Leaving the van alone
One of the hardest things for somebody that lives in a van is leaving the van alone for a few hours. Wether you are in a big city or hanging around with some cows in the middle of nowhere, you’re always aware that someone with bad intentions can come around.
The possibility is always there, you can never avoid this completely, however you can lower the chance of succes for the thieves and/or make your home less attractive for them;
Buy a old camper/van
You have thieves that break into cars for its contents and thieves that break into cars to steal the car. When you’re living in a old van it’s less attractive for both of these types of thieves. Old campers might be in someway easier to break into
When leaving the camper alone at a place that you don’t trust, you could show activity inside the van while you’re not inside. It’s as simple as leaving a light on, heater on and play some music. Just leave everything like it is when leaving the van.
One thing that will always help wether you are in the van or not is to put a dog waterbowl outside, thieves rather avoid places where there seem to be dogs.
This one is a bit tricky because it requires a lot of preparation with a high possibility of that it was useless in a burglary, nevertheless installing an IP camera is worth considering.
For an IP camera to work you need to have the camera to be connected to the internet, so this means that when you are gone you have to keep your internet hotspot active in the van by using a phone or a sim router. In any case you need a new sim card for this.
Then when the day does come that you get a notification on your phone from your ip camera that there is a burglar, you can’t really do a lot most of the time, you will arrive to late and the police probably aswel. Next to this the burglar will most likely destroy the camera on first sight, resulting in little footage.
On the other side maybe you are lucky, and you’ll get the notification when you are close to your van, then the camera saved your van! This possibility makes the purchase worth it. Also footage of the burglary is most often valid enough evidence for your insurance.
Get a save in your van
Opinions differ in this one, some question the installation of a save because all your valuables are together in 1 spot and so easy to find. We used to hide our stuff in the van aswel in unusual spots and secret departments, Even though this works to hide small items like usb’s and phones it’s impossible to hide DSLR camera’s and laptops. So we build in a save.
Thieves work quick & efficient, when you have a save build in firmly to the wall and ground in a not easily accessible spot in the van, thieves have to spend a lot of time making a lot of sound breaking out the save. In this case it’s more likely that passerby will notice something is wrong and call the authorities. Another few benefits are that it’s taking more time for the thieves, and that it’s hard for a thieve to transport a save unseen.
If you prefer to not have a save you can always create some handy hiding spots. Here are some tips for some good hiding spots in your van/camper:
Food cabinets: Thieves rarely take a good look in the cabinets containing food or ingredients.
Fake power socket: Take the power of a socket in the van/camper and use the space behind this for small valuables.
Roofwindow: Often the frame of the roofwindow is easy to dismantle, there is a lot of space in this frame for small valuables.
Trash: For larger valuables you can hide them underneath the trash bag of your trashcan.
Minimalistic / Nothing to lose
Live with as little valuables as possible. Secure your necessary electronics well, and mainly use the cloud to store sensitive files for work. But yeah, if you only have a laptop and a phone you can also easily take this with you when leaving the van/camper for a while.
Even though we can’t recommended you a good insurance, it is a good idea to find yourself a insurance to cover damage and thefts. It will give you a better feeling knowing that you wont get in any financial trouble when the thief has payed you a visit. These insurances varies between 20 and 60 euro a month depending on which insurance you choose and what it will cover.
Accept the day will once come
You will experience a lot of weird and funny things living the vanlife seeing that you will be on unusual places. This creates amazing stories but also raises the chance of experiencing some unfortunate events than when you’re living in an apartment. The chances are a lot higher that someone with bad intentions will be met.
The thief will come. When? Thats never sure. Where? Thats also not sure. What will be stolen? Everything they can get their hands on. It is one of the few downsides of living the vanlife. Nevertheless the chance is fairly low that you yourself will be in danger seeing thieves will most likely only rob your van when you’re not there.
So knowing the day will eventually come requires acceptance in this, there is no use of continuously being worried about that this event might happen in 1, 2, 3 or 4 years, it will only make you not able to enjoy the life to its fullest.