If you guessed Van Life, you’d be right! This movement has taken over travel in a big way due to the pandemic, but was increasingly popular before 2020 as people looked to simplify their lives.
New research from Moneybarn looked at search and social media data to find out just how popular van life has become and found that searches for ‘van life’ have increased by 216% since 2018, and the #VanLife hashtag has had over 5 billion views on TikTok. (*Editor’s note – as of September 2023, #vanlife has almost 18 billion views on TikTok! Phew.)
‘Van life’ is a movement that is sweeping across a generation. During a time where people reassessed their priorities, many have taken to a much more simplistic way of living. People living in vans come in all shapes and sizes, from weekend travellers to full-time dwellers. The mobile homes are mortgage-free and offer an unparalleled level of freedom and joy. Plus, with the rise of the digital nomad lifestyle (with 10 million Americans describing themselves as such), people are working from anywhere and everywhere – and that includes vans.– Moneybarn
What’s more, between 2020 and this year, there was a 27% increase, arguably with the pandemic’s international travel restrictions leading people to become more self-sufficient when it comes to travelling.
The van life movement is enormously popular on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, with the #VanLife hashtag having over 11 million posts on Insta alone, followed in rank by #VanLifeDiaries, #Vanlifers, #VanLifestyle and #VanLifeMovement.
Top 5 Van Life Influencers on Instagram
1. @Yvonnepferrer – 1.4m followers
Yvonne shares her life travelling around Europe in her Toyota van, recently visiting the likes of Croatia and Portugal.
2. @divineontheroad – 258k followers
US-based Sydney is a van life veteran, having travelled the country in her van for four years, with her partner and two dogs in tow.
3. @wheresmyofficenow – 165k followers
Emily and Corey have settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, living in their converted school bus. They’ve been doing van life for seven years, and have recently taken followers on their journey of converting the bus.
4. @idletheorybus – 150k followers
Kit and J.R. are true van life nomads, travelling the breadth of the US in their distinctive orange camper van, most recently landing in the forest landscapes of Colorado.
5. @rebeccamoroney – 133k followers
Canadian-based Bec travels with her partner Eamon in their van conversion, which they put the finishing touches to over the course of the pandemic.