A Guide on Completing an Epic Van Adventure Across America

There’s something inherently magical about the idea of an epic van adventure across America. It may be the romantic notion of hitting the open road, unencumbered by the rigors of everyday life. Or the sense of freedom comes with charting your course, with nothing but the vast expanse of the American landscape stretching out before you.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know to complete an epic and satisfying travel across America, from planning and preparation to the best routes to take and the most memorable experiences to have along the way.

Planning Your Epic Van Adventure Across America

The first step in completing an epic van adventure across America is planning. There are many moving parts to consider when it comes to a trip of this magnitude, so it’s essential to take the time to think through all the details.

Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind as you plan your travel adventure across America:


One of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning your trip is deciding on your route. There are countless ways to cross America, each with its own unique set of sights and experiences. Be bold and chart your course if there’s a particular part of the country you’re eager to explore.


How long do you plan to be on the road? It will have a significant impact on your route and itinerary, as well as your budget.


It’s essential to have a clear sense of how much you can afford to spend on your trip. It will help you make decisions about everything from the type of van you rent or buy to where you stay and what you do along the way.


Speaking of accommodations, where will you be staying on your trip? Will you be camping, staying in hotels or motels, or crashing with friends? The answer will depend mainly on your personal preferences and budget.


What do you want to do along the way? Will you hike, visit national parks, explore cities, or above? Make a list of the activities and sights you’re most excited about, and use that to guide your travel itinerary.

Van Rental or Purchase

If you’re planning to rent, it’s important to check different companies, compare rates, and read all contracts carefully. You can choose between buying a used vehicle or converting your van if you prefer to buy one.

Converting requires a lot of commitment and planning, as you’ll need to decide how to install amenities and which materials to use while building the interior. Consider working with a van conversion company to ensure you create a safe, comfortable, and pleasant travel environment.

Living in a Van

If you’re considering embarking on an epic van adventure across America, you may wonder how to live in a van. Here are some tips and considerations to keep in mind:

Create a Comfortable Living Space

Once you have your van, it’s time to transform it into a comfortable living space. It can include adding insulation, installing a bed, creating storage solutions, and adding amenities such as a kitchen or toilet.

Plan for Your Basic Needs

Living in a van means planning for your basic needs, such as food, water, and hygiene. It may require investing in a portable stove, water storage solutions, and a portable toilet or finding amenities such as public restrooms and showers.

Consider Power Sources

Living in a van means you’ll need to power your electronics and appliances. You can do it through various means, such as solar panels, generators, or charging your devices in public places.

Stay Organized

Living in a small space requires organization and efficiency. Create a system for keeping your belongings organized and accessible, and regularly clean and declutter your living space.

Stay Safe

Living in a van means taking safety precautions, such as locking doors and windows, being aware of your surroundings, and avoiding unsafe areas or situations.

Embrace the Lifestyle

Living in a van can be a unique and rewarding lifestyle, but it does require a certain mindset and willingness to adapt. Embrace the freedom and flexibility of the lifestyle, and be open to new experiences and challenges.

Preparing for Your Van Travel

Once you’ve ironed out the details of your trip, it’s time to start preparing. It will involve everything from packing your bags to getting your van road-ready.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for your epic van adventure across America:

Pack Smart

Space will likely be at a premium in your van, so pack only the essentials. It might include things like a first-aid kit, camping gear, cooking supplies, and plenty of snacks.

Make Sure Your Van Is Road-ready

Before hitting the road, take your van to a mechanic to make sure it’s in good shape. It might include checking the oil and fluids, getting an oil change, and ensuring the brakes and tires are in good condition.

Get Any Necessary Permits or Passes

If you plan to visit national parks or other attractions along the way, you may need to purchase permits or passes in advance.

Plan for Emergencies

While we all hope for a smooth and uneventful trip, it’s essential to plan for emergencies just in case. It might include having a spare tire, jumper cables, and a necessary toolkit on hand.

Stay Connected

While the whole point of an epic van adventure across America is to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life, it’s still important to stay connected in case of emergencies. Ensure you can charge your phone, and consider investing in a GPS tracker or other communication device.

Learn Basic Van Maintenance Skills

It’s always helpful to have some basic van maintenance skills in your arsenal in case something goes wrong. It might include changing a tire, checking and changing oil, and essential electrical and plumbing work.

The Challenges of Van Life

While van life can be a rewarding and exciting experience, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are some of the common challenges you may encounter on an epic van adventure across America:

Limited Space

Living in a van means having limited space for your belongings and daily activities. It can require creative solutions, such as downsizing your possessions, utilizing storage solutions, and embracing minimalism.

Maintenance and Repairs

Just like any vehicle, a van requires regular maintenance and occasional repairs. Being on the road can make finding a reliable mechanic or obtaining necessary parts challenging, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.


Living in a van means being exposed to the elements, which can be exciting and challenging. Extreme temperatures, storms, and inclement weather can make it difficult to stay comfortable and safe, requiring some extra planning and preparation.

Personal Safety

While van life can be a great way to explore new places, taking personal safety precautions is essential. It includes locking doors and windows, being aware of your surroundings, and avoiding unsafe areas or situations.

Finding a Place to Park

Finding a safe and legal place to park your van overnight can be challenging, particularly in urban areas or popular tourist destinations. Research and planning can require a safe and legal resting place.

Loneliness and Isolation

While van life can be an excellent opportunity for self-discovery and solitude, it can also be lonely. Being away from friends and family, or being in unfamiliar environments, can make it challenging to connect with others and feel a sense of community.

Lack of Amenities

Living in a van means you’ll have limited access to amenities such as showers, toilets, and kitchens. It can require extra planning and creative solutions, such as using public restrooms or investing in portable camping equipment.

The Best Routes for an Epic Van Adventure Across America

Now that you’re prepared and ready to hit the road, it’s time to decide on your route. As mentioned earlier, there are countless ways to cross America, but here are a few of the most popular and memorable routes:

Pacific Coast Highway

If you’re looking for breathtaking coastal scenery, the Pacific Coast Highway is a must-do. Stretching from San Francisco to San Diego, this route takes you through some of California’s most stunning landscapes, including Big Sur, the Monterey Peninsula, and Malibu.

The Great River Road

Consider following the Great River Road along the Mississippi River for a more laid-back and leisurely trip. This scenic route takes you through quaint river towns, historic landmarks, and stunning natural vistas.

The Transamerica Trail

For a truly epic cross-country adventure, consider following the Transamerica Trail from coast to coast. This 4,000-mile route takes you through some of America’s most stunning and diverse landscapes, from the forests of the Pacific Northwest to the rolling hills of the Midwest to the deserts of the Southwest.

Route 66

Perhaps the most iconic American road trip of all time, Route 66 takes you from Chicago to Santa Monica, with stops at such notable landmarks as the Grand Canyon, Cadillac Ranch, and St. Louis Arch.

Memorable Experiences to Have on Your Epic Journey Across America

Of course, the natural beauty of an epic road trip across America is the experience you’ll have along the way. Here are just a few of the many memorable experiences you can have on your journey:

Hiking in National Parks

America is home to some of the most stunning national parks in the world, and epic van adventure is only complete with a few hikes through these natural wonders. Some must-visit parks include Yosemite, Zion, and Yellowstone.

Exploring Cities

America’s cities offer a unique blend of culture, history, and entertainment, and there’s no better way to experience them than on an epic van adventure. Some of the most popular cities to explore include New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.

Meeting New People

One of the joys of traveling is meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. Whether you’re staying at a campground or meeting fellow travelers at a roadside diner, make an effort to connect with the people you encounter along the way.

Trying New Foods

America is a melting pot of different cuisines, and there’s no better way to experience this diversity than by sampling the local cuisine along your route. From lobster rolls in Maine to barbecue in Texas, there’s no shortage of delicious regional dishes.

Embracing Spontaneity

While having a general plan and itinerary for your trip is essential, don’t be afraid to embrace spontaneity and let the road take you where it will. Some of the most memorable experiences on an epic van adventure across America are often unexpected.

Camping in Unique Spots

With a van, you can camp in unique, off-the-beaten-path locations. From secluded beaches to hidden forest clearings, seek out these gems for a truly unforgettable experience.


With less light pollution and wide-open skies, an epic van adventure across America is the perfect opportunity to indulge in stargazing. Bring a telescope or lay out a blanket and watch the stars twinkle above.

Embracing the Road Trip Soundtrack

No road trip is complete without a killer soundtrack. Make a playlist of your favorite tunes and sing along as you cruise the open road.

Get Ready for an Epic Travel Across America

If you decide to travel across America on a van, make sure to take the time and plan it correctly. Follow this guide as a skeleton for your journey, and you will have an epic adventure full of stories and memories that will last a lifetime. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your van adventure now!

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Yvan Lebrun
Yvan Lebrun

Yvan Lebrun is a trusted expert in the field of product & service reviews. With over a decade of experience analyzing and comparing services online, he shares his valuable experience with readers at GoodSitesLike so consumers can make educated decisions before making a purchase.