Planning To Buy A Caravan Or A Camper Trailer

Purchasing a new caravan or camper trailer can be a really exciting proposition but there are a number of things that you need to consider as part of your decision making . 
Some of the external factors to think of would be Budget, Accommodation, Storage, Security.

4 Main Decision Making Factors

The main determining factor of course is the BUDGET

Ask yourself if you can genuinely afford this new caravan purchase. After all it's probably the most expensive item you're going to buy after the house. When you're on holidays, the last thing you want to be doing is stressing about how you're going  to be paying for this rather than enjoying the travel.

You have Money To Buy A Caravan & Not a New 4wd

If you can afford to buy a new caravan or camper trailer and not want to spend your money on a 4wd, you need to make sure that the weight of it is within the towing capacity of your existing vehicle.  Do the calculations right before buying so you know that you can legally tow a caravan with your existing vehicle. One final thing to consider is to see if you got the space to store your brand new caravan.

On Road Or Off Road

Confused Between On Road & Off Road Caravan

When purchasing your new caravan or camper trailer is where are you taking your  caravan. Costs can vary based on whether you are planning to stay  the blacktop or are you going to head off road. Even, If you're going to head off road, how adventurous are you going to be and what kind of luxury fittings and technology you need in your caravan.

All these factors will determine the buying price.  There are other costs that comes along after you buy a caravan which many people forget like

Accommodation While Travelling

The best thing about being on holiday is all about being comfortable. So, you must think about what accommodation options you need.  You might be a family traveling with some kids in which case you need a set of buns or you may be a couple or a pair of empty nesters where by having a seating arrangement that turns into a bed might be a great option.  Differentiating between your wants and your needs will be one of the most difficult aspects of purchasing a caravan or a camper. You must justify your decisions because the repercussions will either add weight or reduce storage space. 

The type of travel that you intend to do will heavily influence your definition of needs and wants. If you're doing the occasional weekend trip and probably don't need that full size oven or even a washing machine. However, if you just sold that family home to hit the road full-time, you may want to completely replicate all those modular funds that you just saw here.

Top Mistakes To Avoid When You're Choosing A Caravan Or A Camper Trailer

For total newbies, a common mistake is not to try before you buy. While a modern sophisticated caravan looks an attractive proposition with all the comfort goodies they offer, some people may still not like the caravan or motorhome lifestyle. This  could be for any number of reasons such as living in a tight confined space for long periods or it might be the time because some people consider that very stressful. 
The process of pitching and unhitching could be a hassle and towing can be much less of a smooth journey than in a normal car. 

If you're not convinced about the whole thing, it is an expensive mistake. The best solution is to hire or borrow a caravan for at least a couple of weeks. If you can hire  something similar to what you are considering to buy, that way you are not only get an understanding of  what it takes to travel in a caravan but you'll also pick up a few clues on your likes and dislikes in terms of layout.  This helps make your decisions easier when it is time to buy. 

Another mistake people make is they assume that all caravans, 5th wheelers, camper trailers or even motorhome travel offer the same thing. They are all very different and each RV style is no better than the other. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you like to travel. There are advantages and disadvantages to each style of accommodation and they all allow you to get out there.

How Can You Determine What is Best For You

Do you research by reading, watching videos and importantly talking to other owners of the different styles of touring. Caravans are clearly the most common choice in Australia while 5th wheelers are better suited to larger rigs like those that can tow over three tonne with the pin. On the other hand, motorhomes are a winner for those who don't like to tow or who are constantly on the move. Camper trailers are fantastic for those on a budget or those who simply like more of an outdoor lifestyle. 

Understanding Tow Vehicle Capacity & Caravan Weights

A very common mistake is to not match the tow vehicle and the caravan. You need to understand the relevant tow vehicle and caravan weight ratings such as tear mass, gross vehicle mass, max tow, tow ball mass rating, aggregate trailer mass and gross combined mass. If in doubt, get some good advice from an independent source and not from your vehicle salesman nor the caravan salesman. In addition, just for safety , allow 100 to 200 kilos between the maximum tow mass rating and the actual loaded weight of the trailer. If you make the assumption that towing a caravan is just a little different to driving a car without a trailer you're probably in for a surprise. If anything, caravans have become much heavier in recent years and that changes vehicle handling dynamics considerably. 

Understanding Tow Vehicle Capacity

If you're returning to towing after a long time off , the best thing you can do is to take a caravan towing course.  you may think that it is not a blokey thing to do or you already know it all, but that's really not the case. Make sure, your other half takes the test too because it is really not a good idea to buy something, be at a caravan or motorhome where only the husband is happy or worse even has the license for driving.  Another benefit of sharing the driving is the safety factor that it provides for one person to relax and stay fresh while the other is driving.

Other Things To Consider While Buying A Caravan 

Buying a stolen or written off caravan  can be an absolute heartbreaker. This is a serious  problem with second hand caravans that are rebirthed. Many people think the problem only actually applies to cars and it is more common with caravans than you might think so.

How can you figure out if the caravan is stolen

The first obvious clue is the price. If it looks too good to be true then it probably is.  If there's any doubt,  then just walk away from the deal and in any case you should do a PPSR check and discover any potential problems before paying for your RV.

Get Your Priorities Right

It is very easy to be dazzled by extras like a slide-out barbecue, satellite TV system,  extra solar panels and washing machine while forgetting the less sexy but important essentials like a good set of towing mirrors, weight distribution hitch, wheel chocks, walls for the awning and even the 15 amp power lead.

The solution here is to understand all the essentials of caravanning and not just the goodies. The safety and essential items should be your priority without which any caravan trip would not happen at all.  A lot of people are addicted to buying a super luxury extreme off-road caravan.  This craze for off-road caravans is because of the assumption of the road you are probably going to travel in. But, a lot of those off-road caravans never actually leave the bitumen. Don't get me wrong though ,  off road caravans can take you places and the luxury that you can have in an off-road location is absolutely fantastic. However, if you're not intending on doing that sort of travel there's no need to waste the money on that extra heavy duty caravan.

If you have bought a caravan already and on the move, off road hassles are almost bound to happen for anyone possible. Please have a look at this article on how to recover from some common off road hassles.

Top