The best van for traveling in the US: Are you planning to take your life back and move into a full-time van? Or are you planning to take a road trip in the USA? This guide will help you get started.
Why has vanlife become more popular in the last two years?
The “Vanlife” has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years for several reasons. Covid has made remote working and living in a van a reality for many people who never dreamed of it before. On top of that, more and more people are moving away from 9-5 and focusing on experiences rather than a career behind the desk! You can find our article on the reasons for our purchase of our van here! Due to the increase in demand for Vans, there are many different options and styles to choose from. The key things to keep in mind are budget and size. But where to start to find the best van for traveling ?
Determine your budget to find the best van for traveling
So you’re ready to hit the road, but first you need to find the best van for traveling, so let’s talk budget. Vans have become quite expensive, but you can find them within your budget as well. If you can have a monthly payment on your van, your options are seemingly endless! First, think about the lifestyle and money you expect to earn down the road. Can you afford a monthly payment of $500 to $900? If you answered no to this question, you have two options. First option, buy a cheap van and turn it into the van of your dreams! Second option, buy a used van/car that you can afford to pay in cash, or find a fitted van. If you choose a camper van, they have the essentials to get you on the road as soon as possible!
Explore what’s out there!
Whatever your budget, it’s always a good idea to see all the options and upgrades available before deciding on your van build. RvTrader.com is a great resource for determining the size, features, and layout of your van. They have hundreds of motorhomes, RV’s and vans for sale for all budgets. Don’t be afraid to spend hours browsing, we did it! Check the websites of your local RV’s, car… dealerships to find out what they have in stock and sometimes ready to go too! These websites will also give you an idea of where your budget may take you and help you narrow down your search.
How to find the best used van for traveling under $20,000 in the USA
If you’re jumping in your van hoping for freedom and no monetary ties, the dealership isn’t for you. Private sellers are a great choice for those who are a bit more budget conscious. We bought our 2005 Ford Econoline from a private owner for about $5,000 and had to completely tear it down and rebuild it. This option has its advantages, you can get a cheaper van that is really just a shell, and design and build it to your needs. The low cost of the van leaves room for all budgets. However, unless you are an entrepreneur or Mr./Ms. Fix it, it can take time and eventually… A few woopsies that aren’t always profitable.
Even if you don’t want to rebuild, you can find great vans for your budget on various websites such as Craigslist. There are also apps like Offer Up, this app helps private sellers connect with buyers through app offer and messaging platform. You can ask questions about mechanics, tires, mileage, etc. Social media websites also use their own “marketplaces” where people can list vans for sale! Facebook Marketplace and the Nextdoor app are great places to start.
Reminder: It’s always a good idea to bring someone with you who knows a bit about cars, they can usually haggle with the seller on the price and figure out if it’s a good deal.
Ready to buy, price is not a problem!
So you are ready to buy, and money is not an issue. Let’s cut to the chase! There are several different brands making basic models for luxury motorhomes and the customization is endless. The most sought after motorhome is the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, many companies have taken the base of the vehicles and improved it for all types of outdoor adventurers. This luxury van will cost you no less than $80,000 used and up to $250,000 new. Most Sprinters come with leather seats, lavatories and raised roofs. The price is high, but for those who want to leave everything behind and are ready to pack their bags, why not invest in your mobile home?
Interested in a finished, road-ready van, but don’t need the luxury price tag?
Head over to Dodge’s website and check out their Promaster series. These high roof vans also have toilets and other essentials, with a slightly lower price tag. Pricing ranges from $40,000 used to as high as $150,000 new. The big cost differential is directly related to the features you want in your chosen van. High-end models come with leather seats, off-road stabilization, roof racks and many optional upgrades. If you’re ready to dive into the van life, but need all the comforts of your van and want a van that’s ready to hit the ground running, you know what’s left to do..
The van is chosen and purchased, but how do I legally prepare it for the road?
Have you bought your van and are ready to go? Cheer ! Just make sure all your bases are covered and all the boxes are checked. One box that may confuse many is van/car insurance. As a commuter vehicle, a van must be insured. Depending on the construction or type of van, the insurance may vary. You can easily get an insurance policy for your van from any insurance company such as State Farm, Progressive or Geico. However, basic car insurance will not cover all materials and personal effects that may be damaged in the event of an accident or break-in. To cover your van for its contents (appliances, construction, personal effects), you’ll want to inquire about specialty RV insurance. With under Specialized Rv Insurance, your home can be covered when parked for long periods of time, as well as at campsites and on the road.
Now that we’ve covered all the basics and you have your pinterest board full of ideas, you can start shopping for your dream van. Remember, take your time, you have the rest of your life to travel! Be aware of your budget and your restrictions, you jump in a van to see the world, you don’t want to do half your trip and realize you have underestimated your income! Always factor in the skyrocketing prices of gasoline, campsites, and food, among other miscellaneous things. Do your research, check out other blogs, motorhome and van websites and find what is realistic for you. Have fun and remember, you’ll soon be on the road chasing sunsets!