How #VanLife is Renewing Interest in Classic VW Vans

We all have that one friend on Instagram who’s living the dream. You know, that friend who’s traveling to exquisite places on a whim, meeting all kinds of awesome people, and posting perfectly stunning pictures with the hashtag #VanLife.

VanLife on IG

An Instagram post by popular van dwellers Emily and Corey

To adopt the same quaint lifestyle, all you need is a classic Volkswagen van and a burning desire to travel. In fact, many people are doing this right now. More and more millennials (and some Gen Xers) are ditching their apartments to embark on their #VanLife journeys. Some even say that #VanLife is the new American dream.

Why #VanLife is on the Rise

  • The invention of WiFi: When WiFi became widespread, digital nomads were born. The van dwellers of the 70s had to do odd jobs to make some cash. Today, van dwellers can work remotely or monetize their #VanLife journey through social media, an attractive option for many.
  • The rise of minimalism and sustainability: Gone are the days when the frugal lifestyle was looked down upon. Now, it’s considered fun, carefree, and even glamorous.
  • Delayed average age of marriage and childbearing: In the United States, the average age of first marriage is 29 for men and 27 for women. It’s a huge jump from the average age forty years ago (24 for men and 22 for women). The median age of childbearing is inching up as well. Because it’s become socially acceptable to wait longer to get married and have kids, millennials figure that they can kick back and have fun in the meantime.
  • Widespread desire to travel and explore: Here’s a popular saying among millennials: “I’d rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff.” Many people in this generation aren’t following the traditional American dream like their parents did. Instead, they’re doing the exact opposite: traveling the country to avoid being tied down to one place. Many millennials turn to #VanLife because it’s an inexpensive way to indulge their travel bug.

Classic VW Vans: The Epitome of #VanLife

When #VanLife comes to mind, many people think of something like this:

VanLife van

You can’t blame them. Classic Volkswagen vans meet the demands of millennials traveling the country. They’re roomy, well-built, and easy to remodel/modify.

With the rise of #VanLife came a massive increase in demand for classic Volkswagen vans. We expect their value to keep going up because there are only so many of these highly coveted vans to go around. We’d love to see Volkswagen bring the classic VW van back; however, today's safety and efficiency regulations would make it challenging for Volkswagen to recreate the classic look. While VW does plan to produce a new electric minibus, it remains to be seen whether they'll be used for #VanLife adventures.

How Much a Classic VW Van Would Cost You These Days

Thinking about trying out #VanLife? We say go for it. The world is your oyster! But now you must be wondering how much you’d have to fork over for your very own quintessential VW van.

The answer? It varies. You can score a great deal and pay only $5K for a vintage VW van (but most likely it’ll need a lot of repairs and upgrades). If you’re in the market for a turn-key VW van, you’re looking at an investment of over $30K.

To get a feel of what kind of VW vans are within your price range, you can check out the following marketplaces:

Buying Tips

  • Don’t buy a van with any exterior rust. It costs a lot of money, sometimes even as much as $30K, to repair rust on the body of a van.
  • Always request a pre-purchase inspection by a reputable mechanic who specializes in VW vans.
  • Before buying a van, head over to CarFax to check its history. You’ll need to get the VIN from the seller first.

Want to read more about #VanLife? Check out our Ultimate #VanLife Preparation, Repair, and Maintenance Guide!