Are you considering living in a car full-time? Your car is a dry, lockable place that looks as comfortable as a camper sleeping. Maybe you even plan to find free parking spaces and save rent. However, there are many reasons why you will eventually regret living outside the car full-time.
At night, a car parked on a deserted road. | Cornerstone/Getty Images
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During a long journey, your car can be a good place to take a break. But you will eventually find that full-time life is very uncomfortable. You may experience sleep and storage issues.
Your car is uncomfortable sleeping in it. Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system keeps your car hot and cold while it is running. The system also circulates fresh, filtered air into your vehicle. You can safely let your car (outdoors) idle to warm up the interior. But when you go to sleep, you have to turn off the engine. This is because toxic gases can seep into a parked car while it is running.
After the car is turned off, the temperature inside the car will eventually match the temperature outside the car. Many people sleeping in the car find that a good sleeping bag is a must. In addition, the air in the car can quickly become humid and sultry. Opening the window is a very good idea. But to prevent bugs from entering, you may need to install some mosquito nets on open windows or around yourself.
Storage will also become an issue. Everything you have/need may be suitable for your car. But it is difficult to access all content. You may need to take your things apart to pass them. You may need to move things around to clear the sleeping space. Hanging organizers, storage boxes, or even a storage unit can be invaluable. Read more about the tips for sleeping comfortably in the car.
The car stopped on the snowy street. | H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images
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Living in the car full-time seems to save money. Your biggest expense is rent or mortgage, right? However, the cost of living in a car full-time is staggering.
First, if you don't have a kitchen, you must buy prepared food. Those restaurant bills can add up. Without a refrigerator, it is difficult to store food. This means you will throw a lot in one way. A cooler is always an option, but you will spend a few dollars on ice every day.
Second, you will have to pay for many amenities. Do you need a bathroom? In some communities, you must buy a cup of coffee or some gasoline to enter the bathroom. Bath time? You may need to get a day pass to the gym or pay for overnight campsites or dorm beds.
Finally, if you drive around looking for a parking space, you may find that you burn more gasoline than usual. The cost of living in a car may increase. Sometimes, you may find it almost as expensive as renting a house.
The car was parked on a busy street. | John Waterman/Fox Photos/Getty Images
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One of the most tiring aspects of living in a car full-time is worrying about where to park. There may be more places where you can park your RV for free instead of camping in the car for free. This is because everyone can see your car, so security, police, and nosy neighbors may bother you.
There is no national law prohibiting sleeping in a car. However, specific cities and parking lots may have specific regulations. Some cities have developed safe parking plans and kept a list of legal parking lots for car campers. It is never illegal to ask for permission to park overnight somewhere: anyone can say no.
Understand the ins and outs of sleeping in the car:
Related: Is it illegal to sleep in your car?
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