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How to Stay Safe Being a Van Dweller

Unusual Dwellings June 29, 2017

There are so many people today choosing to live in their vans as a permanent life choice or semi-permanent. There is that feeling of freedom and adventure that goes along with such a choice but sometimes newbies forget to think about the practical side of the situation , especially if you are out there alone, day and night. How do you keep yourself safe and protected on the road and while you sleep at night? Also what about your belongings as you sight-see or take a one-day or two-day job and you’re away from your van for eight hours or more?

Here are a few suggestions on how to care for yourself and your property when living on the road:

Use Common Sense

What does this mean exactly? Don’t tell every stranger your story or where you may be parked overnight. It just isn’t safe. You don’t know what their intentions are in that moment. Also, don’t leave valuable items or any items really, in your windows where passersby can see them. Be discreet, particularly when parking in a neighborhood.

Never Park in the Same Spot Two Days in a Row

If you do this, you will be putting yourself in danger of someone watching and calling the police or parking authority about an abandoned vehicle. This could get you in a lot of trouble, financially as well. You may end up spending money that you need for necessities just to get your van out of lock up.

Be Discreet at Night

Overnight is a sensitive time when you may start to feel a little restricted. It isn’t safe to make a lot of noise with the television or music late at night, once again, particularly in a neighborhood environment. You take the chance of someone calling the police because of noise disturbance or they may even tell the police that you are living out of your van, which believe it or not, in many areas, is illegal. It is actually illegal to be “homeless”.  So at night, keep it quiet and rotate nighttime parking spaces.

Make Sure Your Locks are Secure

Especially at night, make sure that your van has working locks and that you use them. They may not keep a thief out always, but it is a great deterrent. Keep your windows covered so strangers can’t just see inside of your vehicle day or night. Try not to park in bad neighborhoods. If you are considering a neighborhood in which to park your van at night, casually look around and ask people you see about the neighborhood. You can say that you had plans on buying a home there and wanted to know what the area was like. Keep your questions simple.

Following the above suggestions will keep you from hearing that awful knock at your van door late at night that will most likely be some sort of neighborhood watch or even the police. They will, and can, find many citations to give you for parking and for van dwelling, so don’t take any chances, rotate your parking spaces if you’re going to be in an area for a while and use your common sense and your sixth sense to keep yourself safe. If you see the “nosey” neighbor poking around or asking you questions when you exit your van for the day, it would be best to choose another spot.


Source: The Vanual: Sleeping and Safety Photo: The Vanual

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