"Is there no shower in that thing?! How will you stay clean?"

The most asked question among our friends & family when we told them that we were moving into our van was:

“Where are you going to go to the bathroom? Where are you going to shower?”

A valid concern!

The short answer (for us, at least) was this: the gym!

This is pretty normal amongst the van life community. Mitch & I have been doing this and we’ve been loving it. Honestly… It has been great for us because it not only gives us a place to take a hot shower, but it also forces us to get our sweat on! We are absolutely terrible about getting to the gym otherwise. Total mental hurdle. But if we’re already there to take a shower we might as well get a workout in, right?

If you’re considering van life but not interested in putting a big shower in your already tiny space, you might want to consider a gym membership! But to what gym?!

If you’re going to be there on the regular, you’re going to want to make sure you love whatever gym you decide to go with. We highly recommend that you “shop” for your favorite. A lot of places offer free first time passes! Some are one day passes & others are free for up to a week. These passes allow you to tour and try out the facility to see if it’s a good fit for you prior to signing up. Awesome, right?

We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of all of the “chain” gyms that we know of and links to their “free trail” sign-ups so that you can start crossing some options off your list!

Photo of Planet Fitness showers & mirrors.

Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness memberships are so common in van life. This is because there are locations everywhere, they’re reasonably priced & they’re typically really clean! They’re also open 24/7, so no matter what time you want to pull over & get clean you can totally do so. Plus they’re almost always running promotions for new members. They also allow you to bring a new guest with you every single time. So, if you’re traveling as a couple, this will save you some even more money!

*You must choose a location when you request your free pass. You can request one every 90 days!*

24 Hour Fitness showers

24 Hour Fitness

This gym is a bit more expensive than Planet Fitness & has fewer locations. If you plan on being on the west coast a lot, this would be a viable option for you as there are 194+ locations out that way (148 of them being in California). It is, you guessed it, open 24 hours! However, if you plan to be traveling more than just the west coast, do not that there are no facilities in a lot of states. I believe they’re only in about 14 states.

*This pass is valid for three consecutive days, starting on your first day of usage. It can be used at multiple locations. You can request one every 6 months!*

Anytime Fitness showers

Anytime Fitness

This gym has 4,700 locations worldwide, so, it’s not as sparse as 24 hour fitness. However, most of these locations are only in major cities. These facilities are also available to you 24/7.

*Pass only valid at participating locations and can only be claimed once, period.*

Lifetime Fitness fitness showers

Lifetime Fitness

This is the most expensive option. However, it is also the most convenient. Lifetime offers towel service & provides everything you might need including (but not limited to): shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razors, shaving cream, mouthwash, deodorant, hair elastics, hair dryers, hairspray, lotion, q-tips & makeup remover wipes. This means you don’t have to deal with a wet towel afterwards or lug around big bottles of shampoo & conditioner. They also offer a lot of fitness classes that are included with your membership. A lot of locations also have a cafe where you can go to enjoy a meal or sit & get some work done. The downside is that it is only located in ritzy areas or major cities due to how upscale their facilities are. If you’re stationary like we were during the height of the pandemic, this is a great option. However, if you’re doing a lot of travel this probably isn’t the best choice for you.

*You must be at least 18 years old and “live/have an address” in the area where the club is located in order to use the pass. You can claim a free pass every 60 days.*

I hope that you enjoyed this blog post & that you take advantage of these free pass deals to find a gym that you love! We will say that Planet Fitness is probably the most practical for van life but everybody has their unique needs, standards, and preferences. We encourage you to find what works best for your specific situation!


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Hope Blanchard

Hope Blanchard

singer/songwriter. vanlifer. dreamer.

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