Things To Think About Before Buying A Caravan

Where do I start?

So, you are new to caravanning and searching for an RV. You may be looking to buy a caravan, motorhome, 5th wheeler, camper van, slide-on camper or camper trailer. If this is your first time you will see there are so many types, makes and sizes of RV’s, so where does one start? The first step is to ask yourself some questions about what you see as your individual needs. Other people get so involved in their own type of motor home, caravan, 5th wheeler, camper van, slide-on camper or camper trailer as it suits their needs, and often try to influence you with their choice. But really the choice is up to you. Sure, you can listen to experienced ‘grey nomads’ and take in what they say but it must suit your circumstances and lifestyle, so the choice really is yours.

Questions to ask yourself ?

  • Do I think most of my travel will be on bitumen and staying in caravan parks with ready access to power and water ?
  • Do I have children who may also need bunks for sleeping ?
  • Do I intend to live in the recreational vehicle full time ?
  • If not, do I have adequate storage space available at home to leave the motor home, caravan, slide-on camper or camper trailer or will I have to pay for storage costs ?
  • Do I want to camp in the bush or in out of the way places and need to have my own source of power and water ? Perhaps an all terrain vehicle or off road caravan or
  • slide-on camper or camper trailer is best.
    Will ‘size’ really matter ? Not just for accommodation usage, towing or storage but the terrain to be travelled.
  • Is safety an issue or concern for you ? Perhaps a motorhome or camper van with easy access to the cab is best.
  • What type of creature comforts do I want/need included ?
  • Do I need it plugged into power whilst not in use to maintain the state of charge of batteries ?
  • Will I buy second hand, new or have it built to my specifications and needs ?
  • If choosing a motorhome – do I need a special licence to drive See – motorhomes page
  • What is my budget?

What type of recreational vehicle best suits me?

  • Do I want a caravan ?
  • Do I want a motorhome and, if so, how many berths ?
  • Do I want a 5th wheeler?
  • Do I want a camper trailer ?
  • Do I want a camper van?
  • Do I want a slide-on/tray-on camper?

Once you have decided on the type of recreational vehicle that suits your needs, you will then need to consider more specific details ie. layout, single beds or double, single axle or tandem, oven, microwave, how many hatches, internal shower, etc.

Do you want a rear or front kitchen in your RV ? Keep in mind it has been known for the rear of vans to bounce around a little, so a kitchen at the rear of the RV might see some of your saucepans or pantry items moving around or falling over during transit.

What is the best bed an Island or east/west? Both have their advantages and disadvantages. A bed against a wall however whilst creating much needed space, may become a nuisance should one person need to climb over the other to visit the toilet in the middle of the night.

Converting the dinette into a bed for occasional use is fine, but on a regular basis it can become a bit of a chore.

Give some careful planning to kitchen benches and the placement of fridges and appliances. Although most caravanners spend a lot of time outdoors, there will be those days where the weather forces you to spend some time inside, and your planning will pay off.

So, given what you want to do (tour the highway, get bogged in the desert, take the kids on holidays to your paradise location annually, etc) and given the towing capacity of your tow vehicle, you should be able to work out the style, size and features perfect for you and your family.

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