Affordable Camper Vans for Families: What to Look for

Affordable Camper Vans with mother and son sat on bed

Affordable Camper Vans for Families: What to Look for

Buy or Sell Campers

Buy or Sell Campers

6 May 2023

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Hey, friends! Are you ready to hit the road for an unforgettable family roadtrip? If you’re tempted and you’re wondering about how to find affordable camper vans, this blog is for you!

Get the low-down on what to look for, the types of affordable camper vans that are best for families, family-friendly layouts, and where to find a camper van that fits your family dynamic and budget.

Tips for Finding Affordable Camper Vans for Your Family Adventures


1. What are Affordable Camper Vans?

2. Why Should You Consider a Camper Van for Your Family Adventures?

3. What to Look for in an Affordable Camper Van

  • Size and Space
  • Amenities
  • Engine and Mileage
  • Maintenance and Repairs
  • Resale Value

4. Best Affordable Camper Vans for Families

5. How to Find Affordable Camper Vans

  • Online Marketplaces
  • RV Shows
  • Dealerships
  • Private Sellers

6. Tips for Negotiating the Price of a Camper Van

  • Research the Market Value
  • Point Out any Flaws or Repairs Needed
  • Be Willing to Walk Away
  • Consider Financing Options

7. Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Camper Van

  • Pros
  • Cons

8. Pros and Cons of Buying a New Camper Van

  • Pros
  • Cons

9. Key Takeaways

10. FAQs


🚐  What are Affordable Camper Vans?

Affordable camper vans are typically smaller and less expensive than traditional RVs but still provide a comfortable and convenient way to travel and camp. They come in different sizes and configurations, but most have sleeping quarters, a kitchenette, and sometimes a bathroom.

An affordable camper van is a great option for families who want to travel and explore without breaking the bank.


👨‍👩‍👧 Why Should You Consider a Camper Van for Your Family Adventures?

Campervan on the road

Affordable camper vans are a great option for families who want to travel and camp on a budget. They offer the freedom and flexibility to go wherever you want, without having to worry about booking expensive hotels or eating out (in the traditional sense!) Camper vans are also a great way to bond with your family and create lasting memories.

The vanlife trend has been on the rise for several years now, and it’s not just for solo adventurers or couples. More and more families are saying ‘no’ to the traditional home set-up, and hitting the road. Living your best vanlife with your loved ones in tow has become increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why.

For families, vanlife offers a unique opportunity to spend quality time together while discovering new places and creating special memories. It’s a chance to dip out of the daily grind and learn great life skills.

One of the best things about vanlife for families is the flexibility it provides. You can do your own thing, and choose your own path, and go wherever the road takes you. Whether you want to spend a few weeks, several months, or the rest of your days on the road, this is your vanlife.

Another benefit of vanlife for families is the opportunity for personal growth and learning. Living in a van takes a dedication to minimalism – you’ll learn to let go of material possessions – only buying and traveling with things that are meaningful. It also embraces a deeper connection with, and appreciation of, nature.

Overall, the vanlife trend for families is a growing movement that offers a unique and rewarding experience for those willing to take the leap. Whether you’re looking for a short-term adventure or a long-term lifestyle change, vanlife is a great way to bond with your family, explore the world, and generally live your best life!

🛏️ What to Look for in an Affordable Camper Van?

Candid moment of a family at the back of campervan

When looking for an affordable camper van, there are a few things you should consider:

Size and Space

The size of your camper van will depend on your family’s needs and preferences. If you have a large family, you may want to consider a larger van with more sleeping quarters and storage space. On the other hand, if you have a small family, a smaller ‘day van’ may be sufficient. Be sure to check how many beds and seats a van has – it’s not uncommon to see vans that sleep 4, but only seat 3, for example.


Most affordable camper vans come equipped with the basic vanlife must-haves, such as a sink, stove, and refrigerator. However, some may also have a bathroom, shower, and air conditioning. When searching for an affordable camper van, consider which amenities are important to you and your family.

Think about where you will be staying – on campsites? Off grid? If you’re staying on campsites, you may not need a full bathroom set-up. Similarly, if you’re planning on staying off-grid, you may find that an outdoor shower is enough.

When you’re viewing affordable camper vans for your family, check how much water they hold. You might really want a full interior shower so you can all shower each morning. However, the reality is that this will take a lot of water. If you are planning to be off-grid for quite a while? Is there enough water storage for you all? If not…you may need to rethink your set-up.

Engine and Mileage

The engine and mileage figure highly when looking for affordable camper vans. Look for a van with a reliable engine and low mileage – it will last for many years and provide you with a smooth ride for a lifetime of adventures!

If you can’t find low mileage affordable camper vans, we’d recommend opting for a higher mileage camper van, as long as it has been serviced well and cared for. A well-serviced diesel camper van will happily go on for 350,000 miles or more. Sometimes it is better to go for high mileage over a van with low mileage that hasn’t been cared for.

Whichever of the affordable camper vans you settle on, we always recommend having good breakdown cover – especially when you are traveling as a family unit.

Maintenance and Repairs

Maintenance and repairs are a regular part of owning a camper van. When searching for an affordable camper van, allow for the cost of maintenance and repairs. When traveling with little ones on board, you’ll want to make sure you are prepared to handle any issues that may arise.

Resale Value

Finally, consider the resale value of your camper van. While you may not be thinking about selling your camper van right now, that situation might change. It’s important to choose a van that will hold its value over time.

Some van types hold their value better than others – for example, Mercedes Sprinter camper vans will always hold their value better than Ford Transit campers. Howere, Ford Transit campers are more affordable camper vans, so you may get a nicer van for your budget if you opt for a Ford Transit camper.

⭐ Best Affordable Camper Vans for Families

Family at the top of campervan

Photo credit: AFV Van Builds

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Camper Van

The Sprinter is a popular choice for van conversions due to its ample interior space, which makes it an ideal choice for families. Sprinter camper vans are also available in a variety of sizes and configurations, so be sure to do your research and work out which is best for you.

The Sprinter camper van is a solid choice – known for its durability and reliability. However, they are also the highest price, so whether they are ‘affordable’ camper vans is debatable!

Campervan with a woman inside

Photo credit: Ankeney Van Builds

Ford Transit Camper Van

The Ford Transit is another popular choice for families due to its spacious interior and customizable options. It offers plenty of headroom and legroom, making it comfortable for passengers of all sizes. The Transit also comes in various lengths and heights, providing different storage and seating options for families.

Ram ProMaster Camper Van

Photo credit: Appalachian Vans

Ram ProMaster Camper Van

The Ram ProMaster is a versatile van that is great for families due to its high roof and wide body. This allows for plenty of interior space, and the ProMaster can be configured to seat up to five people. It’s also pretty good when it comes to fuel economy, making it a wallet-friendly choice for families on the go.

All of these van types have their own unique features that make them ideal for families. Ultimately, the choice will depend on individual family needs and preferences – it’s often the layout and amenities that make for the best affordable camper vans for families – but any of these options would be a great starting point for families looking to convert a van!

Best Affordable Camper Van Layout for Families

When it comes to choosing a camper van layout for a family, there are loads of great options to consider!

One popular layout is the Murphy bed, which is a bed that folds down from the wall when it’s time to sleep and can be easily stashed away during the day. This is a favourite for families because it maximizes the living space during the day and provides a comfortable sleeping area at night. You’ll need to add bunks for little ones though.

Campervan interior design

Photo credit: Bitterroot Builds (Murphy bed up)

Campervan elevator bed

Photo credit: Bitterroot Builds (Murphy bed down)
A variation of this concept is a ‘bed lift’ or ‘elevator bed’ which can be run manually or off an electronic system.

pop-top camper van

Another popular option is a pop-top camper van. This has a roof that can be lifted up to provide additional headroom and sleeping space – especially beneficial for families who want to maximize the amount of sleeping space in their camper van.

With a pop-top camper van, it’s possible to have a separate sleeping area for parents and children, ensuring everyone gets a good night’s sleep! However, these are not so great in winter, because then insulation becomes an issue. They also lack ‘stealth van’ credentials.

Some other layouts to consider include bunk beds, which can be a great option for families with multiple children, and slide-out beds, which can provide additional floor space during the day.

Finally, rooftop tents are becoming a popular addition to camper vans for families. These tents are mounted on the roof of the van and provide additional sleeping space without taking up valuable interior space. They also offer great views and a unique camping experience.

Overall, the best layout for a family will depend on their specific needs and preferences. It’s important to consider factors like the number of people traveling, the amount of time spent in the van, and the type of activities planned. With so many different camper van layouts available, there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for any family looking to hit the road and experience vanlife together.

🚌 How to Find Affordable Camper Vans?

Now that you know what to look for in affordable camper vans, the next step is to find one that fits your needs, family dynamic and budget. Here are a few ways to find affordable camper vans:

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces such as Buy or Sell Campers, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace are great places to start your search for affordable camper vans. You can browse listings from all over the country and find a van that fits your needs and budget.

RV Shows

Attending an RV show is a great way to see a variety of camper vans in one place. You can talk to dealers, compare prices and features, and even take a test drive. These are worth a look for research purpose, but you may find that these aren’t really affordable camper vans.


Camper van dealerships offer a wide variety of affordable camper vans for sale. While they may be more expensive than buying from a private seller, they often have a wider selection and may offer financing options.

Private Sellers

Buying from a private seller can often be the most affordable option, but it also comes with some risks. Make sure to inspect the van thoroughly and ask for maintenance records before making a purchase.

Negotiating the Price

☑️ Tips for Negotiating the Price of a Camper Van!

Once you’ve found a camper van that you like, it’s time to negotiate the price. Here are a few tips to help you get the best deal:

Research the Market Value

Do some research to find out the market value of the camper van you’re interested in. This will give you give you a good basis for discussions, and give you the confidence to negotiate with the seller.

Point Out any Flaws or Repairs Needed

If you notice any flaws or repairs that need to be made, point them out to the seller. This will give you some leverage when negotiating the price.

Be Willing to Walk Away

If the seller isn’t willing to come down on the price, be prepared to walk away. There are lots of affordable camper vans out there – if you’re willing to do your research – you don’t need to overpay for a van that doesn’t meet your needs.

Consider Financing Options

If you can’t afford to pay for the van upfront, consider financing options. Many dealerships offer financing options, or you can apply for a loan from a bank or credit union.

Used Camper Van: Pros and Cons

Buying a used camper van is a great way to get out on the road – fast – but it also comes with some risks. Here are a few pros and cons to consider:


  • Lower cost: Used camper vans are often much less expensive than new vans.
  • Depreciation: Used affordable camper vans have already gone through the initial depreciation, so their resale value may not decrease as much over time.
  • Variety: There are many used camper vans on the market, so you’ll have a wide variety to choose from.


  • Wear and tear: Used camper vans may have more wear and tear than new vans, which can lead to maintenance and repair issues.
  • Limited warranties: Used camper vans often come with limited warranties or none at all, which means you’ll be responsible for any repairs or maintenance.
  • Unknown history: When buying a used camper van, you may not know the full history of the van, which could lead to hidden issues.

New Camper Van: Pros and Cons

Buying a new camper van can be exciting, but it also comes with some drawbacks. Here are a few pros and cons to consider:


  • Warranty: New camper vans come with a warranty, which means you’ll have some protection against any issues that may arise.
  • Customization: When buying a new camper van, you can often customize it to your specific needs and preferences.
  • No wear and tear: Since the van is new, there is no wear and tear to worry about.


  • Higher cost: New camper vans are often much more expensive than used vans.
  • Depreciation: New camper vans experience significant depreciation in the first few years, which means their resale value may decrease quickly.
  • Limited options: When buying a new camper van, your options may be limited to what the dealership has in stock or what you can order.

📚 Key Takeaways

Finding an affordable camper van for your family can be a great investment that provides you with endless opportunities for adventure and quality family time. The affordability of a camper van means that you can experience the freedom and flexibility of van life without the high cost of traditional vacation accommodations.

By carefully considering your needs and doing your research, you can find the perfect camper van that meets your family’s needs and your budget. With the right preparation and planning, you can embark on memorable family adventures that will create lifelong memories for you and your loved ones.

Don’t let a limited budget hold you back from the joys of van life. Get started on your search for perfect affordable camper vans, today and start exploring the open road with your family!

  • When looking for affordable camper vans, consider your needs, such as size, features, and maintenance requirements.
  • Look for affordable camper vans with good resale value to ensure that you can sell it for a good price if you decide to upgrade or if you need to sell it for any reason.
  • Online marketplaces, RV shows, dealerships, and private sellers are all great places to find affordable camper vans.
  • When negotiating the price of a camper van, research the market value, point out any flaws or repairs needed, be willing to walk away, and consider financing options.
  • When deciding between a used or new camper van, consider the pros and cons of each, such as cost, depreciation, and customization options.


💬 FAQs About Affordable Family Camper Vans


1. Can I finance the purchase of a camper van?

Yes, many dealerships offer financing options, and you can also apply for a loan from a bank or credit union.


2. Is it better to buy a used or new camper van?

It depends on your budget and preferences. Used camper vans are often less expensive, but may come with more wear and tear and limited warranties. New camper vans are more expensive but come with a warranty and the ability to customize.


3. What should I look for when inspecting a used camper van?

When inspecting a used camper van, look for any signs of wear and tear, such as rust, dents, or leaks. Check the engine and transmission, and ask for maintenance records. If you’re checking out affordable camper vans, and you fall for a converted van, be sure to find out its full history before you take the plunge.

What was it used for? Ideally, you are looking for a van that has miles on the clock, but hasn’t been used to carry heavy weights, or to do multiple drop deliveries – these vans are often driven very hard.


4. How much should I expect to pay for an affordable camper van?

The price of a camper van can vary greatly depending on the age, make, model, and condition of the van. However, you can find affordable camper vans for as little as $10,000 to $20,000.


5. How can I ensure that my camper van holds its value over time?

To ensure that your camper van holds its value over time, choose a van with good resale value, keep it well-maintained, and make any necessary repairs in a timely manner.


6. What are some features to look for in a family-friendly camper van?

When looking for a family-friendly camper van, consider features such as bunk beds or convertible seating/sleeping areas, a bathroom with a shower and toilet, and a kitchen with a stove, refrigerator, and sink. You may also want to look for vans with ample storage space for your family’s belongings.


7. How can I prepare my family for van life?

Before embarking on van life, it’s important to prepare your family for the lifestyle change. This can include downsizing your belongings, practicing living in a smaller space, and discussing expectations and routines with your family members. You may also want to research campsites and other van-friendly locations in advance.


8. How often should I perform maintenance on my camper van?

Regular maintenance is important for keeping your camper van in good condition. This can include oil changes, tire rotations, and other routine checks. Check your owner’s manual for specific maintenance recommendations and consider scheduling regular maintenance appointments with a mechanic.


9. Can I travel long distances in a camper van?

Yes, many people use camper vans for long-distance travel. However, it’s important to plan ahead and ensure that your van is equipped with necessary amenities and safety features. You may also want to plan your route and consider the terrain and weather conditions you may encounter.


10. Are there any legal requirements for living in a camper van?

The legal requirements for living in a camper van can vary depending on your location. It’s important to research local laws and regulations related to parking, camping, and waste disposal. You may also want to consider obtaining a special license or permit if required in your area.

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