If you are in the lucky position where you are toying with the idea of buying a caravan or motorhome, but not sure which one to choose, perhaps our guide might help you somewhat. Either one is an expensive purchase, and you don’t want to buy one or the other and feel like you have made a mistake after you have bought it.
The first thing to consider is what type of camping holiday are you planning to take, as motorhomes and caravans, despite being ideal for campers, tend to suit certain kinds of camping vacations. So once you have decided that, read our tips for whether you should favour a motorhome, or if a caravan would be best suited to you.
Choosing a Caravan
If most of your camping vacations will take place within the UK, and you are planning to visit one campsite for the duration of your holiday, our advice is to choose a caravan. This is because the UK has not really caught up with the US and Europe’s love of motorhomes, and as such, camping facilities for these types of vehicles are still quite rare and uncommon. Whereas camping in the UK is considered to be a national vocation, and there are many camp sites over the UK, you just have to look at the Camping & Caravan Club and the Caravan Club to see.
You should also consider how many people you want to transport and what type of car you have. If you have a fairly gutsy car that will be able to pull a caravan with ease, and you aim to stay within the UK, then this makes an ideal choice. If your only vehicle is a 1.0 Nissan Sunny and you expect that to pull a heavy caravan along the M40, be prepared for some filthy looks in the summer. Your best bet in that case would be to get a motorhome.
Another point to consider is how much living space do you want? A motorhome takes up space with the driving seats in front, but a caravan is all about the space, so if you have a large family, and you will want to stay inside perhaps because of bad weather, then choose a caravan. And the added bonus of a caravan in bad weather of course is that you can easily pack everyone into the car for a trip somewhere, rather than taking the whole motorhome, which might start to feel somewhat of a prison, after a few days inside.
Choosing a Motorhome
If you traveling over in Europe then the motorhome is king, and if you think that you might spend the majority of your trips over the Channel, it is actually worth considering a left hand drive vehicle. You can practise getting used to LHD in the UK as you can compensate for the right-hand or offside blind-spot much more easily. It is quite difficult driving on the ‘wrong side of the road’ for the first time, but if you buy a motorhome with an automatic gearbox, this will take some of the strain from the driving.
One thing to remember with a motorhome is that everything is packed into that space, so you have to choose very carefully between how big you feel comfortable with the vehicle being, so that you can drive it without any problems abroad, and the size inside for your living space.
Motorhomes are far more welcomed in Europe than in the UK, as some camping sites actually turn them away, but over the Channel, there are better facilities for motorhomes, and more sites that accept them. However, don’t forget that with a motorhome you will need to make sure that the vehicle is taxed and insured, and it requires a yearly MOT.
So, if you are staying in the UK and are planning a one stop trip to a campsite then a caravan is your best bet.
If you are more of a wanderer and want to experience Europe and beyond, a motorhome is a more likely choice for you.
However, before you decide, take time off and go to caravan and motorhome shows, get advice from dealers in both, talk to neighbours who have one or the other, and go online to see what everyone else is buying.