• Racquel Foran, Publisher

Unexpected Camper Van Expenses

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

It doesn't seem to matter what it is in life, new home purchase, home renovations, vacations, parties, or buying a vehicle, things usually cost more than budgeted, and there are always unexpected expenses.










If you read the post about the hassle (and cost) of registering and insuring a vehicle from out of province in BC, then you already got a taste of our unexpected expenses. That little one week fiasco cost us $4,269, broken down as follows:


Temporary insurance and registration = $292

Preliminary Inspection = $224

Second Inspection = $53

Mechanical repairs = $1,800

PST - $700

Annual Insurance = $1,200


Now admittedly not all of these expenses were unexpected. Of course we knew we would have to pay for insurance, and of course we anticipated some repair costs, but we didn't anticipate having to pay for everything up front, immediately.

Temporary insurance and registration, PST, vehicle inspection, vehicle repairs, vehicle re-inspection, camper safety equipment and tools, and annual insurance and registration are just some of the add-ons we didn't fully account for in advance.

In addition to the above necessary expenses, there were other things we had (or wanted) to purchase. As mentioned we purchased a smoke/CO2 alarm and fire extinguisher. We also bought a toolkit we could leave in the van, an ax and hatchet, flashlights, bungee cords, rope, string, scissors, lighters, matches, and a first aid kit to top of what we considered necessary safety equipment. All in, another $400.


I really do like my creature comforts, and we have no interest in spending all our time hauling stuff back and forth, house to van, so we bought two new pillows and a comforter. And because we really can't start the day without our coffee, our big splurge, a Nespresso Machine. This purchase led to another rather big one, a portable generator. We can operate most things off 12V power in the van, but not a coffee machine. But we also thought having a generator kicking around probably wasn't a bad idea, we are living in 2020 after all, the year of the global pandemic! (click here for our review of the Champion generator we purchased) All in this list of items cost us another $1,500 smackers.


We added two new camp chairs, a portable BBQ, an outdoor carpet, a set of plastic dishes, a set of cutlery, and a few other kitchen utensils, a small garbage can, and some no-slip surface liner to things that would be left permanently in the van. Oops, that was another $500!



So after the initial purchase of our van we dropped another $7,200!!! I can honestly tell you we did not plan for that and find the total a little shocking. Yes, there are definitely things that we did not NEED to buy, but a good $5,000 worth we did. Lesson here, as always, plan to spend at least 20% more than you budgeted for. We expected to come in at about $15,000 all in, but ended up spending $17,300! We'll have to hang out in our driveway to make sure we get our money's worth! #vanventures #vanlife #vanhelen #safetyfirst


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