The open road is a powerful lure for many, hence why so many are deciding to buy new caravans and reap the benefits of freedom of travel and more affordable holidaying. Those new to the world of caravanning however can find the sheer range of caravans on the market confusing. Deciding upon which features to opt for, what size of caravan you will need and also the layout are only some of the considerations to be made when looking at new caravans. Hopefully this brief guide will help those newcomers to make the best choice.
Your first consideration when looking at new caravans is the weight that you will be able to tow. Of prime importance is to understand the maximum towing weight of your car and how this maximum load relates directly to safe towing. The reason this is so important is because ultimately you want to reach your destination safely; there is little point in heading out on holiday and crashing the outfit before you arrive at your destination. The best place to find this information is in the handbook for your car. Thankfully however there are many websites dedicated to this issue giving new caravanners a simple resource that allows them to evaluate the safety of their outfit. By entering your car model these services will produce a list of suitable caravans that you will be able to tow safely.
Shape is another major factor when looking at new caravans. Older caravans tend to be squarer and are usually cheaper; however being square the drag they create can be a problem. Increased drag means you outfit will be more unstable and the fuel efficiency for your journey will be largely diminished. New models however are increasingly being designed with streamlining in mind meaning that you will use less fuel on your journeys, but the initial outlay will be greater. For those who want to avoid as much drag as possible collapsible caravans are an option; while you may have to sacrifice on space, towing a collapsible is far easier.
Once you have decided on shape you should also consider the length of any new caravans you intend to buy. Longer caravans will definitely offer more space and luxury but for those newcomers manoeuvring these leviathans of the road can be difficult. If space is a major concern but you are worried about parking and driving an excessively long outfit an awning can be deemed a perfect solution. By using an awning you not only decrease the cost of the caravan by being able to buy smaller, but you can also negate road restrictions and higher ferry charges.
Any new caravan is fundamentally an investment, not in financial terms but in terms of the years of holidaying pleasure. It is likely that a caravan will last on average around ten years before it needs to be replaced; this figure however is dependent upon the maintenance of the outfit. Caravans are an expensive item to purchase; understandably it is advisable to take good care of this home from home. Most caravanners undertake an annual maintenance check at the beginning of the holiday period to make sure that the outfit is road worthy and generally habitable. In addition every now and again most owners take their outfits to a professional garage that specialises in caravan maintenance. By doing this you may even be able to increase the outfit's lifespan.
This guide has hopefully given newcomers an idea of some of the issues to consider before purchasing a caravan. It is no way an all encompassing list however; by using this information and the many forums on the internet it should be possible to find the perfect outfit for your holidaying needs, giving great holidays for years to come.
Caravanning expert Thomas Pretty looks into the fundamental considerations when looking at new caravans.