There is never too early to think about the summer holidays and plan the places you want to travel to this year. I am already planning to return to Cornwall this summer, for longer than three days, but also to visit Scotland on a long road trip.
I love road trips, there is something special and relaxing about driving on country roads, discovering small villages and remote natural areas where there are no other tourists around. As I plan to explore more of the UK this year, I am also thinking of the high price I am going to pay on accommodation, especially during the summer months. So, an idea came into my mind… how about buying a caravan?
As a first-time caravan buyer without any experience, I asked the expert advice of Ropers Caravans to find out what one should know before making the big purchase.
New or second-hand?
This is a tough question, but, as a first-time buyer, I would personally choose a second-hand caravan, at least for the first couple of seasons. Towing a caravan requires some practice and you wouldn’t want to get a scratch on your brand new acquisition, right? A second-hand caravan will be much cheaper than a new one, taking in consideration that a new caravan will depreciate with around 15% in value from the moment you buy it. If you travel with children on pets, the wear and tear of a second-hand caravan shouldn’t be an issue. Spilling juice on brand new beds however might break your heart a little bit.
Of course, you should buy a second-hand caravan from a dealer and not privately, to avoid any problems that might occur after the purchase.
A new caravan however can be customised to your liking, with luxury fittings such as solar panels, kitchen appliances and even BBQ stations. If you have the budget, just for go for it!
Where to buy your caravan from?
No matter which choice you make, buying a new or a second-hand caravan, you should always go to an authorised dealer. Buying online or on an auction site is very risky because you can’t see if the caravan has any issues. Also, if this is your first caravan purchase, you need a pair of expert eyes to check the caravan in an out, to make sure you are getting a good deal for your money.
Ropers Caravan World, based on Yorkshire, is a family run business operating on the British Market since 1981. They sell top of the range caravans from the market leader Bailey of Bristol but also have a large stock of carefully checked and prepared used caravans. Ropers Caravan World and Bailey of Bristol are experts when it comes to caravans and share the same family values, making them brands you can trust, even if you are a new buyer of have been caravanning for the last 30 years. Trust is very important when you buy your first caravan, as you need advice from experts.
Towing caravan or motorhome?
Depending on your budget, you will have to consider what type of caravan you are after: a motorhome or a classic towing caravan? Generally, a motorhome is going to be more expensive than a caravan and will cost more to maintain. A motorhome is more convenient to use on a long road trip, whilst a caravan is better suited for longer stays in the same area. Whilst you can just park a motorhome, a caravan will need to be unhitched and set up in a holiday park. However, a caravan gives you more freedom when it comes to day trips, as you can just jump in your car and drive around, without needing to tow it with you. On this aspect, is harder to travel around with a motorhome, especially if you plan on visiting smaller villages with tiny parking spaces.
Another thing you should think at when you decide what you want to buy is how many people will be going on holiday with you. A motorhome is great for a single person or a couple, but for a family, a caravan is more convenient, as it is more spacious.
Before settling on buying a caravan, you need to take in consideration what your car can tow. There is no point at looking at a large twin axle caravan when you own a small car with a 1.2 litres engine.
As a general rule, the weight of the caravan can’t exceed 85% of your car’s weight, and, together, can’t be more than 3500 kilograms. If the weight is more than that then you will need to take a category B+E driving test also.
Pick your specifications
Think of what type of holidays you will use your caravan for and decide on which specifications you need, based on your budget. I’m talking about how many beds, shower and toilet, sink, etc. Make a list of the things you can live without and then start to shop around for a caravan. When you buy a new caravan, you have the option to add different things on, besides the starter pack which most dealers include.
Is it a good investment for you?
Buying a caravan is going to be a large financial investment, both initially and in maintenance over the years. How many times a year are you going to use the caravan? If you take a lot of trips in the UK during the year with your family, where you rent holiday homes, buying your own caravan will make sense, as it will save you money in the long run. However, if you only go on holiday two weeks a year, mostly abroad, it’s not really worth investing in a caravan.
When is the best time to buy a caravan?
According to statistics, January and February are the best months to buy a caravan. This is when dealers are trying to clear their current stock before the new models arrive. This is the best time to grab a good deal or discount as well.
How about you? Do you own a caravan? Are you planning on buying one? Do you enjoy caravan holidays? I would love to read your opinions in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post written together with Bailey of Bristol. However, all the opinions in this article are my own and I would not recommend anything that I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself doing or think it was a great place to visit.
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