Van Life: A Practical Guide

with Raya and Louis

1 hour, 12 minutes
19 videos

Learn everything you need to know to take your life on the road

About This Course

The Van Life lifestyle offers you the ultimate possible freedom: you can have a home or vacation rental that can go almost anywhere. In this course, Raya and Louis share everything that they’ve learned from years of living in many different types of homes on wheels. With lessons on everything from choosing a van through to the realities of van life travel, and more advanced tips like off-roading, this course offers an ultimate overview of everything you need to think about before starting your van life experience. You will also hear about Raya and Louis’ successes and failures, and why they’ve chosen to spend the past few years living out of different vehicles. By the end of this course, you will be armed with the confidence and practical tips to turn your dreams of traveling in a van into a reality.

What You'll Learn

  • How to choose a van that’s right for you

  • What to consider when building out a van or making changes

  • How to plan your first trip away in your van

  • The realities of the van life lifestyle — including advice for working on the road, where to park at night, and how to tackle personal hygiene

  • How to make the transition from part-time to full-time van life

  • Tips for driving a van and going offroad

  • What you need to know when traveling in a van abroad

  • How to stay safe when living in a van

Watch Some Samples

We've pulled out a few clips to give you a better idea of what to expect in the course

Course Breakdown

Chapter 1


Why a Van?

Welcome to Van Life with Raya Encheva and Louis Cole! In this lesson, Raya and Louis share why they love van life and what you can expect from this course. Buckle up and prepare to learn all you need to know from these seasoned nomads.

Who Are We?

Get to know your instructors, Raya and Louis, and discover how they got into and fell in love with van life (and why you might too).

Chapter 2

Choosing a Van

Your Options

Raya and Louis give a broad overview of different van options to help you make an informed decision when buying or renting. They reveal the pros and cons of each option according to space, budget, comfort, and features.

Building Out a Van

Raya Encheva and Louis Cole discuss tips and tricks for customizing your van and creating an efficient living space.

Things to Remember While Driving

Driving a van comes with its own unique challenges. Raya and Louis discuss the rules and regulations of driving a van in different countries and things to be aware of when it comes to safety, parking logistics, and restrictions.

Chapter 3

Planning Your Trip

Basic Parameters

It’s time to plan your first trip. In this lesson, Raya and Louis teach you how to discover the who, when, where, and how long of your trip and share their recommendations for your first adventure.

Setting the Tone

When planning your first trip, there are two important things you need to consider: Spontaneity and pace. This lesson will help you set the tone and expectations for your journey.

Our Recommendations for Your First Trip

Raya and Louis provide an extensive pre-trip checklist and share their recommendations for your first van trip, from budgeting to safety checks.

Chapter 4

The Vanlife Lifestyle


Raya and Louis share practical tips for efficient packing. They cover everything from bedding to food to clothing and recommend how to stock your van with lightweight, compact, and multi-use gadgets.

Day-to-Day Life

With so many logistics to think about, living and traveling in a van is a job in itself. Raya and Louis discuss what realistic day-to-day van life looks like, and teach you how to prioritize errands and master the art of the supply run.

Let’s Get Personal… Talking About Hygiene

When living in a van, keeping up with personal hygiene can be a challenge. This lesson provides quick tips on showering and planning bathroom trips on the road, as well as some of the portable options out there.

Where to Park at Night

Raya and Louis go over the pros, cons and logistics of overnight parking in campgrounds, cities, parking lots and more.

What to Do While Traveling

Traveling by van means long hours behind the wheel. This lesson contains Raya and Louis’ recommendations for entertainment on the road, and how to enjoy your destination once you arrive.

Things Nobody Tells You

Raya and Louis share how to prepare for some of the more difficult and unglamorous parts of van life … and why it's all worth it.

Chapter 5

Additional Pro Tips

Off Roading Basics

In this lesson, Raya and Louis reveal the basics of off-roading and what to do if your van breaks down.

Caravanning vs Solo Travel

Traveling in a group and traveling solo are both unique experiences with advantages and drawbacks. This lesson provides tips for both types of travelers and important advice on staying safe on your journey.

Being Environmentally Friendly

Raya and Louis share insight on how you can reduce your environmental impact and be a responsible, respectful van lifer.

Transitioning From Part-Time to Full-time Van Life

If you fall in love with van life, you might consider transitioning to living on the road full-time. As full-timers themselves, Raya and Louis outline the things you need to consider before tackling this long-term adventure.

Chapter 6



Raya and Louis share their final thoughts and give a closing love letter to the unique lifestyle they have shared with you in this course. You’re now ready to get behind the wheel and experience all that van life has to offer.

Meet Your Instructors

Raya and Louis

Raya and Louis

Raya Encheva and Louis Cole are filmmakers and content creators focusing on travel and alternative living. They have been traveling the world for the past 8 years, and for the last year have been living full time in vehicles between a converted school bus in the U.S., a van in Europe and a 4x4 camper in Costa Rica. Whether they’re doing VanLife full time, seeking out the best local plant based food or moving into an eco community in the jungle in Costa Rica, Raya and Louis are passionate about living differently than most of us are taught is ‘normal’. They’re sharing every part of their adventures, from the ups and the downs, to help you embark on your own journey into alternative living.

Raya and Louis

Van Life: A Practical Guide

with Raya and Louis