How To Live In Your Car

Have you ever considered living in your car? While some people may choose to do so for fun and to experience something different, for others it is out of necessity.

Some people may be forced onto the street due to natural disasters or homelessness. In other instances, individuals may be seeking a cheap way of living while they build their own home.

Whatever the reason, if living in your car is something that you have contemplated, you will benefit from the following tips which aim to prepare you for the experience.

How To Live In Your Car

Before we begin, it is worth noting that in many states, living out of your car is actually illegal, and in others, individuals are only permitted to park and sleep at rest stops for a limited amount of time.

If the vehicle is parked on your driveway or a piece of land where you have been granted permission to park it, it is legal. Some supermarkets will also allow vehicle owners to park overnight in the parking lot, Walmart providing a prime example.

However, it is important to check the regulations of the supermarket to ensure that any restrictions are abided by. 

Why do people choose to live in cars?

Opting for a more mobile life is a choice that is becoming increasingly popular amongst many individuals. Often it is pursued for cheaper living costs.

Rather than having to pay the sometimes extortionate cost of rent and bills in many states, once the vehicle has been adapted for living purposes living costs become much cheaper.

Some people enjoy the minimalist lifestyle and appreciate the freedom that living in their car provides them with. 

Unfortunately, there are often occasions when individuals find themselves homeless and have no other option but to live in their car. 

Find an appropriate vehicle

Your car needs to be fit for the purpose of providing you with somewhere to live and so you must ensure that it works and offers you the space that you require. If you do not have the funds available to purchase a new car, the vehicle that you currently possess will suffice.

Remember that older cars are more susceptible to breakdowns so it is very important to carry out regular maintenance and act upon any problems before they become more severe. Opting for a car with a sunroof is preferable as this will provide a good source of ventilation.

Instead of purchasing a car, some individuals may choose to invest in a windowless van that offers a combination of space and privacy.


Living in your car means that you will likely have the majority of your essential belongings in tow and because of this, practical storage solutions are going to come in handy.

Perhaps the easiest way to enhance the storage capacity of your car is to add a cargo rack.

Storing your belongings this way means that you do not have to compromise on the space that you have available inside the vehicle as it is stored on the exterior.

If you aren’t able to get your hands on a cargo rack, utilize plastic storage containers. Although they will consume more space inside your vehicle, they are an inexpensive and convenient solution that allows you to organize your belongings. 

Pack the essentials

Pack the basic but essential items that will enable you to sleep comfortably inside your vehicle. For example, a pillow, a mattress, and possibly earplugs to dampen any surrounding noise.

A car carbon monoxide detector is also handy as it will alert you when the levels inside the car have exceeded a certain threshold.

Of course, you will need clothing too and also a supply of food and drink to keep you going if you aren’t able to access a store or restaurant. 


Feeling safe and secure inside your vehicle is very important.

Ensure that the car’s locks are in good working order and also invest in a steering wheel lock. This will make sure that your vehicle is safe against potential thieves and protects you against the possibility of losing your home.

Also, try and park in safe and inconspicuous places. Doing so will ensure that you are not a target for onlookers who may try and cause issues for you.

If you do not feel safe inside your vehicle or the location in which it is parked, you will likely struggle to relax and this will ultimately affect how well you can sleep. 


You will require an address to receive your mail. If you are living in your car out of choice, you may still have a permanent address in which your mail can be sent too.

If this is not the case and your car is parked on land owned by another individual you can ask them if you can use their address or alternatively, you may wish to ask family members or friends if you can use their address so that you can still access your mail.

Another option is to open a PO Box as you can then visit the location to collect your mail.


Implementing proper hygiene practices is an important part of daily life but something that becomes much more challenging when you live in a vehicle. However, there are solutions to this issue.

One of the first but more expensive options is purchasing a gym membership as this will allow you to visit a gym to use the showering facilities. Due to the cost of a membership, for many, this will likely seem like a wasted expense.

For a cheaper solution, you can visit a recreational center as they typically tend to offer these amenities at a more affordable price. Another option is to visit a rest area. They will typically provide showering facilities for those on the road.

The final option is to check into a caravan park for a night. This needn’t be an expensive caravan park but simply one that allows you to shower.

You will likely be able to make use of the other facilities available too such as the laundrette which will allow you to maintain the cleanliness of your clothing. 

The Simple Prepper