List of Ways to Buy a Van RV, Caravan or Motor Home for USA Road Trips

This is a brainstorming page, I am trying to collect all the best ideas on how to buy a vehicle quickly for a USA road trip.

Toyota convert van

I am presently in the Dominican Republic and want to fly to the USA, buy a Van or Motorhome quickly. The faster I buy, the less money I will pay for lodging, when I have the van, I will sleep in it.

It is probably cost effective to rent a car for a day or two until I find a van to buy. One idea is to rent a van, if that is possible, and sleep in the van while I try to buy one, and avoid renting a room.

Note, I checked out the prices to rent a wreck VAN online, it is 79 USD, this is crazy. All in all it appears my best option is to rent a small car with Enterprise for 31 USD per day.

List of ideas of ways of buying a van in the USA.

1. Used car lots, the non buy here, pay here.

2. Used car lots, buy here, pay here.

3. Dealership wholesale auctions

4. Private sale by person

5. Driving around in a neighborhood looking for cars sitting in front of homes for sale by owners.

6. Small for sale by owner papers you buy in conveniences stores, where the owners advertise for free, and the consumer buys.

7. University auctions of surplus vehicles.



10. Newspaper Classifieds

11. Classifieds online


13. Bulletin Boards in Super Markets

14. Used Auto Parts

15. Auto Parts Stores

16. U-haul, try to buy used cargo van.

17. FedEx, or UPS, try to buy used van.

18. Drive around in Industrial areas looking for cargo van parked for sale.




Andy, it seems to me the simple thing for you to do is just stay there until your mom says its a good time to come home, then go there and find a van. If you go o the USA now you will just spend more money and make your life more complicated. TL


In Southern State retirement areas (Desert Hotsprings, CA comes to mind) the entrance roads are lined with used RV dealers - the prices are often quite reasonable). As retiree's lives and circumstances change, for whatever reason many off-load their Campers, RV's and Vans to settle, basically relocate to a sunnier place (hopefuly not Hell ...). Anyway, up North people in the Spring or Summer are looking through used RV lots - most exhibit cracking across their exterior paint: likely they were previously lived in, say in a desert in California or Arizona. They were most likely bought in the south and ferried north for profit. Most RV dealers do this for inventory and in fact I have talked to an independent that would buy a good used RV, live in it while traveling north then sell at a profit, to return and repeat this migration sometimes 2-3 times a year when they can buy low and sell high. Hell, I met a Deadhead that lived in old Bluebird School Buses he´d buy in Auction in the States and drive the trip to southern Mexico or Guatemala several times a year to sell to Chicken Bus companies and again, this was a way to make a living while traveling.

How much you want for the Van in the picture?


It appears that my father's cancer is worst, and it is not a good time to return home for ore than a couple of days. I feel, or suspect that now I have no choice but to buy one in Southern state. But, I am OK, I do not need to force the play, I can take my time and play this out slowly. I never get in a hurry anymore.

island pilgrim

I have bought vehicles from the State of N.C. state surplus. Never lost any money and was always satisfied. I was careful in what I bought. They even have cars left over from week to week, you can buy without going through the auction procedure. Walk in withe the cash and drive away. They have vans, buses, cars, trucks. Prices vary. I always asked, and bid minimum.

Does Indiana have State Surplus sales?

N.C. sells about 30 cars a week at auction.


I do not know if Indiana has surplus, but I would think yes. I need to make a decision on where to enter the USA. The cost to fly to Florida is 230 USA, while Texas, Arizona and California is closer to 400. I must think where to start also, and in a way everything points at Tampa, Florida. Not as expensive as Orlando or Miami, but probably has a lot of extra vans left from retired people to buy. Therefore, I am trying to find the Florida Surpplus sales office...,


Perhaps this is the Elephant in the Room ... fuel costs. AAA has an excellent Online gasoline cost calculator to determine how light your wallet will be by the time you get someplace you´re driving to:

Inputting a 2000 VW Eurovan Camper vehicle, the gas cost from Tampa, FL to Indianapolis, IN (989 mi/1592 km) is $267.91. Then the difference between $400 and $230 is $170 in savings (gas alone). That´s probably a 2 day drive. So, choosing Tampa you could collect each State´s decal from Truckstops for your car window, save $170 and have a 2-Day roadtrip. You do have tools and a workspace up in Indiana, but buying tools, food and lodging in Tampa would likely eat up that extra $170 aviation seat charge. A WASH, or am I missing something?

I don´t want to rain on your parade but it´s just that I hate to do heavy lifting and I think this way. I buy closer to home so I don´t have so tomething carry. Things are Things but I´m just a meat machine. "Your mileage may vary".


I really needed a new engine for my car but all the quotes I was getting were way out of my budget. I looked one evening when I drove past Joliet U-Pull-It’s sign board… I was able to buy a good engine at a great price! I’ll definitely be checking them out again for my spare part needs, plus they have a website! Here’s a link if you’re looking for car parts like I was

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