Have you ever lived in your car? If you are considering it, these homeless living-in-car tips are for you.
No matter why you are homeless, due to financial crisis, abusive home buddies, or you just want some alone time. Living in a car is a great choice over living on a roadside. In the United States, 582,000 Americans are homeless, according to the report of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Due to the rise of inflation, it has become a challenging task to pay rent and bills, groceries, and other stuff for less-wage persons. Moreover, during the Pandemic, most people are kicked out of their jobs. After unemployment, most people don’t have enough money to pay rent, which is why they have become homeless, and living in a car is the only option for them.
15 Tips for Homeless Living in Your Car
1. Pick a Suitable Car
Living in a car becomes very hectic if you don’t have a suitable car. It’s pretty good if you have your vehicle, you make it your new home, and if you don’t have a vehicle, try to get one, an old car, van, etc. Whatever you get in your budget, make sure it works perfectly fine. If you are planning to live in a car for a long time, take out the back seats and place a mattress to sleep comfortably.
2. Permanent Address for Mails
Life can be very unfair when people find you don’t have a place to live. Regardless of whether your homelessness is temporary or not, you need a permanent address. However, before you live in a car, get a new PO Box and place it in a friend’s or relative house and the nearby Place to access it.
3. Personal Protection
Living in a car is like living on a road day and night, and you have to protect yourself from dangerous situations. Ensure you have something in your hand, like a taser, pepper, spray, knife, or any other weapon to protect yourself.
4. Privacy in Your Car
If you live in your car, it does not mean you don’t have a right to privacy. Use curtains and shades to cover the rear and back windows. Put the curtains up and down each day to drive safely.
5. Comfortable Sleep in a Car
In a car living, you can spend your day at work or doing other activities, but what can you do at night when you are tired and need a comfortable sleep? You cannot sleep in a car’s front seat or back seat all the time because it is a small space, and you cannot lie down properly. According to your car size, purchase an inflatable mattress and adjust it in the car’s back seat. Don’t forget a soft pillow and blanket to sleep more comfortably.
You usually don’t know where to park your car at night, so keep earplugs along with you. It reduces the outside noise, and you are not disturbed while sleeping.
6. Food Choice
Tips for homeless living in a car also include the selection of your food. Eating junk food all the time is a cheap but unhealthy option for those who are living in a vehicle because your health is almost on the radar. Instead of eating junk food, eat healthy food such as cereals, oatmeal, salads, fresh fruits, canned soups, canned beans, instant noodles, etc. Moreover, buy granola, protein bars, nuts, and crackers for your midnight hunger cravings.
Although you can cook for yourself, people would not like this idea because it is a hassle. You will have to arrange an electric or gas stove, get cooking pots and other utensils. Moreover, get all the ingredients whenever you want to cook and actually be able to cook. Otherwise, all your preparation is a waste of money and time.
7. Maintain Hygiene While Living in a Car
It is a big concern when you are homeless and living in a car how to maintain your hygiene and shower regularly. Washing yourself in a car is not possible anyhow. To maintain health and hygiene, try to get a gym membership; this is the benefit of membership you can do both workouts and take a shower.
If you can’t afford a gym membership because it is expensive just for showers, go for a national gym or community center their gym packages are cheaper.
The second best but a little bit expensive choice is the caravan park, where you can park your car, take a bath, do laundry, fill up water bottles, and have a restroom according to your package. However, use unscented baby wipes to clean yourself, and take a bum shower in public restrooms or wherever you are comfortable doing so.
8. Communicate with Loved Ones
When you are houseless, it does not mean you are not a member of society. Keep in touch with your friends, relatives, and family members through mobile phones and laptops. You can use free wifi in public places like parks and churches. Moreover, if you are unemployed, socialize and try to make new contacts, which will help you out in this dreadful situation.
9. Manage your Needed Stuff within the Car
Always pack your stuff into categories and label them. In a car, place everything in order from most frequently used to least frequently used. However, there are many storage bags for cars available in the market, or if you can’t afford this, store all your stuff in separate plastic bags.
10. Clean the Car Space Regularly
When you live in such a small place, it creates a bad odor and is home to bacteria, so tips for homeless living in a car also include cleaning the car space regularly. To do that, regularly air out from your car by opening the windows and trunk for around 10 minutes at a time. Additionally, you can clean the surfaces, including seats, with any disinfectant of your choice to remain healthy in your little house.
11. Locate Public Washrooms
Living in a vehicle means you have to park your car in new locations every day; it is important to locate nearby washrooms to use whenever you need them. You can find public washrooms in parks, malls, gas stations, coffee shops, and other public places. Locate and remember those places so you always have a place to go when you need to go. Moreover, if your budget allows it, you should invest in a portable toilet to keep in your car and use it whenever you need it.
12. Places to Spend Your Time
If you don’t have a job, don’t live in your car all the time. You can spend your time in a library, parks, cafes, shopping malls, community pools, and other recreational places. However, the library is a great choice to fulfill your thirst for knowledge, and if you have a laptop and smartphone, you can use free wifi at the library.
13. Is it Legal to Sleep in Your Car?
Fortunately, it is not illegal, but in some European countries, it is prohibited to sleep in your car. However, we mention some reasons when and why sleeping in a car is prohibited in all countries.
- Don’t sleep in a car when you are drunk.
- Don’t sleep in a car if you are under 18.
- Don’t sleep in a car while trespassing.
14. Where to Park Car for Sleeping
The biggest problem you will face while living in a motor home is where to park your vehicle at night. Many states do not allow overnight street parking. However, you can park your car at night in these places to sleep peacefully.
- Walmart Parking lot
- industrial Parks
- BLM Land
- Big Box Stores
- Truck Shops
- Rest Shops
- Railway Stations
- A Friend’s Place
- Closed Businesses
- Public Parks
- Camping Ground
Here are some places mentioned below where you should not park your car at night to avoid trouble.
- Suburban Streets
- Homeless Enclaves
- Metered Parking
Do not park your car in the same spot for more than two days. It is better to park your car in different places to keep your identity clear. Moreover, try to park near the other vehicles so you won’t be noticed. However, once you find a place to park, try to arrive at night and leave before 7 am; this will draw less attention to yourself.
15. How to Live in Your Car in Winter and Summers
The weather has an impact on your car’s living style. In winter, you have to protect yourself from cold breezes, and in summer, you have to protect yourself from heat. Follow the below guidelines to protect yourself from cold and heat.
- Eating warm meals in the morning and night to prevent cold.
- Wearing multiple layers of clothes to stay warm.
- Turn on the heater for some time to maintain the temperature of your car.
- Use thermal clothes and blankets to keep your body warm and insulated.
- Visit any cafe, library, or restaurant they have a proper heating system.
- In summer, try to take showers daily to maintain hygiene.
- Drink plenty of water and juices for good hydration.
- Turn on the car AC for some time and buy a 12V fan to keep yourself cool.
- Use curtains and car shades for privacy and to protect you from the sun.
- Try to park a car under a building or a tree.
- Go to the library, parks, cafes, and malls to keep you cool.
Essential Tips for Safety When You Are Homeless and Living in a Car
- Personal Identification
Always carry your ID card, driver’s license, car insurance papers, and other documents in your car.
- Safe Yourself from Suffocation
While sleeping in a car is possible that you can suffocate and die of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, leave the windows a little bit open to allow fresh air in the car.
- First Aid Kit
Always keep a First Aid kit to treat minor cuts, injuries, and pain. It should have painkillers, alcohol wipes, bandages, disinfectants, and other OTC drugs
if you are suffering from any disease must carry your medicines all the time. Don’t forget to add painkillers to your medicine box because living in a car is not as comfortable as living at home; you have to face back pain and other joint pain.
- Storage of Drinking Water
Water is essential for living; every time you purchase a water bottle from the store is expensive and hectic too. That’s why you need to store water in bottles and refill it in public washrooms and truck shops.
- Avoid Insomnia
Living in a car is stressful; sometimes, you have to suffer from Insomnia. Use essential oils such as lavender oil or peppermint oil; it helps you for better sleep.
- Spare Keys
If you lost your keys or locked your keys in the car, you lost your home. Make sure you have spare keys; one is in your pocket, and the other one you saved in a friend’s Place or a bank locker.
- Separate Personal Items
Always save your items, like undergarments, razors, sanitary pads, toothbrushes, moisturizers, and others, in separate bags to avoid mess and easy to access. However, always separate your dirty clothes in a plastic bag to avoid mess and unpleasant smells.
- Emergency Roadside kit
The emergency roadside kit is very important for living in a car and learning how to fix basic car problems so you can perform anywhere and anytime.
- Do Backup For Electricity
You will need electricity to charge your mobile phone, laptop, fan, heater, car refrigerator, or any other gadgets you may have. Using the car battery for all of these purposes will result in a breakdown. Alternative ways to generate electricity are another battery or installing a solar panel in a car.
- Don’t Look Like You Are a Homeless
Don’t look like you are homeless and you don’t have a place to live. While living in your car, always dress nicely and maintain your proper hygiene. Don’t talk with any stranger about your situation, and don’t hang out with other roadsiders.
- Stay Positive
When you are homeless, don’t lose hope and deal with this trauma. Keep yourself busy, and don’t think so much negatively. If you don’t have a job, try to get a new job or any work to maintain your bread-and-butter expenses. Moreover, pay attention to your studies and hobbies and do enough socializing on communication sites to make new friends.
Yes, you can save the biggest expenses like rent, utilities, and maintenance while you don’t own a house and you live in a car.
Women face many difficulties as compared to men while living in a car; to overcome this, park your car in any populated place. Always lock the car doors and windows when you are inside, and don’t let any stranger inside your car, no matter what they say.
Hopefully, this homeless living in car tips is beneficial for you while you have no place to live peacefully. Follow these tips and hacks to make your life a little bit easier as a homeless person. However, don’t consider these situations as a burden try to keep yourself calm and enjoy your living in a car as a new adventure.
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