The intoxicating mix of feelings when you think of life on the open road with the stars above your head, the absolute freedom to explore as much as you like or as little as you like in every passing mile and a casual carefree lifestyle is something that is experienced by every person contemplating buying his own first caravan! However, not letting these happy feelings distort the rational decision-making process involved in purchasing your palace on wheels is very important.
Things to Know
Buying your first caravan is an important family decision to make. Therefore, sitting down with your family to make decisions about the tours your caravan will make is important, as a model that fits your tours should be selected. Alternatively, you can opt to purchase one of the custom built caravans to suit your needs, style and budget. Here are some of the things to consider before purchasing your caravan.
- Make sure you and your family understands where you want to travel. The outback, country dirt roads or highways are some of your choices.
- Discuss the possible duration of these trips, keeping in mind the seasons suitable for caravan travel in each state, the children’s school holidays, time you and your spouse can get away from work etc.
- Plan the possible routes, keeping in mind on what sort of roads your caravan will travel.
- Be clear whether your family wants to mainly free-camp or just hop from one Caravan Park to the next.
- Be clear about the level of comfort your family requires. A decision has to be made between a built-in shower and toilet and a shower tent and a portable toilet.
- Choose between a caravan and a motorhome.
- Choose between buying a new caravan or a second-hand one.
- Decide what will be your budget.
After making up your mind about these things, however, there are more technical matters to consider and make certain decisions. They are as follows;
- Where should we look to buy?
- How do we pick the best layout, fixtures and fittings?
- What accessories do I need to buy?
- Will my car pull it?
- What can I tow with my license?
- How do we find the best deal?
- Dealer purchase or private purchase?
- What’s the best way to finance my caravan purchase?
- Where should we look for caravan insurance?
Features to Look for When Purchasing an Off-Road Caravan
If your family’s choice of destinations requires you to travel off the beaten track, it is wise to choose an off-road caravan that can withstand the worst road conditions in Australia. As such, you need to ensure that the following features are available in your off-road caravan;
- Basic features (huge battery, solar and water storage)
- Hitch (firm coupling capacity)
- Weightiness of the caravan
- Strong external armour
Prior to purchasing, research your caravan options. Make a short list of possible makes and models and internet research about them. Joining caravan forums and reading reviews, touring caravan parks, camp sites etc. and getting feedback from caravan owners about the vehicle as well as the sort of country you want to travel in also will help you to formulate ideas about your caravan.
List caravan features such as air-conditioning, dining layouts, under-bed storage, number of gas bottles, covering material, type of hitch etc. that are important to you and your family.