Top 5 tips to buy your first caravan

Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 00:00

You’ve wanted to experience our Great Southern Land without limits for ages now (or maybe on a whim!) So a caravan is a perfect companion to your roaming journey. The whole of Australia becomes your destination. But where do you start? This helpful guide will show you exactly what to look for while buying your first caravan.

1. Can you tow it?

This is the most important factor in buying a caravan. Can your current vehicle tow the caravan you pick? You should know the maximum tow capacity of your car or 4WD so you don’t end up buying something that doesn’t budge out of the driveway. Keep this figure in mind when shopping around. Read types of caravans guide here.

2. Set your budget

Of course, you’ll need to figure out how much you want to spend. If you only have a little to spend, this limits the types of caravans that you can purchase. It’s also worth looking for in-principle approval from a broker or lender so you can bargain with an exact figure in mind.

3. Where do you intend to go, and how often?

Is your caravan essentially a “hotel on the go” or a genuine need for exploring far-flung places? A bigger caravan will require more fuel to tow, for example. If you are staying in well-appointed caravan parks, you may not need so many creature comforts. If you aren’t planning to sleep in your caravan, a foam mattress may do in place of a more comfortable spring mattress.

Also, will you be going off-road with your caravan? This may require a specially rated caravan for these purposes.

4. Attend a caravan and camping show and/or get involved in the caravan community

If you want to meet a LOT of caravan and camping enthusiasts and check out all the latest caravans and campers on the market, get yourself to a caravan and camping show. These types of expo-style events are held in capital cities and major towns regularly. You often see them advertised on television. If you can’t make it to a show, join an online caravan and outdoor lifestyle community forum. You can even try Meetup.com for real-life get togethers. Caravan enthusiasts are friendly, welcoming and always happy giving newcomers’ advice.

5. What’s important to have, what isn’t?

After all the knowledge you’ve gathered, you should be able to make a list of “musts,” “wants” and “don’t needs.” The caravans that have features you can’t live without top the list. Then all you have to do is find caravans that you can tow and fit your budget, so it’s even easier narrowing down “the one.”

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