Sitting on the Fence: Caravan or RV?

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For many people, the choice between a caravan and motorhome is clear-cut. However, some people may find their needs aren’t as well defined, and the choice comes down to weighing up the pros and cons of each option.

Caravan Pros

  • The key benefit of a caravan over a motorhome is that the towing vehicle can be separated from the caravan. This allows you to explore a new location without the burden of extra weight, size and articulation. This also makes heading into town for supplies much less stressful.
  • Your driving vehicle (when detached) is much smaller than that of a motorhome.
  • When a tow vehicle needs repairs, you can still use the caravan while you wait, and vice versa.
  • Caravans are generally less expensive to purchase than motorhomes, especially where the tow vehicle is not a factor in its purchase. You therefore get more space per dollar.

Caravan Cons

  • A caravan can be more of a target for thieves, especially if separated from the tow vehicle. There are various options available to help eliminate this issue such as a coupling lock or an anti-theft GPS tracking device.
  • They carry on average less than a motorhome so packing and storage needs more consideration.
  • In rough weather or when buffeted by passing trucks, a caravan not fitted with an anti-sway device or ESC system can potentially sway dangerously.

Motorhome Pros

  • A motorhome is a single, rigid vehicle. This makes motorhomes easier to drive for beginners, particularly in bad weather and, save for very large examples, they’re much easier to reverse park.
  • Motorhomes tend to be more comfortable and often have more space than caravans; although converted vans can be relatively compact, at the top end, converted buses can be palatial, especially those with slide-out sides.
  • Many different motor home configurations are available, some making accessing the toughest of terrain possible.
  • If you are towing a caravan or camper behind your tow vehicle, clearly you can’t tow anything else – unless you are a motor home. Touring Australia with your boat in tow is actually a real possibility.

Motorhome Cons

  • The purchase price of a motorhome – and in the case of converted vehicles, the conversion price, can make motorhomes far more expensive than caravans. They can cost as much as a house.
  • Additionally, due to the unique nature of the vehicle, motorhome insurance can be more expensive than that of caravans and typical towing vehicles.
  • If the motorhome’s engine needs repairs, the whole vehicle has to go into the shop, potentially leaving the whole family in a motel.
  • A motorhome is a purpose-built vehicle, unlike a regular towing vehicle; it’s not practical for commuting and shopping day-to-day.

There’s no clear winner, as each option has its fair share of pros and cons. The choice between a caravan and motorhome has to be based on your preferences. Often it will come down to budget and whether or not you must factor the purchase of a towing vehicle into the equation.

If you want the best of both worlds, perhaps you should consider a fifth wheel caravan.




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