Are you contemplating picking up your life and moving into a van full time? This guide will help you get started. Vanlife has become increasingly popular in the last couple years for a few reasons. Covid has made working remote and living in a van a reality for many folks who didn’t dream it possible before. On top of that, more and more people are getting away from the 9-5 and focused on experiences instead of an office career! Because of the increase in demand for Vans there are a lot of different options and styles available for you to choose from. Key things to keep in mind are Budget, Size and if you want it essentially turn key. But where do you even begin to find and choose a van? Stay with us!
Determining your van budget.
So you choose your van and you are ready to hit the road, but first you need to get your van, so let’s talk budget. Vans aren’t cheap, but they don’t have to be expensive either. If you can manage a monthly payment on your van, your options are seemingly endless! First, think about the lifestyle and money you plan to be making on the road. Can you afford a $500-$900 monthly payment? If you are shaking your head no, you have two options. Option one, buy a cheap van and remodel it into your dream van! Option two, purchase a used van you can afford to pay cash for, or have a very minimal payment that is turn key. Turn key vans essentially mean that they have been outfitted/ remodeled already and have the essentials to get you on the road ASAP!
Explore what’s out there!
No matter your budget, it is always a good idea to see all of the options and upgrades available before deciding on your van build. RvTrader.com is a great resource when determining size, features and layout of your van. They have hundreds of Rvs, Campers and Vans for sale for any budget. Don’t be afraid to spend hours browsing, we did! Check out your local RV dealers websites for what they have in stock and ready to go as well! These websites will also give you an idea of where your budget can take you and help narrow down your search.
How to find and choose a used van under $20,000
If you are jumping into your van in hopes of freedom and no monetary ties, the dealership is not for you. Private sellers are a great choice for those who are a little more budget conscious. We purchased our 2005 Ford Econoline from a private owner for around $5,000 and had to completely demolish and rebuild. This option has its perks, you can get a cheaper van that is really just a shell, and design and build to your needs. The low cost of the van leaves room for any budget. However, unless you are a contractor or Mr./Mrs Fix it, this can take time and ultimately.. Some woopsies that aren’t always cost efficient.
Even if you don’t want to rebuild, you can find some great vans for your budget on various websites such as Craigslist. There are also Apps such as Offer Up, this app helps private sellers connect with buyers Via the apps offer and messaging platform. You can ask questions about the mechanics, tires, mileage etc. Social Media websites also utilize 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 little bit about cars, they can usually haggle with the seller on price and determine if it is a good deal.
Ready to choose and buy a van and price is no issue!
So you are ready to buy, and money is not an issue. Let’s get right to it! There are multiple different brands for choose your next van that make base model to luxury camper vans and the customization is endless. The most sought after of camper vans is the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, many companies have used the vehicles base and upgraded it for every kind of outdoor adventurer. This luxury van will cost you no less than $80,000 used and upto $250,000 new. Most Sprinters are outfitted with multi functional seating, toilets and high roofs for maximum headspace. The price is high, but for those who are selling their lives and packing up, why not invest in your traveling home?
Interested to choose a spacious finished van but don’t need the Luxury price tag?
Head over to the Dodge website and check out their Promaster series. These high roof vans also have toilets and other essentials, with a slightly lower price tag of $40,000 used and upto $150,000 new. The large gap in cost directly relates to the features you want in your van. The higher end models come with leather seats, Off-road stabilization, roof racks and many optional upgrades. If you are ready to take the plunge into Van life, but need all of your creature comforts and want a van that is ready to drive off the lot
Van is purchased, but how do I get it legally road ready?
Purchased your van and ready to go? We are cheering you on! Just be sure you have all of your bases covered and boxes checked. One box that can cause confusion for many, is van/car insurance. Like a commuter vehicle, a van needs to be insured. Depending on the build or type of van, insurance may vary. You can get an insurance policy for your van easily through any insurance company such as State Farm, Progressive, or Geico. However, basic car insurance is not going to cover all of the materials and personal belongings that could be damaged if an accident or break in were to occur. To cover your van for its contents ( appliances, Build, personal belongings) you will want to inquire about Specialized RV insurance. Under Specialized Rv Insurance your home can be covered when parked for prolonged periods of time as well as at campsites and on the road.
Get out there!
Now that we have covered all of the bases, and you have your pinterest board full of ideas, you can start your dream van purchase. Just remember, take your time, you have the rest of your life to travel! Be mindful of your budget and restrictions, you are hopping in a van to experience the world, you don’t want to get halfway through your trip and realize you underestimated income! Always factor in the soaring gas prices, campsites and food among other miscellaneous things. Do your research, check out other blogs, rv/van websites and find what is realistic for you. Have fun and remember, soon you will be on the road chasing sunsets!