Current Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
The first thing we did after decided to drive cross country was buying a vehicle that would allow us to make this trip possible. At that time, we owned a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid and a 2016 Honda Fit. Why do we need another car? We want to be able to sleep comfortably! That is my first and foremost priority. Sleeping in the Fit worked well for me (because I am tiny), but not for Min who is much taller.
We browsed through Craigslist for a few days. After much discussion, we decided to go with a minivan rather than a big Sprinter van. The main reason is that converting a Sprinter van is a much bigger and more expensive project. Plus, we are newbies into this whole van life thing, a minivan is just a good starting point.
Surprisingly, the minivan can almost fit a full-size foam mattress. Believe it or not, a 3-inch ikea foam mattress is quite comfortable. Throw in some pillows, soft blankets and sleeping bags, we are good to go!
So where have we been parking and sleeping every night?
This is one of the few things we have to ask ourselves every single day!
While Min does not really care, I always want to park at a place where there is access to bathroom. It’s just not as easy for us ladies as for guys! We also want to ensure that it is okay to park overnight. We got kicked out at 3am by security one time. Sometimes we do risk it, but we also want a good night of sleep.
- Rest Stops
They are our favorite! Access to bathrooms and water, less awkwardness, and there are usually other cars and RVs to keep us company.
- Walmart Supercenter
There are two things we look for in most cases. We make sure they open 24 hours and we know we are good if there are RVs in the parking lot. RVs just know what they are doing. It could be awkward to use the restrooms so we go when there is less people shopping, which means sometime after 9pm.
- Grocery Store Parking Lot
We had parked outside of Safeway a few times and while we are in Washington, we found out that Quality Food Center opens 24 hours. Grocery stores are very well aware of people parking in their lot; some Safeway closes their bathroom after 9pm.
We have not done this one that much. We stayed in campgrounds while we were in Lassen National Park and Smith Rock State Park. They gave us a nice relaxing area to cook a meal and we do not have to worry that we will get kicked out.
One good thing about a minivan is that it is stealthy enough that people may not think someone is actually sleeping in it and will not look twice!