HomeBuying a MotorhomeBuy your 3rd Motorhome 1st

Buy your 3rd Motorhome 1st

At MotorhomeFun we coined a saying, “Buy your third van first”. This is harder to do than you might think. Let me try and outline what happens most of the time.

Van One.

They say you never forget your first. (No matter how hard you try!)
So many people purchase their first van on a whim. Say you are passing a dealership on a Sunday and just pull in to look. (So dangerous!) Or you overtake a van on the motorway, through a window, see cheerful kids at a table playing cards. You get chatting about how nice it might be to own one. At this stage, all motorhomes look more or less the same to you both inside and out. Full of excitement, you head off to your local dealer and buy your dream van, which is likely one of the first vans you see. That is likely to be the same van the dealer wants to get rid of!

Van Two. This is the ONE! (Oh No It Isn’t)

The excitement wears off a little, and it’s not working out. One big thing is annoying you. Maybe the van is too big and just too hard to park. Or you really hate the way your feet don’t touch the ground when you’re sitting on the loo. The shower is too small, or maybe there is nowhere to store a coat. You might hate the sleeping arrangements, which could mean you hate making a bed up every night, or climbing over your partner to get out for a pee.

This big thing is bugging you badly. Back at the dealers, you see a van that addresses this big issue. Look at this! You can sit on the loo without your feet dangling like a three-year-old. Or, that drop-down bed is just so much easier than the pain of making one up every night. No matter what the cost to change, you do it. Your new van is perfect.

Van Three. Perfection (hopefully)

However, after a little while, you realise your second van isn’t perfect either. By Now you are seeing a lot of vans on campsites; you go to motorhome shows to buy accessories and look inside lots of motorhomes. Suddenly, those motorhomes that once all looked the same, now all look very different. You begin to notice large and subtle differences.

Some vans are not as good as yours in some respects, but look where they have the dinette in this van. Look at that garage. I love the way they’ve done this kitchen storage. It’s so much better than ours. That Island bed would be lovely. I prefer our dinette, but ooh, look at that full size fridge.Then, one day when you are least expecting it, it happens. All the good little things you’ve seen in all those vans, you see again; in just one van and you just have to have it. Van 3 and you’re happy.

Does it always take three goes

No, some lucky fellows will be happy with their first van, plenty with their second. But unfortunately most of us won’t be happy till we have bought our third. Spare a thought for those poor souls looking to get it right and now on their 5th or 6th, there are a lot of them out there. The cost of changing motorhomes quickly can be horrendous, with massive losses and a lot of heartache. Don’t let this be you.

Research Research Research

If you are going to buy your third motorhome first, you’ll need to do plenty of research. Our forum is perfect for this. It’s no good asking the dealer how comfy that over-cab bed is; he’ll have no idea. However, unlike most dealers, members know the truth, ask them the question, and they’ll tell you straight.

Is the dinette comfortable enough to watch a night’s TV on it? How easy is it for a six footer in that shower? Do you tire of making that bed up every night? Where do you keep your saucepans? Is their any room for a bin? Is that engine under-powered?

Go to shows, visit big dealers. Sit in lots and lots of vans, make up the beds, lay on them, sit on the loo, stretch out on the sofa. We have a form you can download to make your research easier. Subscribers can download it here.

Buying a van is a big decision, lots of money and time at stake. Don’t rush in, take plenty of notes, talk to others; ask plenty of questions on the forums and buy that third van first.


I knew a couple who took a month over two years to find their perfect van. They narrowed it down to a couple of vans in the first year, then spent over a year tracking down the exact model they wanted at the price they could afford. They got it and were thrilled. Within 3 months of ownership, one of them took very ill and died shortly afterwards. In their perfect van, they had managed two trips.

I’m sure they found their hunt for the perfect motorhome quite exciting, but I’m equally sure that sadly, they missed out on some lovely adventures together. So yes, buy that third van first, but don’t waste too much of your life finding it. You can have wonderful adventures in a van, even if your legs do dangle when you sit on the loo.


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