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Living in a Car

Updated on January 2, 2019

A few circumstances back in 2005 led me to a situation wherein I had to live in my 1997 Geo Metro for a couple of weeks. The experience provided me with some joy and sorrow. Somedays I enjoyed the independence of being able to move wherevever I wanted whenever I wanted. Other days I felt like a loser and thought to myself, "what the heck am I doing sleeping in a car?" Anyhow, if you are interested in living in a car be it for spiritual, financial, religious, or whatever reasons, then read on.

Choosing your Mobile Abode

Choose your car based upon your level of comfort and budget. Although a large and spacious van may be comfortable, it will guzzle up lots of gas. Also, a small car like a Geo Metro may get decent gas mileage, but may be too cramped for most. For me, I did find sleeping in a Metro quite uncomfortable and the front seat where I slept did not have much padding. Moreover, the top 1 foot of the seat was curved inward forcing me to perch my neck forward while sleeping. I could have used one of those neck pillows to make the expericence a tad more comforting. I did try sleeping in the back seat, but it was too narrow, and I had to sleep with my legs elevated on the side of the car. I'd suggest getting a van for comfort, and I do not recomend sleeping in a tiny car such as a Geo Metro unless you have no other choice.

Where to Park

I did my car living in Hawaii where is can get quite hot. So to minimize getting roasted like a huli huli chicken, it was essential I parked somewhere with shade. I tried under trees with large canopies, or in parking garages. There are some free parking garages here next to 24 hour business that didn't seem to mind my being there. But when it is cold out, you should park in an area with minimal obstruction from the sun so your car can store up some heat up during the day keeping you warmer at night.

Food

To keep food costs down, I recommend getting a portable propane stove and a cast iron skillet. Remember, do not cook inside your car! You will probably die from carbon monoxide poisoning or from a fire. Instead, invest in a folding table to use as a surface for cooking outside. Have multiple jugs of water so you won't have to constantly look for a fountain.

Shower

I had a YMCA membership and just showered there. Some universities have locker rooms with open access that you might be able to utilize. If you live near a beach, there are usually shower facilities there as well. Public pools are another option. If you are filthy and have no other choice, you can wash yourself using water from the sink and use the hand soap to cleanse yourself.

Well, that about covers it for now. I will update this page when I figure out more tips on car living. Living in a car was an interesting experience that everyone should try once. It's quite an adventure. I thought of it as urban camping. Your basic needs of food, shelter, and hygiene can easily be covered while living in a car; it just takes a little planing.

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    • profile image

      Dollie33Cole 

      7 years ago

      A really nice idea just about this. Study and don't forget - if you have to work and study at the same time, there are experts who are ready to balm you with your essays when you under time crushing. I'd suggest in this case the most loyal amongs dissertation writing service where you can order custom content.

    • profile image

      SnowEstela 

      7 years ago

      I propose not to hold back until you earn enough money to order different goods! You should just take the mortgage loans or just secured loan and feel fine

    • EelKat profile image

      EelKat Wendy C Allen 

      8 years ago from Old Orchard Beach, Maine

      Another car-liver here. Not by choice originally, but after a few years (well 5) I'm feeling less and less inclined to want to go back to house living. I am much happier now than when I was in a house and I have so much freedom now that I did not have before.

      I was fortunate to have a 4-door sedan (a Volvo) so can sleep on the back seat without too much uncomfort.

      Unfortunately, I had the opposite problem from you: I live in Maine where it can get quite cold minus 20F is not uncommon in my neck of the woods. But, I like Maine, so I live with my choice and make sure I have a good sleeping bag, park in the sun, and keep my car's heater in good working order.

      And my car, being 30 years old, it does not like to start in cold weather, and the door locks jam after a freezing rain. I discovered that putting 0/20 oil in the engine, buying a new battery every winter, and spraying inside the locks with WD40 cures those problems.

      People tell me I should get a new car (as in something at least 20 years younger than the one I've got) and than if they find out I'm living in my car they say I REALLY NEED something newer. Well, I've had this Volvo like forever and I'm used to it's little quirks, and really, for a car this old, it's in far better condition than a lot of newer cars I see on the road.

      My advice to car livers: Your car is your single most important possession. Treat your car like it was your best friend, because if it has to spend a week in the shop: you have to spend a week on the streets (I know - been there!) Make sure it's a car you like, because you'll be spending A LOT of time in it! EVERY DAY! Make sure you keep it well tuned, change oil every 6 months, and fix any minor problem as soon as possible, because in cars, overlooked minor problems become big expensive "Oh My GOD" problems fast!

    • profile image

      Notice 

      8 years ago

      Yes, living in a car is a bit cramped, but now on the market are many things that can make it more bearable. But frankly, if you're not sure about it, you may find it better in a small apt.

    • profile image

      Gus 

      9 years ago

      I sleep in a 2003 Ford Escape. It's great I can fit all my stuff in it and when I fold down all the seats, I can fully lay down in the back, and I'm 6'2"!

    • profile image

      Tin 

      9 years ago

      I lived in my 4 door geo for 2 months in Alaska.

      Im only 5'8" so it was ok. Back seat folds downa nd the front two forward and I had a sweet roll-a-way bed mattress that fit almost perfect!

      It was great!

    • profile image

      Niki Tag 

      9 years ago

      I really enjoyed this article. You have very good blog with good quality recordings. Thanks for the article.

    • profile image

      MarK Darvin 

      9 years ago

      I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing.

    • profile image

      Obbop 

      9 years ago

      "There's class warfare, all right, Mr. (Warren) Buffett said, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

      As the decades-long class war continues and a growing percentage of USA citizens enter the ranks of the working-poor and the as the elites achieve their desire for an oligarchy do not be surprised if, despite your best efforts, your life-style comes ever closer to that of a 3rd-world resident, plan ahead to utilize a vehicle as your home.

      Just hope that the elites' henchmen, the jack-booted thugs, will be kind enough to look the other way as the population of vehicle dwellers to the millions then multi-millions.

      Homelessness is terrible but at least by having a vehicle to live in some of the worst aspects of pure homelessness can be avoided.

    • profile image

      bluemontoya 

      10 years ago

      Great article on living in your car, I'm also living in my car at the moment, it's been 2 months now, and i've pretty much got it down to an art form. I always parked my car at the same spot with no problems from neighbors, I take my showers at a community college and I'm about to get food stamp from the gov and spend most of my time at libraries. I don't have a job, but i do have an ebay business to give me some cash flow at the moment.

    • profile image

      Romana S 

      10 years ago

      Wow, a metro is pretty small eh? I can belive you lived in such a c ar, but yeh, ouch ouch back pain would have hurt something shocking. But hey, when you run out of options, a car is safe, dry, warm, secure and can provide you with hot water and electricity.

      For those out there who find themselves suddenly living in a car, check out Vandwellers.org, or www.carliving.info (same web site) or the Yahoo Vandwellers web page. There is a lot of information out there that is free and will help make living in a car easier, safer and less of an ordeal.

      Cheers, Romana S.

    • Bruce Elkin profile image

      Bruce Elkin 

      11 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

      Great hub, and great resource list. Thanks. I've lived in a boat, a tipi, a tent, a VW van (with 3 other guys, travelling in Europe) but never in a car. Hopefully, I won't have to, but good to know it can be done. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Sam 

      11 years ago

      As soon as I can I want to drive around the world, on a mission of self discovery and to broaden my consciousness.

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