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Buying a Van

When you decide to live the vanlife, your van becomes your entire home. And buying a home is a BIG undertaking. 

You have to consider size, price, amenities, decor, AND mechanics!

The market for RVs and vans has exploded in recent years due to the popularity of vanlife, and there is now a SHOCKING range of options within a HUGE range of price points.

Read on to learn more about:

Amenities you may want to have/add onto your van

Vanlife vehicle options to consider

Price ranges & sites to shop for vans/RVs

Our renovation experience and some tips

How to ship your van overseas

Amenities to Consider

Amenities to Consider

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Comfortable bed

Bedside table & lamp

Blackout curtains

Fan/Airflow apparatus

Storage for clothes/shoes


Mini Fridge

Cabinets for storage

Sink w/running water




Counter & Med Cabinet

Sink w/running water



Heating or furnace

Electric Hookup


Outlets/charging ports



Space for dirty laundry

Roof rack

Bike rack

What are the vanlife options?

What are the vanlife options?

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Buy an RV


  • Fast & easy

  • Lots of amenities included

  • AC/heating/plumbing/electricity all done for you


  • Expensive $$$

  • May need renovations

  • The more amenities, the more to upkeep

Van Conversion


  • Total customization possible

  • Include as many (or as few) amenities as you want

  • Potentially less expensive


  • Can be very difficult

  • Time consuming

  • Scope creep can lead to higher costs

Buy from Current Traveler


  • Can be easy & fast but must stay diligent to find a good fit

  • Can find van in specific country

  • Often cheapest option


  • Paperwork in another country to transfer ownership between foreigners can be challenging

  • May need some renovations

Start Shopping

Start Shopping

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Cost Comparison

*These ranges are merely based on my personal research and vary drastically based on vehicle condition

  • RVs:

    • 70s/80s: $​5K-20K

    • 90s/early 00s: $7K-40K

    • 2005-2015: $30K-200K

    • 2015-2020: $100K-300K

  • Sprinter Van Conversion DIY: $30-60K empty van + $10-40K renos

  • Van conversion companies:$30-150K

  • Vans from other travelers: huge ranges but on avg $5K-$50K

Sites to Shop for Vans & RVs

​Buying From Another Traveler:

  • Be patient & stay diligent!

  • Ask to join Facebook groups like Overlanding the Americas

  • Follow vanlife hashtags and conversion accounts on Instagram

​DIY vs. Van Renovation Companies

Suggested To Dos when Buying

  • If buying an RV, ask for a full overview of every amenity, how to use them, and inspect quality (electric hookup, plumbing, AC/heating, etc)

  • No matter what, get a full mechanical inspection by a trusted mechanic

  • Move FAST! Good vans at good prices go very quickly

  • Do not put any money down before seeing the vehicle in person

  • Don't forget to register your vehicle and get insurance!

Our Van

Our Van 

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Picture of a class B van inside and bedroom


 our van

After researching, we decided a Class B RV would be the best size van for us with the right amount of amenities (bed area, shower, toilet, AC/heating, electricity hookup). We found & bought the van on Craigslist almost a year before we left for our travels. 

Need help with buying a van?

Contact me!

Shipping Your Van Overseas

Shipping your van

Shipping your van/RV overseas can be a very daunting and involved task, not to mention costly. You typically need an agent to help you in the process. 

Finding an Agent for Shipping

There are a few options for finding an agent depending on what ports/countries you're shipping from, but they all come at different costs so I suggest shopping around on Overlander Facebook Groups or straightforward google searches, or this company (but quotes from here were higher for us than local agents we found via facebook groups).

Cost of Shipping

We shipped our van via a container twice (other option is called RORO- Roll On, Roll Off about which you can learn more via the link below to Overlander Shipping).

Shipped our van from Panama to Colombia with a shipping partner & it took 2 weeks: $1,100

Shipped our van from Montevideo to Texas with no shipping partner & it took 4 weeks: $4,000

Prices vary by route, ports, RORO vs container, if you can find someone else to share a container with, etc. but the cheapest route is at least $1,000 and the most expensive could be upwards of $6-8K so plan ahead!

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