Loads of questions

Hey everybody,
Me and my boyfriend have decided to leave this crazy world to go adventuring in a van. Despite our research, there are a few questions that we just can’t find the answer to and we’re hoping maybe somebody can help us out. By the way, my boyfriend is French with a French drivers license, I’m Irish and we’re currently living in Ireland. However we need a left hand drive van as we will be traveling in Europe.

So here’s are questions:

  1. What would be the best size van considering we are two and also have a big dog living with us and we want a fixed bed, a kitchen and a bathroom?
  2. What type of model would you recommend ?
  3. I know that for a car 200.000 km is fairly big mileage. Is it the same for a van?
  4. We’re finding it impossible to find a left hand drive van in Ireland. Considering we’re probably going to have to buy the van either elsewhere in the EU or in the UK, what’s the easiest way to transport the vehicule back to Ireland? Is it possible to get a short term insurance to drive the van back to Ireland or is it easier to go through a transport company?
  5. For talk’s sake, we buy a belgian van and my boyfriend who is french (so with a french driver’s license) will be insuring the car. We live in Ireland. Therefore should the van be insured in France, Ireland or Belgium?
  6. Because we have to buy the van outside of Ireland it’s complicated for us to view the vans that we’re intersted in. Are there any companies that offer this service for us?

Thanks for your help and will see you on the road :wink:

Greetings & Welcome!

I can’t answer everything, but I can answer a couple…

Anything newer than 30 years old, yes 200k km is pushing your luck unless it has been maintained properly, and possibly a new/rebuilt engine etc.

A van is going to be small & cramped with 2 people, not to mention a big dog. There is also a good possibility that an older motorhome could be cheaper than building your own, and move in ready too.

If you’re determined to build your own, a small bus, box truck, or step van would probably be a better choice than a van.

Van dwelling is a generic term for nomads, so your choice of vehicle doesn’t disqualify you for being a van dweller, or associating with us. All are welcome here.


"Never gamble more than you can afford to lose." ~ Dare2Dream

I usually look for used cars in https://www.mobile.de/?lang=en You can specify which country vehicles you want to see.

You can find both motorhomes and factory built camper vans, with some luck you could find one that has low mileage (stayed in camp grounds instead of travelling) but still older = cheaper in price. I don’t know any site that would specialize in self built vans though.

While a bigger vehicle gives you better living conditions, it will limit your access to old cities (not just emissions limits but sheer size could be an issue) and ferries etc. might be more expensive. My coworker drove thru London in order to reach ferry in time and the bill he was mailed afterwards was pretty high (cars that don’t meet emissions are supposed to pay beforehand if they enter restricted areas there).

I think a “best bet” would be (search term: partly integrated) that has a fixed bed in the rear etc. This is an example https://suchen.mobile.de/fahrzeuge/details.html?id=326596993 (I don’t want to know what has happened in that bed with those stains). I think around year 2003-2005 the interior of those gets nicer in general but also prices are higher.

Alcove are models with an extra bed on top of the cabin. While it gives extra space, it also is bad for fuel efficiency if you travel a lot. Other than that, they are pretty similar to partly integrated models.

Fully integrated or just integrated is like a caravan with a driver’s seat. Large. Best room, probably worst fuel effiency… mostly suited for staying in camp grounds.

Apparently “Van” in mobile.de includes both factory made campers and self built campers in a van chassis. So that is a search option too. They are smaller inside but also outside which gives more maneuverability and better fuel efficiency.

Few years ago I bought a car I found in mobile.de. I contacted a local person who specializes in importing cars. He arranged everything, emailed me documents to sign etc. I paid directly to the car dealer, then a car transport picked it up and brought to Finland. The whole process took about three weeks and cost me €1600. Usually he would travel to germany and check the car in person but this time it was not possible so I took a chance (also it was a bit cheaper for me). So yea, they do exist :slight_smile:

Regarding insurance, your best bet is just to call insurance companies and ask about their policies and pricing. I’m pretty sure you need to have a permanent address in the country you register and insure the vehicle in, it could be your parent/sibling/friend’s address. Then you probably still need a green card that proves your insurance is valid outside that country, I’m not sure if that is mandatory anymore but it should help a lot if an accident happens.