Maybe it’s your first time to consider buying a secondhand campercar or camper van for travelling. Instead of renting one. And why wouldn’t you? It is definitely cheaper than staying in a backpacker hostel too. We bought a secondhand converted Toyota Estima for our working holiday in New Zealand.
Ever since, we have no regrets to buying our secondhand campercar and here’s why:
Reasons to buy a Secondhand campercar in New Zealand
- Get most of your money back. Or at least some of it. You can’t do that if you rent a vehicle. We plan to sell ours to another generation of backpackers after our working holiday ends.
- The car comes with stuff that you probably need. Especially if it’s already been through one generation of backpackers. Don’t underestimate the necessities like bedding, cooking utensils, laundry detergent, etc. Ours even came with a guitar, a fridge, solar panel and a surfboard. That we don’t know how to use…. >.>”
- A recent WOF certification means the previous owner has fixed the major problems of the car already. More on common vanlife terms in our post, Vanlife in New Zealand- a guide for beginners.
- Save money on accommodation. Powered and unpowered sites are usually less costly than cabins, AirBnBs, backpacker inns, motel or hotel rooms.
- Make use of the many free campsites around the North Island of New Zealand. There are considerably less of these free campsites in South Island though. And it’s even better if you get a certified self-contained vehicle. That leaves you with more options of free or low-cost campsites to choose from.
- The car acts as storage too. Carry all your stuff with you easily. You don’t need to drag all your bags with you every time you visit a new place. It was so easy for us to move from one rental place to the next during our working holiday in New Zealand. Just be sure to lock the car before you go on that long hike!
- Cook on the go – provided you got a car or van with cooking facilities built in. Helps to be certified self-contained too. Morning cuppa, anyone?
- It is incredibly simple to transfer ownership on paper. See our other article here on Starting vanlife in New Zealand for more details.
- Go incognito. The rental cars and vans are very noticeable and practically scream “I’m a tourist” long before you get to your destination. If you buy a car or van that was converted by the first generation of campers, the vehicles tend to look less conspicuous on the outside. There are some parking lots that don’t allow campervans and motorhomes to park. I’m pretty sure they mean the taller vehicles though. We never had a problem with our converted Toyota Estima.
- And lastly, the full experience of van life culture. From buying the car from the owner before, to sleeping and travelling in the car, staying at various campgrounds and eventually selling it to the next generation. You will definitely meet new people and make friends along the way.
Despite all this:
When to not get a Secondhand Campercar
In the long run, it pays to have a Working Holiday Visa or Visitor Visa in New Zealand. This will give you ample time to choose and buy your secondhand campercar. And also to sell off the car before you fly back to your home country.
If we have any regrets in New Zealand, getting a secondhand camper car was not one of them. We were able to travel all over New Zealand and save money by freedom camping (sometimes in some really wonderful places too!). And if you’ve always wanted to try vanlife out, then New Zealand is a great start. The camper community (including locals and tourists) and the government in New Zealand are amazingly supportive of vanlife culture. Just don’t compromise New Zealand’s natural treasures while you are there. Be a responsible camper. =)
Is there something holding you back from buying a secondhand camper car in New Zealand? Leave a comment below.
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