How to shower when you live in a van? A lot of people ask us this question and the question has many answers. No, Box does not have a shower on board, so we are forced to be a bit more creative when it comes to our personal hygiene. In this post we tell you how and where we take showers while on the road. (With many thanks to shower model Crom, fearless of cold water)
Take showers in lakes and rivers
Especially during summer this is our favorite option. We find a river or lake on the map, drive there, take a dive, and wash ourselves well. We took many baths in the Danube river for example. (even though afterwards we found out that this is not the cleanest water in the world…) Of course we always only use natural soap and shampoo, so we don’t bother the fish too much.
Take a bath in a natural spring
Our latest discovery for taking baths are hot water springs! Especially in the winter hot water springs are perfect to get clean. These spots are not easy to get by, so when we find one it’s pure luxury. In Bulgaria (Rupite) and Greece (Thermoplylae) we have found some places where there was hot water coming straight from the ground. We parked Box next to it, so we had our own thermal jacuzzi right in front of our doorstep.
Use hospitality websites
Are you in a city or town without natural water around? Then websites like Couchsurfing or BeWelcome can save you. There is even a hospitality website where people just offer showers, called WarmShowers. Just write a request that you are in town, that you have no need for a bed, but just for a shower. This is a great way to make some local friends and get freshened up at the same time.
More than once we have met locals who, after a short chat, really wanted to help us out on our journey. Often they help us by giving us food or home-brewed liquor (we have a huge stash now that we just can’t finish). But sometimes, when the vibe is right, we ask them if we can take a shower in their house. No one has ever said no. Usually the shower comes with a home cooked meal too. Perfect!
Shower at the swimming pool
Visiting a swimming pool is another ‘two birds with one stone’ solution. You can swim some laps to keep fit and take a nice shower afterwards. An important note: We found that public swimming pools are not easily accessible in every country. In some countries, like Greece or Romania, you need a medical exam before you’re allowed to enter. In other places, like Serbia, you can get in easily and cheap.
Take a shower at a gym
One of our best shower experiences so far was at a gym in the Romanian town Sebes. After driving the Transalpina road for 2 days we were desperate for a shower. As we walked by a gym, we decided to ask if we could use their shower and sauna. At first we were afraid that the place was too fancy and that we looked to ‘bummy’, but it tuned out great. For 10 euros we had a private bathroom for one hour, complete with bathtub, mini sauna, candles and tea.
If you are staying in a town for a month or longer, you can consider taking a gym membership for the month. Then you have access to a shower whenever you want.
Wash yourself in a wheelchair toilet
This is kind of an emergency solution, but it works. Park at a shopping mall, find the toilets and look for the toilet for wheelchairs. These toilets are bigger and most importantly usually have a sink within the room. So here you can lock the door, undress and use the sink to wash yourself. I know it’s not chique, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do…
Use a shower bag
Our loyal companion, wherever we go, is our shower bag. This bag comes handy when there is no lake, river, swimming pool around. Or when there is a lake or river, but the water is just freezing…
We just warm up some water in a big pot, poor it into the shower bag, hang the shower bag on the roof. And voila, our personal hot shower is there!
One thing is for sure. When you live in a van, taking showers is a lot more time consuming and complicated. But at the same time super fun and exiting. Our showers have given us a lot of funny and memorable moments. Like on the photo below, when Crom was running back to Box as he heard another car approaching during his shower. Never a dull moment..
We hope these shower tips are useful to you. Do you know other ways to shower when you live in a van? Please comment below!