Overseas travel is a thing of the past right now, but there’s nothing stopping many of us from hitting the open road and going for a drive or epic adventure.
With road trips in mind, take a look at the campervan vs caravan debate and weigh up the option which is right for you.
Campervan vs caravan?
Australia’s endless highways make taking your accommodation with you when you travel a practical option. With a home on wheels, you can stop whenever you like, skip expensive hotel or online reservation fees and linger for as long as it suits you.
Your options if you’d like to see your state or the entire country this way are either a campervan or a caravan.
A campervan (also known as a motorhome) is a self-contained vehicle. Usually, the driver and passengers can sit up front, while the ‘living space’ takes up the back of the vehicle.
Campervans have come a long way since the early days when at the most they had some small cupboards and a foldout bed. Now you can carry up to six people, store your clothes, cook your meals and comfortably sleep a whole family.
A caravan is a separate vehicle which doesn’t have its own engine and has to be towed by your car. These come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from cool vintage models to state-of-the-art homes on wheels complete with wardrobes, bathrooms and gas cooktops.
Why choose one over the other?
There is no 100 per cent answer in the campervan vs caravan debate as the best option will come down to your needs. However, here are some things to consider:
How powerful is your vehicle?
Caravans are heavy and you need a decent-sized vehicle to tow them safely. Speak to your caravan dealer about the tow rating needed to tow your caravan and with your vehicle supplier about your car’s tow rating and maximum tow ball weight. Generally, you will need a decent-sized 4WD to confidently haul a caravan across the country.
If you only have a small car and are considering investing in a mobile home, you may wish to skip the car+caravan setup and choose a campervan instead.
How much do you want to spend?
When it comes to campervan vs caravan, caravans are usually cheaper because they don’t require an engine to run. If you already have a 4WD vehicle which can tow the weight, you’ll generally save money by purchasing a caravan instead of a new campervan.
With that being said, some luxury model caravans can reach a high price. Do your research to see what you can afford and what you will be comfortable in.
What style of adventure suits you?
If you love to pull up somewhere, and then take your car for a 4WD adventure, it makes sense to have a caravan. You can unhitch the van, lock it up and even go on short camping trips in your car if you want to.
With a motorhome, this isn’t possible. However, you could purchase a mini 4WD and tow this vehicle behind your motorhome. You’ll see many setups like this on the open road. The smaller car also comes in handy for popping into the local town and not struggling to find a parking space.
What about set-up time?
There are completely self-contained campervans which don’t require you to do anything but step inside, then there are versions with pop-up tops and extendable sides. Some campervans are also more compact and not suited for much more than sleeping. This means you won’t be so comfortable if it rains during the day.
If you’d rather hit the ground running when you stop, a caravan may be more suitable for you as there is generally not as much set-up and shutdown required (although there are exceptions to this rule).
Where are you headed?
In the campervan vs caravan debate, your destination is worth considering as well.
Caravans work best at caravan parks, where you can hook up to power and water. These are a good option if you have kids, as there will be additional showers and toilets, plus some equipment to play on.
A campervan may work better for ‘off-grid’ travels but of course you will need your own power generator and water supply.
At the end of the day, the campervan vs caravan decision is down to you and your family. However, with travel options being limited in 2020, investing in this type of mobile accommodation is an excellent way to explore your state and enjoy some time away from your hometown.
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Disclaimer: The information above is of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information relates to your particular circumstances. We do not accept responsibility for any loss arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information.