72 yo Newbie in Austin Tx

I have been looking at purchasing a used move in ready van for some time. I want to invest relatively inexpensively at first (below $50k) to see how suited I am to full time van life. I plan to travel extensively and in all climates. I want to stay around 19-21’ in length and have hot and cold water, indoor wet bath and Kitchen. I’ll mostly be alone but occasionally have a friend join me on shorter excursions. What make/model would you recommend? Average miles to consider before major repairs become issues (plus I don’t want to get stranded)? What main features should I not go without? Assuming I find a good running van, how much should I budget for general maintenance annually (not including fuel/food)? Finally, I assume repairs are cheaper on American made models and easier to locate mechanics? What is the most cost efficient model to operate? I know I have a lot of questions and appreciate all you can provide to help guide me on my first purchase. Thank you!

Greetings & Welcome!

Cheap, old, Class C’s can be found for under $5k. Many are in excellent condition with low miles and move in ready. I would replace the hoses & belts to start fresh, and the tires if needed. Change the fluids, oil, coolant, etc. Now you know all maintenance is up to date, and it should be much more reliable than any of the newer stuff on the market.

Newer doesn’t always mean better, pre-computerized vehicles have treated me MUCH better than newer ones. More reliable, and better built in general.

I like to start saving money starting with the initial purchase. I’ve put many miles on dirt cheap old motorhomes, that I sold for more than I had in them. A sponge mop with household floor wax can make an old RV look new again quickly & easily.


"Failures are merely a learning oportunity." ~ Rubber Tramp

That’s great advice. Two things come to mind. I want to stay with easy to drive and park. I’m good w smaller spaces so will take your advice but apply it to a Class B.

Second is I am a 72 yo woman with probably more experience than most women (my dad made sure of that) and I know how to watch for things like changing oil and belts and fluids and tires, but the actual labor to do those things are best left to Jiffy Lube and an honest mechanic.


I turned 77 this year… You can get a Class C that will fit in a regular parking space…


"Failures are merely a learning oportunity." ~ Rubber Tramp