Buying our van

The story of buying our van – impulsive but ultimately the best thing we could have done.

So we have made the decision to sell our house and travel around the UK and beyond – but before we can do that we need to buy a van and convert it into a campervan!

There are loads of vans on the market (although Brexit and the Pandemic has made finding one in stock and at a reasonable price much harder) and everyone will have their own personal favourite.  That may be based on previous experience, recommendations, size, price or any number of other reasons.

Our research had left us with a choice between the Peugeot Boxer, Citroen Relay or Fiat Ducato. The primary reason for this is the ability to fit a standard double bed in sideways across the back of the van.  This would allow us to use our special mattress in the camper (something that was vital if Nik’s back was going to survive our upcoming adventures).

Having looked across numerous dealers websites and scanned Facebook and eBay we knew that we wanted to buy from a dealer / garage rather than risking a private sale.  That’s not to say that you can’t find lots of great people selling privately, but we knew that we would only have enough money to buy the van once and we wanted the piece of mind that comes with buying from a garage.

So last Saturday we set off into Bristol with the intention of visiting a few garages to see what we might be able to buy within our budget.  Before we go any further I should point out that both me and Nik can be a bit impulsive, particularly when it comes to buying things / booking holidays etc.  So on the morning we set out we both looked at each other and said “We are only going to look today – we are not buying the first van we see!”  So you can guess what happened….

On the way into Bristol I was searching online to see which garages to visit first when I came across a new listing from an independent garage not far from us.  They had just received a 2016 Peugeot Boxer in excellent condition with low mileage (for a van anyway) and at what looked a good price.  As it was on the way we decided to call in and after speaking with the garage owner to confirm our visit (Covid rules and all that) we arrived just after 11am.  By lunchtime we had paid a deposit and secured the van!!

Like I said, we can be impulsive!

Now I now a lot of people are probably thinking that we took a big risk, not shopping around or getting a second opinion on the van, but sometimes you just get a feeling, and after looking around and sitting in the van, we just felt it was the one for us.  It was in very good condition and the garage was paying for it to be serviced and MOT’d as well as putting right any problems that might show up.  Thankfully it passed the MOT with no advisories and a week later we picked up the van and drove it home for the first time!


So we have just sold our house and are now ‘living’ in the van.  We still use my mums house as a base to return to for work or other commitments so we are not full ‘vanlifers’ yet but I am pleased to say that the van is working really well.  It has just had its second service and MOT under our ownership and other than needing some new shock absorbers (I hate those pot holes don’t you…) and a new tyre the van has again passed with flying colours.

I am also pleased to say that despite the impulsiveness of our purchase, it was definitely the right decision to buy the van that morning.  If we had waited even just a few months longer then we would have really struggled to find a van that fit our budget, and certainly not one that was in as good condition as this one.  The disruption that Covid has caused on supply chains means finding a new van anywhere in the UK is almost impossible and second hand vans are selling for 30-40% more than they were a year ago.  Buying when we did we definitely got a good deal.

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