A personal caravan is a dream of many. Having your own recreational vehicle (RV) has priceless advantages – you can set off whenever you want and not have to be liable to rental company restrictions, and have complete freedom when it comes to the design and accessory fittings. If you love camping and exploring, nothing beats having your own RV to hop in and just go. Plus, you can opt to rent out your campervan to earn some extra cash when it is not in use.
Once you have done your research and are confident your budget can support the maintenance of an RV, comes the fun part: choosing one! We get you started on your RV buying journey by addressing the two big questions: which type, and old or new.
What RV should I choose?
There is a huge variety of caravans on the market, and they range from being small and simple for light drives to luxurious vans with ensuites or heavy-duty wheelers that suit all terrains. The majority of them are self-contained homes with all the creature comforts like showers, toilets and cooking facilities.
Remember, you will have to balance the weight of your caravan with the mass of your tow vehicle. If you own a light vehicle, you may have to compromise on the size of your caravan. As caravans are heavy, be extra mindful about reducing fuel usage when possible by driving slower and understand how prevailing winds impact your towing stability.
Driving a caravan is can be taxing as it requires more concentration. The combination of constant mirror checks to make sure the rig is situated correctly in the lane, making more room for braking and keeping a more attentive eye on surrounding traffic is likely to tire you out faster than driving a regular car.
If a caravan is for you, we recommend signing up for a towing course. You will not only learn how to manoeuvre rough trails, reverse, park and hitch up but also become more familiar with safety and maintenance procedures.
Specially made for camping, campervans feature storage, beds and cooking features. They come in low top and high top varieties, with the former being more budget-friendly and the latter offering adequate space to sit up in bed, stand and walk around comfortably. Whichever you choose, most do not have a toilet or bath features.
People are attracted to a campervan’s flexibility, as it can double as regular transport and used all year round. Hence, it makes a practical choice for those with limited home parking space. They are compact, making them easy to get the hang of driving and parking, but spacious enough for groups of friends, families and couples.
Think of motorhomes as upgraded campervans, with a lot more features and space. Unlike campervans, they have showers and toilets, are able to store water and waste and have dining rooms and sitting areas. This makes them suitable for people who plan to live in their vehicles or take long vacations on the road.
Camper trailers, on the other hand, are like basic campervans. They are towed by a primary vehicle, just like their enhanced counterparts but due to their smaller mass and profile, they are easier to drive, have less wind resistance and can access spaces that a caravan cannot. It seems like a trailer ticks all the practicality boxes with its affordability and efficiency, so why might you choose a campervan? The bottom line is that campervans are more comfortable, and offer more security when it comes to thieves and extreme weather, than camper trailers.
Should I purchase new or second-hand?
A used RV is typically cheaper than a new model, making it an appealing choice for the budget-conscious. If you estimate that you will utilise the RV sporadically, a simple second-hand will probably suffice. No point splurging on extensive features if you see yourself embarking on basic, short trips. On the contrary, should you be planning on living in your RV for an extended period of time, it is a must to be comfortable so do not try to financially restrict yourself too much. If that means getting a new vehicle with additional fittings, make it a priority.
It might also be easier and more cost-friendly to secure a leisure loan for a new RV. An older or vintage specimen that is less expensive at purchase point or aesthetically charming may be more prone to hefty repair fees.