- Buying van for Alps trip
I’m looking at cutting costs for our trip to the Alps in the summer and am considering buying a van in May/June to drive down and back and selling it in Aug/Sept for (hopefully) not much less than I paid!
Has anyone done this and did it work out? What other costs should I consider other than Van Purchase, Insurance (inc European cover) and Breakdown cover?
If I don’t buy a van then we will be driving down in two cars so the van just needs to be cheaper than that, but it will also mean that two of us can share the driving rather than both having to drive the full way!
Thanks.Posted 4 years agosandwicheaterSubscriber
You’ve covered the basis.
Just think if you have an accident in the van you’ll be stung for the likely annual costs of the insurance, just worth factoring in.
You considered hiring a van? At least insurance/breakdown may be included.
Oh, and I’m jealous. Would very much enjoy an Alps trip this year.Posted 4 years agoMilkieMember
I think, Tolls are slightly higher in a van. I would definitely have European breakdown cover. Get it just before you go and cancel it when you get back. I would also get the Sanef Toll Tag, saved us a few queues and the look on some peoples faces when they are overtaking you for the 3rd/4th time! 😉Posted 4 years ago
Can easily do 4 people and 4 bikes in a decent sized car
What do you class as a decent sized car?
There are 4 of us (3 are over 6″) and we decided that my 3series estate wasn’t big enough for 4 +4 bikes and the cost of getting tow bar plus bike carrier was too high compared with just taking a second car!Posted 4 years agojambalayaSubscriber
You could get 4 adults and bikes in a people mover (Galaxy/Sharan etc). We had 4 large adults in A6 12hrs to Marseilles in comfort but admittedly with only normal luggage. Also most vans are a squash for 4 people.
Why don’t you take one car with the bikes and big luggage and 2 of you fly. You can switch round for way back if you wish.Posted 4 years ago
We did it in a Mondeo estate. We bought a £45 cycle carrier from Halfords, and put 2 bikes on that (minus wheels) and 2 bikes and wheels in the boot, kit bags on top of the bikes and a few bits on the centre of the rear seat between the passengers. We all swapped driving and front passenger places, every couple of hours and it was fine. It’s the Alps at the end of the day, not really that far.Posted 4 years ago
Don’t get lumbered with a van, especially as you’ll need to have rear seats and belts in it, or get one with a crew cab to take 4 people.poonpriceMember
We did Midlands to Morzine in a hired T5 Minibus, removed the back row of seats to store 4 bikes and all luggage, food and beer supplies etc… Plently big enough and comfy with decent economy. I don’t think tolls were any more than cars but the tunnel was a couple of quid more.
Also done Midlands to Les Arcs in a Nissan Navara, not as comfy as T5 but enough room.Posted 4 years agolegendMember
Perhaps for bigger vans, but my T5 was always the same toll cost as a car. It surprised me as I assumed it would be more as it is over 2m tall (about 207cm with Aufstelldach)
We had no trouble with our Vito either, just used the auto barriers with no problems at all.
For purely hauling stuff vans are much better and more secure (no kit in sight) than people carriers. Just throw stuff in, lash it down if you need to, and go. No nice interior fabrics or windows to be concerned aboutPosted 4 years ago
tolls are higher for Med High Transits, not for the low roof, tunnel was no different to a car.
Comfort? If the van has aircon a much nice place than a car for a 10hr drive.
Slower? not by much limit is reasonably enforced and the van will sit at a steady 75/80mph easy (except on the monster hill maybe)
There are 2 kinds of people who give advice on driving vans those who think they know and those who have done 1000’s of miles in them.Posted 4 years ago
IIRC the ferry/tunnel tolls for a van are significantlly higher than for a people carrier.
Ferry same, tunnel same, tolls slightly higher for a high sided van (so mostly wrong there
Kombi Vans have a bit of a price premium and in most cases van insurance is more expensive than for an MPV.
Wrong again, all you have to do is look and you can insure a van for less than an estate car.
Do you own a van?Posted 4 years agoNickSubscriber
I’d be looking at something like a Vauxhall Vivaro crew cab, LWB, plenty of room for 4 bikes, people, gear etc. Pretty good economy (40mpg) and good value, a mate has one that takes us all over the place and it’s very confortable, plenty fast enough etc.
Plus all the bikes are out of sight, not hanging off the back of a car attracting atention….. A theft or accident that loses a bike or two would really quickly offset the cost of tolls or the eurotunnel…Posted 4 years agochakapingSubscriber
is that because they are the stupid VW things with a lifestyle tax on them
Not arguing with that, but I presume he meant crew cab vans in general.
I’d be looking at something like a Vauxhall Vivaro crew cab, LWB, plenty of room for 4 bikes, people, gear etc.
Even the SWB would do you (I own one) and took three bikes and a ton of stuff to the Alps last year.
However they do cost around £1k-plus extra compared to the equivalent normal version. I’m not sure you’d find anything under £3k. Or anything decent under £5k.
Did the OP mention a budget?Posted 4 years ago
Did the OP mention a budget?
No I didn’t, but that was going to be my next question, how much do I realistically need to spend in order to get a van that will do the 2000 miles without breaking down (I appreciate that any van could breakdown, but how much to reduce the odds)? Also wheres the best place to buy and does anyone have any tips for reducing the depreciation over a couple of weeks? TaPosted 4 years ago
No I didn’t, but that was going to be my next question, how much do I realistically need to spend in order to get a van that will do the 2000 miles without breaking down
I spent £2500 private for a LWB transit, 9 years old and 150k with body work love 🙂 nothing needed doing in the first 10k miles – well nothing you couldn’t ignore.
Look for good rubber, no leaks and working sensors.
6 years on nearer 225k I sold it for £750. The market is there for something of the right age/miles if you have the time and money to hold it till it sells then you will be fine.Posted 4 years ago
Sounds like you’re fixed on the idea, but I still think you’re nuts if you’ll forgive me. You’re making life complicated, to save a negligible amount of money (if it doesn’t cost you a fortune that is), and opening yourself up to a whole load of shite if the van is a wrongun, or doesn’t sell for ages, breaks down etc etc.
2 cars, steady driving etc FTW.
Where do you propose to sit 4 adults in this van?Posted 4 years ago
Sounds like you’re fixed on the idea
No I’ve not, which is the problem. I was hoping to find someone who’d actually done what I’m suggesting in this thread who either says ‘it worked a treat’ or ‘it was a complete nightmare’ which would have helped make my mind up!
I’m starting to agree cbmotorsport 🙄Posted 4 years agogribbleMember
I also have a 3 series estate and know the space is not huge. However, for the sake of cost alone I would live with it and spend the savings on beer.
The racks that sit on the roof rails should happily take all 4 bikes, but you could hang a rack off the back as well, if you preferred. The advantage with the roof option is that it avoids any issues with lights and needing a number plate board.
Get your friends to sing to you when you need to stay awake.Posted 4 years agodeadlydarcyMember
Will your company not insure your mates for the week you’re away? Any employer back when I had company cars would happily insure anybody who was on holidays with me in the car. They’d rather have done that than have me driving the car knackered. Or get your mates to call their insurance companies and get themselves insured to drive your car for a week. Present your employer with said paperwork.
Having said all that…4 blokes, luggage and four bikes in a 3-series tourer is going to be a squeeze.
If you owned a van, then I’d say go for it, but it sounds like you’d be going for a fairly complicated option trying to buy one and resell a few weeks later.Posted 4 years ago
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