Caravan, Motorhome or Campervan, which option is right for you?
02nd February 2022
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One of the few (slight) positives to come out of the recent pandemic is the increased interest in UK travel, or “staycations”. With foreign travelling being exceptionally difficult and uncertain many UK residents have begun to embrace holidaying in the UK and with that, there has been a huge interest in buying caravans, motorhomes, and campervans. In fact, sales of new caravans have risen by 47%, and used caravan sales increased by 65%. This increase in sales hasn’t just come from the “typical” caravan owner, the rise in interest has come from many under ’40s and first-time owners as their usual escapes have been out of reach.
So, if you are new to travelling in the UK which type of touring vehicle do you choose? A caravan, motorhome, or campervan?
The answer very much depends on what you want to get out of your staycation. In this blog, we’ll run through the different options available to help you make your mind up.
In 1885, Dr Gordon Stables designed and commissioned the world’s first “leisure” caravan The Wanderer. Made from mahogany and maple wood, this was a horse-drawn caravan measure almost 30 feet in length, and was able to accommodate a bookcase, a china cabinet, and a piano.
Caravans have moved on considerably since then, and tend to be made from wood, fiberglass, or sheet aluminium cladding and insulating foam. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the requirement for an additional vehicle to tow the caravan from place to place.
Traditional caravans are a great option for people who want to travel while taking a piece of home with them, and with thousands of registered caravan sites throughout the UK offering facilities ranging from waterparks to restaurants, and swimming pools to Wi-Fi, a touring caravan can help people access all the amenities people would expect from a foreign holiday.
There are however things to consider before buying a touring caravan.
The average 2-4 birth caravans typically weigh between 800kg and 1300kg, with larger 4 to 6 berth caravans coming in between 1300kg and 1800kg and beyond! This is an important factor to consider when you’re deciding on the right vehicle for you as it will be important to know if your current car has the power to tow a caravan or whether you will need to upgrade in order to get the most out of your purchase.
Caravans aren’t small, they can typically range from anywhere around 3-12 meters long, presenting a problem if you do not have a large space to store them.
Many owners opt to store them with organisations such as CaSSOA (Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association), however these services aren’t free and it’s important to factor in the cost before making your decision.
Manoeuvrability and access
Those new to caravanning may not be surprised that towing a caravan can be challenging for a beginner. Towing such are large vehicle and manoeuvring it through the UK’s small towns and villages may be tricky, in fact, the Caravan and motorhome club offer courses on how to tow caravan’s safely.
Another factor to consider may be the locations you wish to visit. If you are looking to get off the beaten track and explore some of the UK’s more rugged locations, you may find that towing a caravan might not be suitable and you may not be able to reach your chosen destination, and when you get there, there may not be any facilities. Caravan does not usually have running water and needs to be connected to services.
Motorhomes have become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to their all-in-one design. Not to be confused with a campervan, which we’ll come on to later, a motorhome is built on a truck or bus chassis and designed with self-contained living quarters. A campervan is a van equipped as a self-contained travelling home, they are normally smaller and generally, there is no divide between the cab and the living quarters.
One of the major benefits of a motorhome over a caravan is ease. There is no pitching, now towing and they are considered to be easier to drive. They also tend to carry a small amount of water and power so that can be used “off-grid” without the need to hook them up to additional facilities and services.
Again, there are many factors to consider before buying a motorhome.
The main difference between a motorhome and a caravan is clear, one has an engine, the other does not, and with this engine comes associated cost.
Motorhomes need to be maintained just as much as cars and other road-worthy vehicles. This means, servicing, MOT’s, road tax, and insurance, which are usually more expensive than those done on cars. All these things on top of an already expensive vehicle can off-putting, and like a touring caravan, you’ll likely have to pay to store it somewhere, unless you’re lucky enough to have a large property.
While it may seem as though motorhomes offer the ultimate freedom, they can sometimes be limiting.
As the motorhome will likely be your only means of transportation when travelling, it can be a little annoying and challenging to visit small towns and villages and locate parking spaces large enough to accommodate the vehicle. Whereas, if you were travelling with a caravan, you could leave it at your site and nip into a village taking only your car and likely find a parking space much easier.
Depending on the size of the motorhome you chose, and your age, you may need to upgrade your driving license.
In the UK to drive a motorhome with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, you need a category C1 licence, and to drive a motorhome with a MAM of over 7.5 tonnes, you need a category C licence.
Campervans are experiencing somewhat of a revival. Not only has there been a rise in the number of campervans bought (40.9% rise between August 2019 and August 2020), but there has also be a rise in the number of people transforming traditional vans into campervans. There are now many professional companies that offer campervan conversions to create unique and bespoke vehicles.
With their smaller size, campervans are proving a popular option for singletons, couples, and small families who do not need as much space as offered by larger motorhomes and campervans, and they can go almost anywhere. With a campervan, you aren’t tied to caravan parks, and they can access much more remote locations.
They are also perfect for beginners, as there aren’t usually any restrictions on driving licenses to consider and they are easier to drive, however, again there are points to consider.
Being so small means there is not a great deal of space to store a lot of water, so many won’t come with great washing or toilet facilities, and you may need to use a chemical toilet.
Like motorhomes, you’ll still have tax, insure, service, and maintain your campervan but fortunately, the costs to do so are usually lower, but still, need to be done for legal requirements.
Financing your Caravan, Motorhome or Caravan
Whichever option you choose will open the UK ad hopefully the rest of the world!
If you’re looking to finance your new caravan, motorhome or campervan, we can help. We can offer Hire Purchase solutions for your vehicle through a panel of lenders, as well as
Get in touch with our team who can find the best option for you.
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