Why You’ll Regret Living in a Car Full Time

Are you considering living in your car full time? Your car is a dry, lockable place that may seem as comfortable as a camper to sleep in. Perhaps you even plan to find free parking and save money on rent. But there are several reasons you will eventually regret living out of your car full time.

Living in a car full time gets old

A car parked on a deserted road at night. Finding parking is one reason Why You’ll Regret Living in a Car Full Time. | Keystone/Getty Images
A car parked on a deserted road at night. | Keystone/Getty Images

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Your car can be a great place to grab a quick nap when on a long road trip. But you will eventually find it uncomfortable to live in full time. You will likely have issues with sleeping and storage.

Your car is uncomfortable to sleep in. Your heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system keeps your car hot or cold while it is running. This system also cycles fresh, filtered air into your vehicle. You can safely idle your car (outdoors) to warm up the interior. But when you go to sleep, you must shut off the engine. This is because poisonous gas fumes can seep into a running, parked car.

With your car shut off, the interior will eventually match the outside temperature. Many people who sleep in their car find a good sleeping bag is a must. In addition, the air inside your car will quickly get humid and muggy. Cracking a window open is a very good idea. But to keep bugs out, you may need to rig up some mosquito netting over the open window or around yourself.

Storage will also become an issue. Everything you own/need may fit in your car. But it will be difficult to access everything. You may have to unpack your things just to go through them. You may have to move things around to clear a sleeping space. Hanging organizers, storage bins, and even a storage unit may be invaluable. Read more hacks for sleeping in your car comfortably.

Living in your car full time is surprisingly expensive

Cars parked on a snowy street. Cold weather is one reason you'll Regret Living in a Car Full Time. | H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images
Cars parked on a snowy street. | H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

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Living in your car full time may seem like a money saver. Your biggest expense is rent or a mortgage, right? But living in your car full time is surprisingly expensive.

Firstly, if you have no kitchen, you must buy prepared food. Those restaurant bills can add up. Without a fridge, storing food is difficult. This means you will throw a lot of it a way. A cooler is always an option, but you will spend several dollars on ice every single day.

Secondly, you will have to pay for many amenities. Need the bathroom? In some neighborhoods you must buy a cup of coffee or some gas to access a restroom. Time for a shower? You may need to get a day pass to a gym or pay for a camping spot or hostel bed for the night.

Finally, if you are driving around looking for parking spots, you may find you burn more gas than normal. The costs of living in a car can add up. Sometimes, you may find it to be nearly as expensive as renting a room.

Finding places to park overnight is stressful

Cars parked close together on a busy street. Parking overnight may be difficult when living in a car full time. | John Waterman/Fox Photos/Getty Images
Cars parked close together on a busy street. | John Waterman/Fox Photos/Getty Images

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One of the most tiring aspects of living in your car full time is worrying about where to park. There are probably more places to park your RV for free, than to camp in your car for free. This is because everyone can see into your car so security guards, police, and nosy neighbors may bother you.

There is no nationwide law against sleeping in your car. But specific cities and parking lots may have specific rules against it. Some cities have a Safe Parking Program and maintain a list of legal parking lots for car campers. It is never illegal to ask permission to park somewhere overnight: the worst anyone can say is no.

Learn the ins and outs of sleeping in your car in a:

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