Travel tips

Should You Buy a Camper Van

Last updated 7th June 2017

Family Traveller motoring editor Richard Yarrow gets top tips for buying a camper van or motorhome from Daniel Attwood, managing editor of Motorcaravan Motorhome Monthly magazine (MMM).

1/ Set your budget

Vehicles can start from as little as £3,000 for a second-hand model and go up to £250,000 for a factory-fresh palace on wheels.

 2/ Do your research 

Magazines such as MMM are packed with expert buying advice. Read reviews, visit shows such as The Motorhome & Caravan Show and the Caravan & Camping Show. Talk to other owners, too.

 3/  Check your driving licence 

The category you need to drive a motorhome depends on your age and the vehicle’s maximum authorised mass (MAM). This number will be part of its specification details. To drive an MAM of between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, you need a C1 licence. For more than 7.5 tonnes it’s a C licence. The issue is complicated, but all is explained at 

 4/  Usage 

Decide if it will just be a holiday vehicle or double up as your car. If it’s dual-purpose, consider it as you would a car – look at factors such aseconomy, drivability and practicality.

 5/  Create a checklist 

Make a list of features you must have and what would be nice to have. Small camper vans rarely have a washroom or loo, so make sure you’re OK with this. If not, look at larger vehicles.

 6/  If you need your travel seats…

Make sure you look only at models with ‘Type Approval’ for the UK. This means the vehicle has been built to a set of rigorous regulatory, technical and safety standards.

 7/  Test drive

When you find a model you like, take it for a long test drive to be sure you are comfortable behind the wheel.

 8/  Where are you going to keep it?

Check your driveway is long and wide enough and, if not, consider a caravan storage site. Check the title deeds of your house, too. Some properties, especially newer ones, have a specific clause banning large vehicles from being kept there.

 9/  Value

Unlike cars, these vehicles generally hold their value. It’s not unheard of for a two- or three year- old motorhome to sell for what the original purchaser paid for it. This can make it a great investment, despite the often high initial cost.

 10/  If you buy new…

You’ll get the very latest model and a warranty for peace of mind. Buying secondhand is cheaper and can mean useful extras such as bike racks and satellite TV systems are already fitted.

 11/  Most people pay cash…

Many leisure vehicles are bought by retired people using savings, pension lump sums or equity-release schemes. However, dealer finance is widely available through reputable providers such as Black Horse.

For more information visit, the online home of MMM and Which Motorhome. The website has thousands of vehicles for sale. If you need help with planning your motorhome holiday, check out the Camping and Caravanning Club’s Escorted Tours.