final choices so much better. It is nice to have someone that is very agreeable and “go with the flow” attitude once in a while, but that can get very boring and sometimes overwhelming when you are the one making all of the big decisions.
#4 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life is Skilled
Being a full-time van lifer requires many different skills and abilities. Having a travel companion whose skills and abilities not only match your own but bring their own special skills and abilities to the van table makes your van life travels, adventures, and experiences so much more enjoyable.
There is a reason why skilled players and athletes in team sports make so much more money than the utility player in the organization. They are specialists and know their craft as well as or better than anyone.
A skilled travel companion is someone whom you can rely on in certain situations. Sometimes your strengths will complement your travel partner’s weaknesses. Sometimes, it will be the other way around.
#5 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life is Laid-Back
A laid-back travel companion is one of the best and most favorite of all travel companion characteristics. There is no pretentiousness. There is no type A personality competitions going on. Your traveling partner is a cool, laid-back, and chill person who takes in the moments as they come.
Have you ever been around someone who seems to thrive on drama? From the simplest things to complex conspiracy theories, some people just can’t breathe unless there is something dramatic going on in their lives. Now, imagine living and traveling in a van with someone like that.
I’d much rather hang out with someone with a Bob Marley-type personality than someone with a Kardashian personality. Van life can be stressful enough at times just by its sheer nature, no need to add to that from some drama queen or king.
#6 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life is Flexible
Traveling with someone who is chill, laidback and flexible makes for happy van life.
Try to imagine the character Dustin Hoffman played in Rainman. Only being able to eat your cheesy poofs with a toothpick while watching Judge Wappner. Your bed must always face East.
Having to watch a certain tv show at the exact same time every single day. Only being able to drive or ride on Interstates. I could go on, but I think you get the point here.
Someone with a flexible personality in an ever-changing environment and constantly changing circumstances is a critical trait for a peaceful coexistence living and traveling in a van.
#7 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life is Positive
Having a positive attitude can sometimes mean the difference between a normal disappointment or change of plans to an all-out disastrous and emotional breakdown.
Things and situations are constantly changing while living the van life. You kind of have to go into it prepared for unexpected changes to plans and ideas.
You may run out of propane or water while boon docking on some BLM land far away from the closest town.
Cruising down the road with your e.t.a. all planned out, and there is a construction site or a road detour that puts your schedule off an hour or so.
You are going to be driving and traveling quite a bit, so the chances of running into the idiot driver along the way that pisses you off for some reason is highly likely.
Having a positive attitude overall will improve the experience, adventure, and overall life experience for you and your travel companion.
#8 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life is Adventurous
This is one of the personality traits or characteristics that just makes being around a person that much more fun!
Who doesn’t like to get excited about doing something fun, different, and exhilarating?
It doesn’t have to be dangerous or crazy! Having an adventurous travel companion sure does make life much more interesting though.
Sometimes the simplest and mundane activities can be made adventurous with the right attitude and perspective. On your next hike into the woods, make a game out of it. Try to identify as many plants, insects, or animals.
Instead of meditating or doing your yoga or workout by the van in the morning, climb up to the top of a hill for an amazing and unique view of the surrounding area.
Don’t be afraid to get your feet or shorts wet. Cross a river to see and explore what is on the other side.
Just because you aren’t a morning person, doesn’t mean you can’t wake up early once or twice a week. Enjoy the sunrise with your traveling companion.
Adventure is 90% attitude and perspective. Anything can be a fun adventure if you want it to be.
#9 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life is A Problem Solver
Having someone along your journey who is a natural at solving problems will be worth their weight in gold. The more time you spend living and traveling in a van you will realize and discover one problem after another.
Now, that doesn’t go to say that van life is just one problem after the other. There is a fair share of situations that will cause you to step back to come up with a solution. So does living in a house, apartment, or condominium for that matter.
Having a travel companion with an innate ability to recognize a problem. Then, systematically working through that problem to its solution will make you want to keep that person around.
#10 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life Has Common Sense or “Street Smarts”
Generally speaking, we tend to categorize people’s intelligence into two categories. Book smarts and street smarts or common sense. We’ve all heard the cliche’ and expression, “that boy might be book smart, but he ain’t got a lick of sense.”
Having common sense or street smarts can sometimes be the difference from being a victim to being a hero. Being able to read an area, people, or situation is a skill not easily learned. For most people, you either have it or you don’t.
Here is a post we wrote on how Safe Van Life is.
If you possess a respectable degree of common sense or street smarts, then good on ya! If you are lacking, then perhaps a travel companion who can supplement yours is in order.
#11 The Best Travel Companion for Van Life is Balanced
I mentioned this characteristic of a good travel companion last because it is the most subjective.
Having a balanced travel companion simply means they have characteristics and traits that are opposite or supplemental to your own.
Perhaps your skills are excellent at cooking and preparing food, but you loath cleaning. Your travel companion would be ideal if they enjoy cleaning. That way, the two of you could divide duties and responsibilities of the daily grind of chores.
Wrap Up To the Top 11 Best Travel Companions for Van Life
Traveling in a custom converted van across the country full time can be one of the most rewarding and life-changing experiences a person could ever experience.
Doing it with the right person makes it all that much better. Doing it with the wrong person, however, can make van life frustrating, and miserable. It could drive a person back to living in a bricks and sticks dwelling.
Do yourselves a favor. Before you decide to hit the road, be sure the two of you are compatible. It’s what makes the ideal travel companion for you both.
Happy travels and we hope to see you out on the road soon!