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If I want to buy a campervan, where do I start??

(34 Posts)
BlubberBlubber Sat 17-Feb-18 22:44:41

Thinking bout buying a campervan, for UK use, maybe taking to Europe. I'm guessing second hand price, but no idea what is a good buy, age, cost, what is needed, the big do's and don'ts. How much is the upkeep and yearly maintanence? Is it a lot of hard work?
Am I crazy?

Sevendown Sat 17-Feb-18 22:49:09

VWs have the name but also the price tag!

BlubberBlubber Sat 17-Feb-18 22:51:49

I'm thinking something a bit bigger, a,though maybe I should look at ferry/eurotunnel prices first.
Although the thought of having to empty the toilet is a bit grim.

deste Sat 17-Feb-18 22:55:16

Make sure it is big enough for you all. Costs are repairs, road tax, MOT , fuel and kitting it out. You have to check it doesn’t leak or have damp, roadworthy tyres and bodywork. The best advice I could give would be to look at eBay for a while to get an idea of what make, what size and quite importantly what layout would you prefer. Also have a budget in mind but dont be surprised if you have to up it to get something decent.

deste Sat 17-Feb-18 22:59:41

VW’s are not suitable for families unless you have an awning. Emptying the toilet is not that bad, you put the blue stuff in and it’s liquid blue stuff that comes out, forgotten what it’s called but there is no smell either. The first time is the worst, sites have areas for cleaning out the cassette.

Olga81 Sat 17-Feb-18 23:07:21

Do the sums. I've always had a hankering for a camper van but realistically the initial purchase and upkeep costs cannot be justified for us when you work out the per night cost. Maybe when I retire....

BlubberBlubber Sat 17-Feb-18 23:12:15

Yes, i can't work out how much I should budget per year for MOT, fault fixing, repairs etc. Also how much gas, toilet stuff etc etc will add up to.

wibblywobblyfish Sat 17-Feb-18 23:12:43

The ferry costs will be the least of your worries! Usually about £200 return in August.

We have a motorhome which is 25yrs old. We paid about 12k for it which was a bargain. It costs us £240 a year in tax, about £300 insurance and a MOT, which is never too bad as we only do about 3000 miles a year top in it. I think we normally spend about £250 a year on toll roads in France. You can stay in Aires which are overnight camperstops, they are usually a max of 5euros per night.

runningoutofjuice Sat 17-Feb-18 23:26:49

If you are looking at a family vehicle, check the number of seats with seat belts. E.g. a van advertised as sleeping 2+2 won't necessarily have 4 seatbelts.

BlubberBlubber Sat 17-Feb-18 23:48:55

Thanks for the figures, that's useful.

Icouldbeknitting Sun 18-Feb-18 00:35:27

Damp. I have friends with festival vans and damp is The Issue especially if you are buying second hand.

Dowser Sun 18-Feb-18 00:41:55

Surely damp is just a question of revealing the outside joints..
Shouldn’t be any worse than a car should it?

jenthehen Sun 18-Feb-18 00:48:01

Think about height too, if it's a regular drive it affects where you can park etc

Ilovelearning Sun 18-Feb-18 04:55:15

We were looking at buying a camper van, but couldn't justify the price for a vehicle that would be parked up for a lot of the year, as we didn't want to use it as our main day-to-day vehicle. After considering various options, we have bought an imported Toyota Alphard which has 4 seats in the back that recline to make a bed and have bought a drive away awning. It is the perfect option for us, and we could still have it converted to a motor home if we decide to.

SD1978 Sun 18-Feb-18 05:31:44

Have you considered a pop top? Flat like a trailer and you crank up the roof- sleeps 4-6 and tows eaaily. Cheaper than a camper van

KatyN Sun 18-Feb-18 08:43:02

We hired one before we bought ours. It was expensive (£500 for 3 nights) but we needed to make sure it worked before we invested.
Then the company we hired from told us they sold their summer stock after the rental season so we bought one off them.
We bought a vw but for us it had to be our second car. We have a pop top and 5 seats. Children are 6 and 2. I guess as they get older they might sleep in a tent outside
We spent £20k on the van itself. Running coats are similar to my 10 year old Yaris, except diesel which is £100 a tank.

Silvergran68 Sun 18-Feb-18 09:01:39

If you are near Birmingham the Caravan and Camping Show is on at the NEC this week and has a large selection of motorhomes. Most are new but it will give you an idea of layouts and seating arrangements that are suitable for your family.
Also visit you nearest dealer. You may not buy from them but they usually have a mixture of new and trade-ins. As above it will give you ideas.
Any friends, relations with vans? Again, talk to them about pros and cons.
Scour the motorhome magazines!

BlubberBlubber Sun 18-Feb-18 10:59:29

I thought about a pop up trailer but I’m quite spider phobic and didn’t like the idea of spiders between the bed and big tent. I can get my head around spiders and camper vans more!
The drive away awning and smaller vehicle sounds like an idea.

deste Sun 18-Feb-18 14:47:36

When you book into a site you get hooked up to electricity. You only use your electricity because it is in with the price per night. If you are rough camping (no electricity) you switch to your gas. I think we might be on our second refill in three years. You will only have repairs if you have a van that is older or hasn’t been maintained. The cost per night is for everyone but some sites charge extra for awnings and some charge for dogs. Usually the charge per night is between £20-30 which is a lot cheaper than hotels.

Corcory Sun 18-Feb-18 16:48:24

We have been looking and have decided on a second hand motorhome as we have 2 teens and having used a touring caravan for years we know that trying to make up bed in the pouring rain/blowing a gale in a camper van would be no fun as there would be nowhere for us to all go inside.
We have decided on a design that has a ready made double above the cab and bunks at the back so no need to make up beds every night. There would also be a dinning table which is never taken down so always somewhere to sit.
We are looking at a price of about £15K and an age of around 15 - 18 yr. old for the van.
Auto trader also show campers and motorhomes as does the caravan and motorhome club's classified and may also be quite a good place for info.

deste Sun 18-Feb-18 17:07:41

Corcory, take a look at a Rimor Katamerano, we sold a 2007 one four years ago for £17000. It was immaculate, the exact layout you described. I’m sure you would get a newer one for your budget.

museumum Sun 18-Feb-18 17:12:52

Think about how you’ll use it. We have a campervan the size of a vw but not one. There are only three of us and it’s great but we do use an awning for whole weeks. We mostly use it for weekends and day trips (only take 1-2 whole weeks away each year) we needed it the fit into normal car parks with a height barrier (like at forests and beaches). We didn’t need a toilet (mostly park on sites) but we did want both a fridge and heating. Ours is like camping but easier to set up.

OTOH if you want a real inside space for 4+, shower, toilet, tv... what you want is a motorhome not a campervan.

museumum Sun 18-Feb-18 17:14:46

Actually my absolute top tip 100% is to hire one for a week first. That’s what we did. It’s expensive but totally worth it. We knew exactly what we wanted and didn’t want in ours after a weeks hire.

Corcory Sun 18-Feb-18 17:46:03

Thanks deste will have a look.

I agree with the idea of hiring one. You really don't know the practicalities until you try it.

The other thing I have thought of is the amount of storage there is in it as you need somewhere to put everything away whilst you are using the space for another purpose, if you see what I mean.

BlubberBlubber Sun 18-Feb-18 17:46:11

Thanks that's all useful, I didn't know there was a difference between a campervan and motorhome, complete novice!

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