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Van dwelling is a lifestyle for people who live out of their vehicles, either on a permanent or part-time basis. Minivans are the most driven vans on the road, but they’re not built for the van life. They typically take larger vans, smaller utility vans, or trucks, and modify it to allow for storage space, cooking stations, and any other amenities they can create for their living quarters. In other countries, you can get your hands on some pretty nice camper vans, but not in the U.S.

In this day and age, many people seek a cheaper way to live, instead of losing most of their retirement money to mortgages. Plus, traveling across the country, with only the possessions they really need, offers a less stressful way to live while experiencing new places they’ve never seen before. Parked in Paradise shows what types of vans, and which specific models van dwellers typically buy.

Ford Transit

Ford Transit is a cargo van that many van dwellers like modifying into a living space. While there are a few models that have a fair amount of standing room, most don’t, so it’s often used as a more temporary dwelling experience, like weekend trips.

The Transit is a popular choice because of its larger size and decent gas mileage. Maintenance and repairs are also easier on these vans than most other vehicles on the road.

Ford Econoline

Ford Econoline is one of the largest vans available, offering decent space for storage and other space-saving modifications. Used versions are often inexpensive and parts are easier to find and rarely cost that much in repairs.

It’s a popular choice because it’s already made as a camping type vehicle. Seats can fold down, offering bed space, and the added heating/cooling system in the rear of the van helps you check off another needed item off your list of things to get done, saving you money.

Chevy Express

The Chevy Express is another full-size van with the high top space adding more square feet in the cargo area. It’s great for permanent van dwelling situations because of the headroom, so long-term living would be more comfortable.

It gives you more standing room than most of the cargo vans out there, and it’s more reliable for long-distance traveling. Plus, it’s also easy to repair like many of the cargo vans listed here. Conversion vans are already modified, to a point, and usually only need some customized touches.

Ram ProMaster

The Ram ProMaster is designed to be a utility van, often used for commercial purposes. Many companies use these kinds of vans for delivery or to carry around their tools or equipment needed for on the job situations.

This makes it a prime candidate for revamping into a living space for those embarking on the van life. Road and Track reviewed the van and showed just how viable it is. Of course, it would need some modifying, like insulation, but with the powerful engine and plenty of space for van dwelling amenities, it’s definitely in the running.

Volkswagen Bus

People often choose the VW Bus for the retro or nostalgic look and feel. It offers great space for a small living layout and is sure to be a head-turner as you drive down the road or park for a night under the stars.

However, this van would probably be best for those who do their own repair work. It has a small space where the engine resides, so expect difficulties when trying to perform maintenance on the bus. While there’s not too much storage, there’s still enough for those who embrace the minimalist lifestyle to plan some creative modifications to allow for just what they need.

Choosing a van boils down to its reliability, square footage for space, and cost-effectiveness. Plan out what amenities you need and research the type of van you’re considering seeing if it works for you. Take your time to browse your options, because you may just find one that’s already outfitted for van living and only needs your personal touches.