How to live in your car

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Happy endings...
When you live in your car, you may not realize that you're virtually
always in public. On the flip side, living in your home will reduce
your expenses! You won't pay rent or mortage, Internet, and
utilities. Want to learn more? Read about "Brittany and Drew" the
couple who've spent more than 4 years living in a van.

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Car camping for fun, disaster survival or homelessness

Learn how to live in a car (even if you don't have too):
A car provides shelter from the cold, place to sleep, a measure of
security, as well as a means of storage and mobility. Living in a
car is not for everybody, but if you're interested in giving it a go
out of necessity or for fun, then learn how to live in a car from
people who've actually done it!

Below are some tips for living in your car for fun, camping or for

How to Live in a Car
Why would you ever live in your car? One day you may find
yourself needing to live in a car if you're fleeing from disaster,
such as the massive fires in California. If you have no where to
turn, then a car can provide you with a little peace of mind.
Homelessness is another reason to live in a car, but you don't
need to be homeless or on the run from a disaster to live in your
car. Some people actually
want to live in their car.

If you love being a minimalist and envision yourself enjoying the
freedom of camping, then consider living in a car! It's a great way
to save money and enjoy the simple life provided you have
flexibility with income stream. This guide of 16 tips will help you
live more comfortably in your car...

#1: How to sleep in your car...
First find a suitable car. It must be in running condition and free
from defects, such as a broken tail light, preferable a newer car.
Mobility is the first order of business so that you can flee danger.
Next, to sleep comfortably in your car, think about the basics:

  • Mattress: You spend about a third of your life sleeping, so if
    you're going to sleep in your car, you may as well get a
    comfortable mattress.The Milliard Tri Folding Mattress
    pictured right, is a good start to building your car home. It
    comes to your home compressed, but in your car it will take
    up some space. It's well worth the investment of space if
    you're going to live in your car. The seat of your car is not a
    mattress. Trust the people who've actually lived in their car.

  • Pillow.  A minor luxury for living in your car is a pillow. Go
    for comfort with the Travel My Pillow, which has a patented
    interlock, which is fully machine washable and dryable.

  • Sleeping bag and a wool blanket.

  • Ear plugs. When you sleep in your car, you're likely sleeping
    in a new place every night and ear plugs will help you get
    some much needed rest. There will be new noises whether
    it's cars whizzing by or birds at a campground.

  • Have insomnia? There are essential oils for sleep that can
    help, such as lavender essential oil. It will not only help you
    fall asleep in your car, but it will make your car smell great!
    That's important as you'll be sweating and living in there.

  • Carbon monoxide. A Car Carbon Monoxide Detector, be sure
    to keep the windows slightly cracked to allow fresh air.
    Intelligent detection of carbon monoxide in the car, more
    than 100ppm will be issued a beep alarm sound

#2: How to feel secure while living in your car...
Feeling secure in your car is a top priority. Here are some ways
you can feel more secure.

  • Get a fake friend: If you live and sleep in your car alone,
    you may like to get yourself a fake friend ~ a life-sized,
    realistic stuffed dog. This idea comes from (see the video at the bottom of the
    page) and it's a novel idea well worth consideration. Having
    a dog that looks real in the dark and may be the measure of
    security you need to avoid break-ins while you are away.
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Above, YouTuber shares life inside his hybrid home.

  • Personal protection. Another way to feel safe in your car is
    to get a personal alarm or pepper spray. If you're a prepper
    you may like to have firearms as part of your everyday carry.

  • Get a car lock. A car steering wheel lock is another way you
    can feel more secure living in your car. More than 3,000 cars
    are stolen each day in the United States! A car steering
    wheel lock will protect your home while you're away and this
    peace of mind costs only around $20.

#3: Is it illegal to sleep in your car?
That's a legal question that you should ponder and there are a
few rules:
  • Don't sleep in your car if you're drunk. An officer could
    potentially find you asleep in your car, touch the hood of
    your car to see whether it's warm to the touch, and then
    give you test and arrest you for drunk driving on the
    presumption that you were driving under the influence.
    When you turn the ignition while intoxicated you're breaking
    the law. Generally, you should get into the back seat of the
    car, take the keys out of the ignition and be fine if you're in
    a good location.
  • Don't sleep in your car while trespassing.
  • Don't sleep in your car if you're under 18. If you're a minor,
    you can't sleep in a car if there's a curfew if you're not with
    a parent or guardian.

#4: Where to park your car at night to sleep...
The great thing about living in your car is that, for the most part,
if you're sleepy, you can just pull over and sleep provided it's an
appropriate location. An appropriate location to park could be:
  • a camping ground ~  a car tent can help you look like a
    camper and blend in.
  • a church parking lot
  • a hospital parking lot
  • a yacht harbor or
  • a university parking lot
NOTE: A Walmart parking lot is among the popular places to
park, but you may like to avoid to be in competition and to avoid

#5: Don't look like you're living in your car!
It's not illegal to live in your car, but if your car is jammed with
gear and it appears that you're living out of your car, then you
may face harassment. The YouTuber
suggests keeping a low profile by stashing all your wares below
the window line. Again, his important video is at the bottom of
the page. Here are some other ideas:

  • Car shades and curtains. Keep in mind that some states
    have specific regulations about car shades. You'll need to
    check in with local laws. A car shade will keep people from
    having a line of vision to the wares you stash in your car.
    While you could use towels or dark clothing, it screams
    "homeless" and brings unwanted attention. ShadeSox is the
    universal car side window baby sunshade is a great way to
    keep a low profile.
Above, Eileah Ohning shares her tips for how to live in a car.

#6: How to keep clean while living in your car:
When you live in a car, you obviously don't have a shower and
you'll need a way to keep clean. If you're not homeless and you're
living in your car for fun, freedom or to save money you'll have
some options:
home, which includes a shower.

#7: How to use a toilet while living in your car:
A portable toilet is absolutely essential if you're living in your
car. Unfortunately, you'll have a problem of the stench. Use it for
emergencies only. You'll need a toilet for those times when it's
just not possible to find a public restroom. Luckily they are
inexpensive. When it comes to the bucket toilet, you can keep
down the smell with kitty litter you find at the dollar stores. It
works just as well for humans as it does for cats.

#8: How to stay warm if you're living in your car:
In addition to having a wool blanket, a sleeping bag and an
emergency bivvy in your vehicle, there are other ways you can
help keep yourself warm.

  • Handwarmers. Stash some handwarmers and toe warmers
    in your car for those extra cold nights.

  • Take advantage of commercial opportunities. Head inside
    to a fast food establishment, grocery store or mall and warm

#9: How to stay cool when you're living in your car.
There are many ways to stay cool if you're aliving in your car.

  • Car shades. Car shades will shelter you from the sun and
    help provide some privacy.

  • Car covers. Car covers are absolutely essential if you are
    homeless because they help block the sun and keep your car
    cool. Park in the shade or somewhere that will cast a
    morning shadow or you will fry like an egg on the hot days.

  • Buildings and trees. Park in the shade of buildings and

  • Car curtains. Eileah Ohning, who lives in her car, uses
    velcro curtains for privacy and also has dark tinted windows.
    See her video above.

#10: How to communicate while living in your car.

  • Phone. When you live in a car you'll obviously need a cell
    phone if you can afford it. It's your primary navigation
    method in addition to providing communications. Ordinarily a
    cell phone requires an address for charging, but you can
    borrow an address from a friend or family member and
    arrange to have the bills paid or pay them online.How will
    you charge your phone? The cigarette lighter is an obvious
    choice, as are cafe's you frequent along your journey. It's
    imperative to also have a hand-crank and solar charger for
    those times when plugging in just isn't possible.

  • Computer. A laptop is another way to communicate with the
    outside world ~ hooking you up to the Internet and having e-
    mail. It can help you pinpoint resources, like food banks and
    social security offices. A computer and your phone will serve
    you well, but you'll need to bring them with you as you can't
    have your equipment frying on a hot day or having it stolen.
    Get a messenger bag for your computer. If you have a
    laptop, this can be a method for earning money, too whether
    you write a blog, make videos for YouTube, telecommute or
    do freelance work.

  • P.O. Box. It's not mandatory, but you will live more
    comfortably in your car if you Rent a P.O. Box. Having this
    simple means of communication can help connect you with
    the outside world.

#11: How to spend your time while living in your car.
Your cellphone can provide a measure of entertainment, but

  • Libraries. You can a find shelter in a public library and so
    much more. Not only can you read at a library, but you can
    access the Internet and stay warm or cooler than you could
    outside. It also helps you connect with a community.

  • Movies. You can watch movies on your laptop using Amazon
    Prime movies or you can go to a theater to escape from the
    car and enjoy life.

  • Pack a folding bike. A bike is not only good exercise, but it
    may be necessary to bike for supplies or help if your car
    doesn't work. Think about a bugout bike!

#12: What else should you bring?

  • Personal items. To get you started living in your car, have a
    21-day packing party, says Eileah Onhning! She recommends
    visiting the to discover the things you really

  • Emergency Roadside kit. An emergency kit is an absolute
    must for someone living in a car. Jumper cables, flares and
    more will help you stay safe.

  • First aid kit. Deal with minor injuries, cuts, scrapes and
    burns with a basic first aid kit you stash in your car.

  • Bugout bag. Even someone living in their car should have a
    bugout bag. The Wise Foods bugout bag has emergency
    freeze dried food

#13: How to dress when you're living in your car:
Planning your clothing is essential if you're living in your car
because you'll want to pack clothing that doesn't wrinkle, that
can help you stay warm and cool, and that will look clean. Here
are some tips.

  • Have at least three pairs of pants and three shirts. Basic
    clothes won't take up too much space, so pack your favorites
    in dark colors.

#14: How to eat when you're living in your car.
You can't eat out for every meal. You'll need to have a small
stash of shelf stable foods that won't spoil in the heat or cold.
Granola is good, but the crunch may be bad for your teeth. Other
things that can help include the following.

  • Freeze dried food. Freeze dried food is great to have on
    hand. The beauty about freeze dried food is that it's
    extremely shelf stable.

  • Car refrigerator. The Igloo car refrigerator right, is iceless
    so you have more room and less mess. It plugs into the
    cigarette lighter. A refrigerator like this is a powerful life-
    saving device if you are a diabetic.

  • Cooler. A cooler is necessary to store water. Without it,
    your water will heat and be unhealthy to drink thanks to the
    plastics leaching into water.

  • Camp stove. Get a small campstove for outdoor cooking.

#15: How to store your stuff if you live in your car.
When you decide to live in your car you will obviously need to
purge. There are some things you may find difficult to part with
and for these situations you turn to the following options outside
of storing at a friend or family member's house.

  • Storage units. A storage unit can stash your worldly
    possessions for the day you decide to return to living in a
    four-walled home. Think of it as a closet or a basement.

  • Lockers. If you have a gym membership, you may be able to
    rent space in the locker room.

#16: Try before you commit.
Before you take the plunge to live in your car full time, be sure
you test the experience a few nights. See what you learn. Go on
a camping trip.
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