Am I Too Old For Van Life? Some Easy Answers!

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Have you asked yourself “am I too old for van life”?

That question opens up a whole can of radio-active worms! It is highly subjective of course… firstly what is too old? And secondly what do you mean by van life?

Van life can be going totally off grid, living in the shadows of society without technology. Living costs consisting of only those necessary to sustain life. And, naturally, vehicle expenses.

Van life can also be a few road trip adventures during the year.

Too old…oh here is the big one…what is too old? I think that “too old” is when something becomes difficult due to the restrictions of an aging body and mind.

Who decides what is “too old” for van life?

Unfortunately, the “too old” tipping point is often decided upon by others! I once asked a young group at a music festival to take my photo by the huge letters (like Hollywood…but Download). I lip-read one girl saying I was old enough to be her mother. Frankly, I was old enough to be her GRANDmother but it made me realise that no matter how easily I was coping with the mud, cold, tent-life and really mucky toilets, some others were judging that it was beyond my years. That the coach driver had also reiterated several times that the bus was going to a festival not Wortham suddenly ceased to amuse me.

What is Van Life? How to get started and find your freedom!

So the first problem you need to navigate around will be the opinions of others. Do you allow their judgements to dictate your life journey? Actually, most of them will quietly admire and envy you. Their voiced cautions are their own fears.

Listen to their worries though, these people care about you! They may have thought of things you had missed. By hearing them out, you can plan ahead. Can you give them reassurances which satisfy your own nagging doubts?

Yes, there are issues for the older person which cannot be ignored. These will be rolled out by your friends and children when you tell them that you’re hitting the road…so let’s prepare the responses in advance!

Is it legal to stay in a van?

Yes, it is legal to live in your van in the UK. The vehicle must be taxed and MOT tested, and you competent to drive it. That’s it.

Of course there are some rules and regulations attached to off-grid van life which may catch out the rookie – we certainly made mistakes! Our page on Wild Camping may answer some of the queries!

Check out the apps for free or cheap sleeping spots. Be prepared to ask at pubs and restaurants. Many will allow you to stay if you have eaten.

You may decide to stay on campsites all the time – that is certainly safer and more sociable, but it is not cheap. Being tied to finding sites can take up a lot of time. If this is your chosen way of enjoying living in the van without the worries of off-grid sleeping, it may be worth booking a week or so at a time. Some sites offer discounts for the longer stay – if it’s in an area you like, then ask!

There are different types of campsite – understanding UK campsites could be daunting for the novice!

Van Life health and wellbeing

Living in a small space can become troublesome when the body stiffens up. BUT this is often caused by lack of exercise. In a van there are no stairs to climb, you are only a step from the kitchen and toilet. Get out for a daily walk and “old” will be delayed for a few years.

Breathing in the fresh air and communing with nature will stave off emotional ill-being too. Loneliness is often a condition that people seek at first – time away from the shouting crowds. But over time, the silence becomes deafening. Dog walkers, hikers and locals are happy to share a word or two before leaving a warm glow of connection as they depart forever. Or maybe not forever – sometimes friendships are formed.

Fellow van dwellers often have stories and great advice to share!

Van life health and wellbeing is important! Living the dream can become a nightmare if you neglect your needs. We have a suite of pages dedicated to mental and emotional wellness!


As we age, some of us want to put down roots – to settle. To feel at rest rather than seeking out a new sleeping space each night and moving on before the sun dons his dressing gown. For many, family and familiarity become more important. Although remember, the vehicle itself is “home” and can usually get to family far easier than the average two-bed detached dwelling!

And if you have friends and family dotted around the country, you can visit them regularly. Park up on their driveway and see if you can get a bath and laundry done! Offer something in return maybe – babysitting, gardening, good company…!

Of course, the practicalities of the older body must be considered. GP appointments and medication, dentistry, hospitals. If you have a serious condition, you may need to visit a hospital regularly. Is a motorhome too cumbersome to park? Hospital car parks soon fill up – even getting a car in is difficult. Pish! Park up elsewhere and get a bus or taxi in.

Our Cree is too old for van life!

Chat with your GP about prescriptions. They may be sent electronically, or in paper form to your chosen P.O. box. Some medications can be prescribed in larger amounts so you don’t need to visit a pharmacy as often.

It’s all surmountable.

Some issues affect people of any age…

What type of vehicle is best for you? After all, there are plenty of makes and models. How To Find Your Perfect Motorhome will help!

If you like older vehicles, Hobo Gav has spent years collecting photographs of different vintage vans, motorhomes and RVs for the gallery.

Maybe “try before you buy” with a rental model where you can test the layout you think will suit you best.

Is living in a van safe? As safe as anywhere else. Lone women in particular ought to apply some precautions whether staying off-grid or on campsites.

But that can be applicable to static living too – in fact, a van can move away from trouble, whereas a house cannot. A friend who lived alone used to keep a man’s coat and shoes by her front door and tell visiting workmen that her husband was asleep upstairs. A lone traveller can do likewise. Place a pair of size fifteen men’s boots by the hab door! Or a huge dog’s collar and lead with a massive drinking bowl on the ground outside.

Just think things through – if you’re parking up for the night and need shopping, use a parking space near the store, get your groceries then move off to another space. Keep your phone charged. Be ready to move away quickly – don’t leave anything outside that you’d miss! Keep the driver’s seat facing forwards unless you’re parked on a campsite or driveway. Know exactly where the keys are. Keep the passenger seat clear – clutter is a tell-tale sign of a single traveller. Don’t tell people that you are travelling alone.

Our blog post: How To Stay Safe When You Travel Alone In A Motorhome

But remember too that most people are decent souls. The preceding comments are food for thought, preparatory measures, not predictions of trouble!

Where do the letters go to? Well, if family cannot help, there is a post office scheme which allows you to have mail delivered to a P.O. box. But as regards appointments, most surgeries and hospitals send out letters via email now anyway.

Here is our FAQ page!

Is finance a concern?

Plenty of people earn money whilst travelling. There is loads about it online. If “online” means no more than emails and facebook for you, then either you will not be a successful travel blogger any time soon or you have a lot of learning to do – quickly! DO NOT let that put you off…the older brain is as capable of learning as any other. One of my favourite anecdotes here is that I was given an iPad to use for work…a 90 years old who lived with Parkinson’s disease showed me how to use it!! Truth!!

If you decide that you would like to be a travel blogger then you have a special angle on it… most van life travel stories are from the younger generations. They concentrate on beautiful scenery and beautiful bodies. You can speak of the issues affecting the older person…even if you feel 21! There’s a growing band of people wanting to ditch the 9-5 . You’re doing it!

We built our own online business !

We even have a page on travelling with dementia!

A neighbour sold up and took to the road with her little dog. She offered a “buddy” service where she would accompany people to hospital appointments via taxi, be present during work-men’s visits, help with housework, do the sort of jobs that did not need a professional but were beyond the capabilities of the householder. Parking locally to where she advertised her services, she hoped to gain custom via word of mouth. She hoped that being female would be a “selling point” as many older women were afraid of having a man in the house.

Some people use the extra time they have to be creative then offer their wares at festivals or online. We have a few little “creations” on ebay. Just remember that space is limited! Our Hobo-reading-room book store takes up a small bedroom!

Then there’s your stuff…

What about your “stuff”? Decades of clutter…I mean treasured gifts and mementoes. Sell, give away or store it. Store things that you would need should you decide that van living is not for you. Then after a year, go back to the storage box and re-sort it. Family heirlooms are the hardest to let go of – pass them on to your children, nephews, nieces, or cousins. Let them decide what to do with it.

You can try van life out – a week, a month, a year on the road without making any permanent changes. Regard it as a holiday – or the big adventure but with the safety net of a brick home still available.

Rent out the house. Letting agents will handle the rents and tenants for you for a fee. You could even let it out fully furnished. Naturally there are horror stories out there but most tenants are decent folk.

There’s an answer to every “but” and “what if” …if you want there to be!

Back to the question of age…am I too old for van life?

Ignoring the number attached to your years, who is asking that question? Is it you or others? Importantly, do YOU feel too old? If so, you may be. No matter your age, it is your perception of it that makes the difference.

If you’ve always wanted to get out and see the world, what is stopping you? That is not rhetorical – it is a serious enquiry, what is stopping you?

Usually, it will be YOU.

If you keep coming up with reasons – excuses – then consider why. Be gentle and accepting of yourself. Are you creating limitations as deep down, you really don’t want to change? That’s fine – ask yourself a few hard questions and accept your own instincts and responses. If you decide that van life isn’t for you, or that you are too old, then accept that and move on.

Maybe you would prefer part-time van life. That’s a great option. You have the vehicle and your static home.

Get inspired by our ebook “Meeting God In A Motorhome“. Seven motorhome road trips to the UK’s most sacred and spiritual sites.

But, whatever you decide, don’t beat yourself up – you made your choice with the information you had and that is right for you. Find something else to do – what attracts you? What was it about van life that you liked? Moreover, what put you off?

Decide what it is you want!

Is it driving off into the sunset with your spouse or dog? Is it solo travel? Or is van life just not for you?

Have you ruled van life out, but look on that with regret? Make a list of the pros and cons of van life – the pro list is your wish list. If it says “freedom” then what is it about your life that you can change to give that freedom without leaving your home forever? If “adventure” is there, then look for what adventure means to you.

The “con” list? Maybe take these on as challenges…whether you live in a van or not! There may be some you can surmount and even enjoy. Who wants to have regrets in their twilight years?

Yes, as stated previously, others will have their own ideas about what you should be doing at your age. Waiting around for the angel of death is a favourite pastime. Sitting genteelly and not causing anyone any concerns. Is that on your wish list for the rest of your life?

I am fairly sure that embarrassing my kids is one of my life’s aims now. I will die with regrets, most of us do. However, I don’t want one of them to be having wasted my time!

Have I asked myself if I am too old for van life?

Too old for van life?


No, I’m not out there living full time in an R.V. – I have a brick home too. I’m not even at pensionable age quite yet – but the daily grind became too heavy when I was 59. I had a job that paid my bills and then some – but it also took up too much of my time and emotional wellbeing. In a move which went against my usual cautious approach, I jumped from a financially comfortable rut towards potential ruination.

I had to ask myself “am I too young to not have an income?” Yes! I was too young to leave myself without regular money coming in – but life was becoming unbearable. Worse, I was becoming unbearable, to myself and for others. Something had to give. I didn’t want that something to be my health.

Why I quit my job for van life

Being able to write and travel at will was a huge pull for me. Of course I had to balance the books! Compromises are tough. I was surprised at what I gave up without a backward glance. The travel is basic – the motorhome has cooking facilities, so we rarely eat out. It is not exotic…because that van wouldn’t manage it! But that is the compromise – I dropped the stress of my job in exchange for a simpler cheaper life.

And that’s perfect for me, whatever my age.

Have you got into van life later in life? What issues have you faced or has it been plain sailing? Let us know in the comments section!

Are you looking to buy a motorhome, van or RV? Check out our post on how to avoid being scammed!

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