5 Safety tips for sleeping in a van

3 May 2015

The best thing about living in a van is that we can go anywhere we want. When we like a place, we just bring the car there and spend the night. This is a great luxury to us. However, living in a van is not all glitter and glamour. A Few things must be considered by anyone who chooses to be livin4wheel:

  • The world is not set to suit your new choice.
  • What you are doing is not really legal and in some countries totally illegal.
  • You are more exposed and less secure than in a normal house, therefore you need to be more careful and more responsible.
  • A lot of people will admire and be supportive about what you are doing, however there will always be those who will take advantage of the fact that you have your valuables more vulnerable and accessible.

Keeping these factors in mind, we came up with a list of 5 safety tips for sleeping in a van:

Safety tip 1: Take advantage of Big Brother

When living in a van you have to look at things from a different angle. One of those things is “Big Brother”. Nowadays there are security cameras everywhere. A lot of people may not like it, but for those who are livin4wheel it is just a great source of extra security. Whenever looking for a safe spot to park, look for security cameras and park your van right in front of one. Thieves are clever opportunists, so they will certainly avoid doing things in front of cameras. We have found cameras on schools, banks, post offices and restaurants.


Safety tip 2: Look for crowds and light

If you don’t find any cameras, it’s always a good idea to place your vehicle on a open place around nice businesses, cafes, restaurants or brand stores. Places like this usually have a good flow of people are well illuminated, which increases your security.

Safety tip 3: Stay on the move

When wild camping, we never slept two nights at the same place. We think it’s more fun and interesting to change locations more often. But we also think it’s safer to do it like this. Possible thieves will not have the chance to spot our car and make a sneaky plan for the next night. Because by the next night we are already gone. If you are not traveling around like us, but livin4wheel in your own town, this link may be helpful (read part 3).

Safety tip 4: Take your time

We always take our time to find a sleeping spot that feels as safe as possible. When we arrive in a city or village, we first find a paid parking spot for a few hours. From there we take a walk around to feel the place and to find a good free and safe parking.

Safety tip 5: Be social

Another thing you can do to find safe places to sleep for free is to be a bit outgoing and just ask people. Your best bet is to ask people who are traveling by bike. They are very easy to spot since they are carrying all their luggage on their bikes. Many times they pitch their tents in the nature, so just stop your car and ask.

On our trip we found many good places to sleep, we have even found places with free 220v Outlets! We made a map of all the spots where we slept, each of them with a brief description and in some cases with photos. You can find our Sleepin4wheel map here!


  1. Comment by Gerben Grotenhuis

    Gerben Grotenhuis Reply 11 June 2015 at 17:43

    Thanks for the tips, should have read them a little earlier though! A few days back we were camping in Kopenhagen our third night in a row on the same spot as we thought it was the safest, and we actually thought the neighbourhood liked us. Appearently not all of them as a guy came up to our campervan right before we wanted to go to sleep, and knifed our fronttire. He jumped on his bike and was gone before we even were outside.
    So yeah; next time i’ll consider taking advantage of big brother and for sure not stay on one spot longer than 2 days! haha :)

    • Comment by Valine

      Valine Reply 11 June 2015 at 21:30

      Oh no! What a bummer…. Luckily we have not experienced something like that, maybe because of Big Brother. Who knows :) Good luck with the rest of your journey!

  2. Comment by joe

    joe Reply 30 November 2018 at 06:56

    It seems like u can die sleeping in a hot van. Just like leaving a pet or child in a hot car!!!!

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