Caravanning has been a popular Australian holiday since the first van was manufactured here in the 1920s. In 2019, 14 million Aussies took up caravanning for the first time.
Are you new to camping and caravanning? Don’t worry; the following tips will help you buy your perfect first caravan.
Choosing your caravan
Caravans come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you opt for a compact camper or something to fit the whole family, there are many options. Firstly, you need to decide if you want a pop-top or a full caravan. The former has a roof that lifts up, creating more space when parked. However, full caravans require less setup and offer more storage.
To determine the type of caravan you should buy, consider your priorities. Do you want lots of storage space? Or would you rather have a caravan that requires the least effort? Alternatively, you might want the cheapest camper on the market. Understanding what you want from your trailer is the best way to choose.
Ultimate 5 caravan buying tips
Buying a caravan for the first time can be intimidating. Whether you’re buying a new or second hand one, how do you know what to look for? Follow our tips to ensure you buy the right camper.
Create a budget
While most caravans cost anywhere between $40,000 to $80,000, Australia’s most expensive caravans might cost more than $250,000. Of course, you don’t need to spend that much—especially as a first-time caravanner. However, even the most affordable caravans can cost a hefty amount.
At the cheaper end, you might find a micro caravan for under $10,000. Consider buying a used caravan if you want a family-sized camper without stretching your budget.
Before you start browsing caravans, create a budget. How much do you want to spend? Remember to factor in ongoing maintenance, gas and electricity, water, and insurance.
Towing capacity is a crucial consideration that many first-time caravanners forget about. You don’t want to spend $60,000 on your new caravan just to find out your car cannot tow it. Depending on the size and weight of your caravan, you might need a high-powered vehicle to tow, especially if your trip requires the car climbing up a hill. Plus, factor in additional the fuel costs of towing.
Check each states’ regulations on towing capacity—for example, NSW only allows towers to drive 110km/h up to a maximum of 4.5 tonnes.
Inspect the caravan
While many people purchase most things online nowadays, you’ll want to physically inspect your caravan, especially if you’re buying a second-hand camper. If this is your first caravan purchase, ask someone who might have more experience to come with you. Prepare a list of questions to ask the seller, and don’t be afraid to bring a torch to check the underside of the caravan.
Some considerations during your inspection:
- Check the caravan’s moisture levels with a damp meter
- Look out for rust underneath
- Make sure the tyres are in excellent condition
It’s always sensible to view more than one caravan. Remember to take pictures of every part of the caravan to compare to others.
Browse caravan dealerships
Don’t immediately settle for the first caravan you see. Even if you end up purchasing it, make sure you look at a few other options first. If you plan to buy second-hand, it’s still a good idea to visit as many car dealerships as possible. Exploring options that are outside of your budget will give you a good idea of what you want from your camper.
You’ll get to know different manufacturers, layouts, and features. See what bed and shower size best suit you and how their storage options differ.
Where will you store it?
Finally, before bringing your new caravan home, you need to consider where you will store it. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have an empty garage or yard space; you may need to keep it in a storage facility. Research their security level and costs to find the best deal.
Caravan holidays offer a fun, enjoyable getaway. If you follow these tips and do your research, you’re set for a lifetime of impromptu holidays with your touring trailer.