What Does Van Life Look Like Right Now?

By Katie Mitchell

This space was originally allotted to be a post about where to find the best youth hostels in New Zealand. As a country with easy to navigate public transit, beautiful outdoor recreation areas and fun cities, it has secured its spot on all “must-visit” bucket lists.

But in the interest of global guidelines of self-isolation, this post is going to take another turn. Instead, we will be talking about the beauty of van life, another popular way to see New Zealand. Many teens are interested in buying or renting a van and heading across the country this summer, but what does that look like now?

Many full-time van-lifers are doing their part and staying contained to their home-on-wheels, but the real question is…where are they actually parking and calling it a night? What are social practices for getting gas and how many cans of food can fit in the tiny space?

Van lifers have taken to social media to discuss the topic, such as the Women on the Road Instagram and podcast, the Love Your VanLife podcast, and the Kombi Life YouTube channel. All are approaching the current events differently: some have chosen to post stories of past travels as a distraction for those stuck at home, while others act as think-tanks for solutions to self-isolating in such a confined space. You can check out the timely podcast here:

New Zealand van sites are saying that they are no longer renting campervans while New Zealand is under Alert 4: lockdown. COVID-19 means all travel plans are being put on hold, but that doesn't mean travelers have to stop dreaming and planning for when it is safe to travel again. Take this time to put together your ideal itinerary, research the places you might not have seen if it was a rushed trip, and brush up on your van driving skills to prepare for the trip of a lifetime.

"Because you’re still adventurous even when you’re in park. And even though you may thrive in constant motion— this unexpected stillness is certainly something you will grow from.⁠" (Instagram)

(If you want a blog post on the best youth hostels, I'll still write it! Let me know in the comments)