The world of caravanning attracts all manner of travellers looking for the simple pleasures of caravans and the open road. But for those who are new to this world the choice of caravans can be confusing and bamboozling. There so many towing caravans to choose from it is hard to consider and come up with a solution that will suit your needs. With so many factors, here is a brief guide to help those new to caravanning make the right choice and gain years of unbridled holidaying pleasure.
First and foremost a major consideration should be the caravan weight. This is because your car has a limit to the load it can tow. Naturally being new to caravanning you will not realise the importance of this but for you to reach your destination safely, the caravan weight and towing capabilities of your car should be studied extensively. While there are no legal limits to the towing weight and a car's handbook will describe a maximum towing weight this does not necessarily relate to caravan pulling in a safe manner. Overall you should be able to tow new caravans without being a nuisance to other road users.
When looking at caravans it is worth remembering their overall shape. While square caravans may be cheaper to buy new or used, the amount of drag will seriously harm your fuel economy. In today's world of high fuel prices this should be a major concern. New caravans are thankfully incorporating streamlining in their design to increase economy, and also to make them more stable in transit. For those acutely aware of fuel price increases, maybe collapsable caravans could be the perfect solution, this will reduce drag but will also suffer in terms of space compared with other new caravans.
In terms of length caravans vary greatly, while you may be tempted to get the longest new caravan possible, it is worth remembering that as a new caravanner you will have to park the outfit; which can be a troublesome affair. Remember that packing an awning can give you extra space without having to tow a large and lengthy outfit. The money saved by using this method will also be beneficial as all singing; all dancing long caravans can be extremely expensive. A long caravan may also be susceptible to higher ferry charges and road restrictions on some European roads.
Caravans usually come in two axle varieties; single and twin. While it is only the largest caravans that require two axles the maintenance costs of double tyres and rust prevention will be considerable. New caravans are increasingly stable on a single axle and as a result of having only one axle are much easier to manoeuvre whilst on site. The relative ease of parking a single axle model outweigh the benefits of double axles, unless you can reverse with pinpoint precision it is probably worth looking at single axle models exclusively.
It must be remembered that when looking at new caravans it is an investment, but an investment that has a finite lifespan. Whilst it is difficult to estimate how long a caravan will last as people use theirs in different ways, a general rule is around ten years or more. This lifespan however is dependent upon the care and maintenance of the van; an extensive annual check is the minimum that should be undertaken. Checking the seals and any patches of damp are of ultimate importance and should be dealt with immediately. It will probably be worth taking your caravan to a professional who will be able to check in detail; it may cost, but will help to ensure the long life of your caravan.
Hopefully this brief guide has given those who are new to caravanning a better idea of the considerations that must be made before purchasing a new caravan. By following this advice great holidays for you and your family should become a reality.
Caravanning expert Thomas Pretty looks into the considerations that must be made when looking at new caravans.