Picking the right kind of vehicle for yourself or your family and the type of travel you plan to do is key for making the most of your trips away. In this guide, we will cover how they differ, and the benefits of each type of travel van so you can pick what’s right for you and your family.
The words caravan and motorhome can sometimes be used interchangeably, but the two are actually quite different vehicles.
Picking the right kind of vehicle for yourself or your family and the type of travel you plan to do is key for making the most of your trips away. Ensuring you have the right amount of storage and space for your crew is key to a comfortable trip for all.
So, what is the difference? In this guide, we will cover how they differ, and the benefits of each type of travel van so you can pick what’s right for you and your family.
Caravans are usually on a trailer base and are towed by a vehicle as opposed to having a motor. They need to be hitched onto a vehicle that has the capacity to tow safely, otherwise, your vehicle could end up damaged in the process.
Caravans or trailer campers tend to be a more simple way of travelling, with traditional models offering less in the way of on-board facilities such as showers and toilets. Because of this, there are some sites you can’t park in overnight, such as areas where you have to be in a fully self-contained vehicle.
Caravans can be powered or unpowered. Unpowered caravans are better for back-to-nature camping or sites that have great shared facilities available. Powered caravans are more versatile and often more comfortable and easy to operate, offering power for appliances like fridges to run and the comforts of water heating and wifi.
Caravans are typically suited to holidays where you are staying in one spot for longer periods of time, rather than trips where you are planning to move around a lot. They offer the convenience of un-hitching your campervan and ‘setting up camp’ in one spot, while you continue to explore wider areas with your vehicle.
As caravans are hitched to your vehicle, they can be more difficult to drive and manoeuvre. Finding a parking spot for your car and towable camper can be difficult, so quick stops on the way to your destination are not always possible.
Motorhomes or campervans are built on a chassis and are vehicles in their own right.
They can be fully self-contained and powered, with facilities including kitchen, bathroom, sleeping and living quarters. There are many different models available from 2 berth through to 6 berth options, which differ in size and on-board facilities.
Motorhomes are a great get up and go option, with the benefit of it being your home and vehicle in one. You can simply drive onto a site, plug in, then drive away the next day, no pack down or set up necessary.
Motorhomes are best for travellers who want to move around a lot, as you have the flexibility of where you can park up without always needing to book a spot due to their self-contained nature. Motorhomes offer unparalleled flexibility when it comes to choosing your own adventure and are considered by many to be easier to drive and maneuver than caravans.
The answer to this depends on how you like to travel and what facilities you need.
Larger families may want a bit more space, so it’s good to compare sizes and decide what will work for you.
A fully self-contained vehicle like a motorhome gives you complete freedom and flexibility with on board toilets, shower and cooking facilities, so if you prefer not to use shared campground facilities, this is a great option.
Towing a caravan can limit accessibility depending on the type of places you want to stay, and needing to hitch it onto the car whenever you leave is another factor to think about. On the other hand, it can be beneficial to have your standard car with you for unhitching and popping out when needed.
Fun fact: For running errands or exploring, many motorhome owners install bike racks on the back of their vehicles and take bikes or ebikes for convenience. Saves on fuel and is a great way to see the local area.
Here are some of the important factors to consider when choosing between a caravan and a motorhome.
Consider where you would want to stay, and whether you need to be fully self contained. Some freedom camping areas require you to have a fully self-contained certification with onboard water tanks, so it’s important to check what your motorhome or caravan has before buying.
You should decide if you want to move around to lots of different locations, and consider where you are happy to hitch on and off each time, or if you would rather get up and go.
Depending on the type of van travel you do, you might want a powered vehicle to run appliances, charge devices, and use entertainment systems.
Caravans and motorhomes vary in size, so you should have a think about how much space you need for everyone onboard plus their belongings.
Motorhomes tend to have external storage space which is great for sports, hobby and camping equipment. Some caravans don’t offer as much storage so do have a think about how much gear you plan to bring on your trip.
A benefit of a motorhome is that you can also install bike racks on the back which gives you even more flexibility.
Caravans tend to have a smaller offering with beds, and the configuration is often not as flexible. Motorhomes can accommodate larger families of up to six people and have a range of configurations available.
Motorhomes and caravans both vary in cost, depending on the model and age of the travel van. Top end models are likely to have new tech, and updated furnishings and fittings. It’s good to weigh up what is worth the money to you. Financing your travel van is a great option if you can’t afford to buy upfront.
The best way to decide if a motorhome or caravan is best for you is to try them out before you commit to buying, so you can see the pros and cons for yourself.
Hiring a travel van before making a purchase will allow you to get behind the wheel and see what you are comfortable driving, as well as getting hands on with the day-to-day maintenance jobs.
Living in the caravan or motorhome will also help you to decide which on-board facilities are important to you, and which aren’t. You can also check out how the storage works for you by bringing all your gear along like sports and hobby equipment.
The thl try before you buy scheme allows you to hire a motorhome, then receive the cost of your hire back if you purchase a motorhome within 3 months of your rental finishing.
Ultimately when it comes to choosing the right vehicle for you, it’s best to pick a vehicle that fits your lifestyle, so you’ll find more reasons to hit the road! Call into your local KEA certified dealer to chat to the expert team and get advice on what type of travel van is best for you. Visit us online to view our range of new and refurbished motorhomes today.