Are you considering buying a caravan? It’s a great way to travel – you get all the comforts of home in the great outdoors!
But before you go too far down the wrong road, make sure you do your research first. There are a few key things to consider when buying a new caravan, which can actually make or break your camping trip. You don’t want to go off-roading with a touring caravan!
Here are a few pointers to help you get started with your search.
Understanding the different types of caravans
First things first – you have to decide what type of traveller you’ll be. Will you be going off the beaten path, or do you prefer smooth roads and caravan parks? The answer to this question will help you decide between the three main caravan styles:
- Touring: A touring caravan is designed for well-maintained roads only. They typically weigh less than other caravans which makes them more fuel-efficient and easier to tow.
- Semi off-road: Semi off-road caravans are designed to handle roads with a bit more grit. This means you can reach more remote destinations.
- Full off-road: Full off-road caravans will allow you to travel on all road types and accessible tracks. Note – this does not include water!
Tip: Know what you can tow
Your loaded caravan cannot exceed the capacity of your towing vehicle otherwise you will not be covered by insurance in the event of an accident. Be sure to ask your dealer to help you work out what your vehicle can tow.
Australian made versus imported caravans
Now you can start to consider your caravan make and model. There are hundreds of great caravans on the market, but few foreign companies truly understand the challenges of Australian roads. That’s why we say the best caravans to buy are Australian brands.
It also usually pays to go with a larger manufacturer that can engineer a well-designed and well-built caravan. This means your caravan will be able to stand Australia’s extreme weather and temperatures (rain, hail or shine).
To narrow your search further, make sure you’re only looking at caravans with the RVMAP Accreditation – it’s a sign that the caravan adheres to all the quality and compliance guidelines.
Take a look at this short video to get an understanding of what you should be looking for when buying a new caravan:
Selecting the right internal layout
Finally, you’re ready for the fun part – deciding on your internal layout. You actually have quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to selecting your setup. However, it is recommended that you have your ensuite towards the back of your caravan as it’s the taller bit of the caravan (which will be handy when showering!).
If you want to buy a caravan, it’s important to have an understanding of how many people you’ll be travelling with. An island bed takes up a lot of space, but if you aren’t travelling with many people it could be ideal. If it’s just the two of you, a more compact caravan with an open plan style internal layout may be more suitable. If you have more people, you’ll want to look into caravans with bunks or an annexe.
Depending on where you want your bed, you’ll next decide on a lounge configuration. Cafe Dinette with a Tri-Fold table is the most popular seating option as it can accommodate more people. However, if you’re interested in a more social atmosphere you might opt for a club lounge or L shaped lounge.
Buying a caravan is a big but exciting decision. For more advice, check out our buyers guide. It’s a great overview of how to buy a caravan as it’s packed with advice from fellow caravaners, a glossary of common caravaning terms and checklist to help you find your perfect caravan.