Caravan or camper trailer? You’ve made the decision to hit the road as a family, you’ve been inspired and started to put some of our full time family travel planning ideas into action – now to start making some big decisions…
What should you travel in? In fact the question has more options than just caravan or camper trailer –
There are 4 main options:
- Camper Trailer
- Bus or Motorhome
Possibly the biggest choice of all is what you will call home while you’re on the road – with so many different options it can easily become overwhelming.
We’re here to help you along your journey – try our fun quiz below to see what could be best suited to your family and travel needs – caravan or camper trailer – or something else! Read on below for all the pros and cons of each.
This is the type of vehicle we see families travelling in the most – and we’ve never seen the same one twice! There are so many options to choose from we definitely recommend getting out to caravan and camping expos and dealers as much as possible before making a decision. You can get basic camper trailers that have some storage inside and fold out much like a tent. At the other end of the scale you can get camper trailers where the beds fold out of each side and are fully equipped with fridge, cooking facilities, TV and lots of storage. When it comes to the caravan or camper trailer question here is how the latter stacks up:
Pros – Easier to tow than a caravan – not as heavy or high | More fuel efficient than a full van | Easier to store and move | More weatherproof than a tent | A lot cheaper than caravans | Can generally find lots of great second hand deals as people upgrade | Easier to explore – can access smaller roads and off route locations than with a full caravan
Cons – Still a relatively long set up and pack down time | Not great in extreme weather | Not completely bug proof | Can’t access kitchen/beds/stuff when packed up – can’t stop for a quick lunch on the road | Not as many facilities as a caravan – especially shower and toilet
If we had the money at the time we decided to head off this is the choice we would have made – although with hindsight I’m glad we have saved our cash for adventures rather than home comforts! We fell in love with a $60k caravan at an expo we visited – but after doing the budget realised that we would have to work for a lot more months to be able to afford the van and the new car we would need to tow it!
Pros – All the creature comforts! | Toilet and shower included | Instant access – no big set up or pack down | Weatherproof in all seasons | Aircon | Lots of storage | Security – you can lock all your gear up if needed |
Cons – Heavy – takes time to get used to towing, turning and parking | Wind resistance can be high when towing a van | Can’t access as many smaller or off road places (unless you buy a high clearance 4wd van) | Expensive outlay | Need a good car with towing capacity | Harder to find great second hand options |
Our favourite! I love being able to pull over anywhere, jump out of our seats and have everything at our fingertips. When we go to the beach all our gear is packed in the back so we never forget anything or have to carry loads of stuff in the car. For the first leg of our journey we towed a trailer to move some things to family down south. One time we had a flat tyre on our trailer and had to wait for help – we were stuck on the side of the road for a couple of hours in the outback – but it was no bother as we sat on the bed and played games, read books and watched DVDs with the boys. As the boys are still young (our youngest was 20 months when we set off) it has been great being able to put him down for a nap in his bed wherever we are. Love our bus!
Pros – Cheaper to start up – no car required – ours cost $14k | No set up or pack down | Comfortable – full size beds | Lots of storage | Easy access to food, clothes and stuff | Great for free camping | Weatherproof | Aircon | Can have toilet and shower (we chose not to)|
Cons – We can’t go off road – get bogged easily! | No car to go and explore | Harder to park if we go into the city |
If you’re on a tight budget, plan to do a shorter trip or want to hit the road quickly then a tent might be the right option.
Pros – Easy to afford | packs to a portable size | can sleep big families | Sense of adventure – sleeping under the stars | Cheaper to camp | No towing required – more fuel efficient | Can set up anywhere – beach or bush camping easier |
Cons – Not suitable for extreme or wet weather | Long set up and pack down process | No storage | No creature comforts for longer trips | Less space
One of the best ways to find your ideal home is to get out and look at all the options available. We visited caravan parks in our local area and chatted to families already travelling – who were only too keen to show us their setups and give us loads of advice.
Next week we’ll be going in to detail on how to budget for a lap of Australia – and just how much money you’ll need while you’re on the road.
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