Step by step guide to find your perfect campervan

In the beginning you have a dream and maybe just a little idea. Step by step the idea grows and you develop a plan, which means hopefully the ideal campervan will be in your driveway at the end. Unfortunately, usually this does not happen overnight. 

In search of buying a van, which we wanted to convert ourselves, we read through numerous advertisements and sales pages, considered and planned, defined expectations and set requirements. All of this took time and lasted over a period of almost eight months. In order to save you some time we wrote a step by step guide so that you find your right van choice easier. 

After we had decided that we wanted to realize our dream and get our own home on wheels we tentatively started looking through car ads. At first we just tried to get an impression and an overview of all ads and sales pages. Thus, we scrolled through the pages quite disorganized. We familiarized ourselves with offers and came quickly to the point where we realized that all searching and peering is not effective, if it is not at least clear which van it should be in which shape. After all prices and offers for a Volkswagen T3 with Westfalia equipment and a high roof can not be compared with a Volkswagen T4 transporter for example. 

Step 1: Define Requirements - Usage Analysis


At the beginning of the search it is incredibly helpful to define the requirements. Be aware of what you expect in your campervan. What should be the size of your bed? Should a seat and a table be integrated? Do you need a fridge, a gas cooker and a sink? How much storage space do you need? Don’t forget your sport equipments. Should seats still be installed in the rear area or at least be installed if necessary? Which engine would you like? Are you looking for a long or a short wheelbase? With or without high roof / lifting roof / pitch roof? How should the van be admitted at the end - truck, car, camper? Which requirements do you have to fulfill in order to receive the respective approval? You will get information about the admission requirements from your respective TÜV. This might differ from country to country. However, in Germany it is something you should definitely keep in mind.

There is one important tip for everyone over 1.80 m: Consider the height of the van. Unfortunately we noticed a bit too late that with a standard seat height of about 45 cm there is not much space for a seated 1.98 m tall person between the seat and ceiling.




Step 2: Set your budget


Of course the budget is crucial for the right van. In addition to the purchase price it is also necessary to include the costs for registration, insurance, taxes, repairs and conversions. A mechanic gave us the advice not to fall for teaser. Although it is tempting to get a VW van in supposedly good condition for 3,000 EUR or even cheaper.

In reality though one can assume that a Volkswagen T4 like ours costs around 6,000 EUR or even more if it is in good conditions. Thus, even if everything seems to be okay on the outside, it is quite possible that something is not right. Play it safe and have the van checked before buying.

So now that you‘ve defined your budget, the search can begin.




Step 3: Find your Campervan


Of course, we mostly looked around the internet. We searched through the usual portals for car sales (German portals:,, etc.) but we also included Facebook groups and classified ads. Let your friends and family know that you are looking for a van as well. Sometimes this can open up good possibilities and offers.

At the end, we found what we were looking for at a car dealer whom we found on our Google search. This car dealer buys discarded authority vehicles. We had already looked at a few vans and felt like a VW T4 with a long wheelbase might be a good fit to us. Therefore, the T4, which was available at the car dealer, convinced us relatively quickly. The good thing about government vehicles is the regular and high-quality maintenance. That, in combination with the used car warranty when buying from a car dealer and the checking from our friend, who is a mechanic, led to the conclusion to buy the van. It is a former prisoner transport of the JV Detmold, VW T4, 2003, 2.5 liter TDi (AJT), with a long wheelbase and 190.000 km.

As already written the search can be quite tedious and sometimes depressing. But you should not be discouraged even if it does not work in a short time - with a little patience, the right offer will come.  


Quick Checklist

  • Which requirements should be fulfilled?

          How many persons should fit in the van?

          How much room do you need for living and how much storage do you need? 

          Which equipments are essential? Fridge, gas cooker, table...

  • What is your budget? KEEP IN MIND - Insurance, equipment,..
  • Do you use your camper van in your daily life as well ?

If you have any questions or would like to know more about our search and the purchase shoot us an email at We will get back to you ASAP.

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