Airlines nickel and dime us, rental cars would be a better option if not for the price of gas. The best way to travel on the cheap is to load up your own vehicle, drive it somewhere, and sleep in it.
It’s Only Temporary
I’ve been living in a van dwelling off and on for the last three years, but my situation is different than yours. When you travel, it’s only going to be for a couple nights, up to a week – you can handle it.
Where to Park
Even though you’re not staying in a hotel, they’re still the best places to park, especially if you drive out of state. Not only do they have bathrooms in the lobby normally open during the day, you can get free breakfast at many of them, or at the very least coffee.
Otherwise look for public restrooms in nearby parks or gas stations, which are typically near hotels.
How to Stay Hygienic
Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and foaming soaps are great. Sponges and washcloths work as well. Keep your dirty clothes and rags in a bag in the back to minimize the smell.
What if I’m Hassled?
I’ve never had an issue. The handful of times I’ve been approached by police or security, they just tell me to move along, which I do. Other than the occasional lock check or window tap by an old drug addict, I haven’t had any issues. Smile and be friendly to everyone. Your life will be easier.
Where to Eat?
For breakfast, hotels often have free buffets – look for hotels much nicer than you would’ve paid for. Park overnight in their parking lot, and wake up in the morning for free coffee, tea, cereal, juice, yogurt, eggs, and more.
What Do I Need?
Think minimally. Blocking out the windows is all you need to do, and that can be accomplished by hanging anything black over the windows. A sun shade covers the windshield. I have a power inverter and solar panel for electricity to charge my tablet and phones. Other than that – bring some food/water.
Sleeping in your vehicle isn’t glamorous, but it’s a cheap way to travel without breaking the bank on expensive hotel stays. If you attend any major events on the West Coast, there’s a good chance I’m sleeping in my van dwelling in the parking lot.
Brian Penny is a former Operations Manager and Business Analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and writer. He’s a frequent contributor top Huffington Post, Main Street, Hardcore Games, and Cannabis Now.