Hello there, I’m new to the vanlife, but I’m trying to make my life a little bit more adventures and I aways wanted to do a road trip and to see where can I move permanently. So I would need some help with buying my first van! I don’t know if it’s better to buy the van and do the inside myself, or actually somebody that knows how to do it, or just to buy a van that it’s already done and good to go? Please help me
Well, the question you asked is very broad, and there’s a TON of factors to consider.
The biggest being, what’s your budget?
Let’s start there!
Well my budget is not too big…I would say around $ 20-25 000
Greetings and Welcome!
That’s a pretty good sized budget.
Since it doesn’t sound like your looking for something permanent, or necessarily in need of stealth, I would recommend a cheap older motorhome. It will be cheaper, and likely more comfortable. Then spend the little extra to stay in nice campgrounds.
Maybe tow a high gas mileage runabout for exploring towns if that’s part of your plan, or put a bicycle or scooter on the back.
You’ll get more for your money in a cheap older motorhome, and you won’t loose much if anything to depreciation if you decide to sell it later. It’'s the time of year the prices for motorhomes start falling too. The price of camper vans doesn’t go down as much in the winter.
If you want comfort in a camper van, a factory made one will almost always win over DIY ones, and cheaper in the long run too. You could blow your full budget on a DIY project only to wind up with something sub standard, and without the amenities you’d enjoy. I would never build a camper van without the bare minimum of a bed, kitchen, bathroom, power, heating, cooling, ventilation, and comfortable seating, dining, work area. Don’t forget windows either, what good is a nice view if you can’t see it from inside. There will be foul weather days when you’ll want to camp out inside, so it better be comfy, or you’ll go nuts.
Thank you Van_Dweller And yes, I think that if I get a ready to go van will be easier, but for now everything I’ve looked I don’t really like… they all have a tv or a microwave and I don’t really use these stuff in my daily life so I don’t really want them in the van as well. That’s why I was considering about making one but as you said it will be more expensive. Can you give me some hint on what brand is best for traveling vans?
Thanks again for responding ️
Well the major brands are going to be Ford, Mercedes, Dodge, freightliner, international, and Nissan. We went with a Ford Transit because of gas milage, affordability, space, and mechanics. We get about 16-23 MPG depending on where we travel, but considering we have a high roof, extended, 350HD that’s pretty good. Also fords are super easy to work on and the parts for the vans are avaliable at most shops and auto parts stores. We bought from a dealer because of Warrenties and they gave us a good price for trade in. Only down side is that we spend $30K just on the van, but you can find used vans for much much cheaper and still get a very reliable van. Honestly in my opinion you should custom build your van becaude it’s completely up to you on what goes in and what doesn’t, no paying for something you know you won’t want or need inside. I’m super happy to help and I’ll be following this thread to continue to pitch in!
Thank you for all the info! And yes, I do prefer to build it myself, the way I want it, but my other problem is that I don’t know anybody that does work like that! Specially for the bathroom and electricity part! Basically all I want is a bed with a nice view, a small bathroom and a small fridge with a little sitting area and maybe a stove…I do eat pretty much raw food so I don’t really need a stove…but maybe for a tea
And thank you for all the help/ advices you are giving me
I wouldn’t worry too much about extra amenities even if you don’t plan on using them yourself, they can make it easier to sell later.
Floorplans on the other hand mean a lot. There are tons of choices available, so find one that is comfortable for you. I prefer a permanent bed and seating area.
Any of the big 3 are probably fine, Dodge, Ford, or Chevy. Personally I think the older Dodges from the 70’s and 80’s are the best driving and the most reliable. For either vans or Class C’s, I like them the best. Many, many choices available, because they were so popular. The Dodge’s also seem to get the best gas mileage of the big 3.
Vans are likely to have many more miles on them than motorhomes. I’ve had several mid 70’s motorhomes that had under 100k miles on them when I got them, and were in immaculate shape, for under $5k. Great maintenance, but only a few trips a year. I put over 200k trouble free miles on one of them, living in it full time.
There are several major brands of factory camper vans, Class B’s they’re called. Roadtrek, Pleasure Way, Coachmen, Chinook, and more. I’ve been in some that felt great, and some that felt very cramped and claustrophobic. Windows help a lot, for both a view and for ventilation.