For a newcomer to the motorhome industry, selecting the best motorhome can be something of a lottery with so many brands and types of recreational vehicles to choose from. There is a lot to consider when you buy a campervan from vehicle size to accessories, interior layouts, storage needs and space requirements.
Buying a camper van is also a decent investment so you will need to consider your budget and decide on things like new or used models, and how you will be funding the exciting purchase.
Choosing the right motorhome to buy is just the beginning! We’re breaking down everything you need to know about choosing a motorhome, including what types of motorhomes are available to buy from KEA Certified Dealers, and how to choose the right one for your lifestyle. Read on to find the information you need.
When it comes to budgeting there are more costs to consider than just the price of camper vans. As well as deciding how much you want to spend on the motorhome, you should also consider the following:
This includes things like new tyres or repairs to onboard facilities like the toilet and shower.
One way to reduce maintenance costs or nasty surprises and breakdowns is by getting your motorhome or campervan serviced every year. This greatly reduces the chance of things going wrong and needing costly repairs while halfway through your trip.
A minor service from KEA starts at AUD 345 and includes a 20 point check of your vehicle, and is recommended every 30,000kms or 12 months.
A major service from KEA starts from AUD 515 and includes a comprehensive 30 point check. It’s recommended to have this done every 60,000kms or 24 months.
It’s worth noting that if you are buying a used campervan, pre-owned vehicle or ex-rental that has been professionally refurbished, there may be more regular maintenance needed than a newer vehicle.
This is an ongoing cost worth adding to your budget, as you will need to stay up to date on these items regardless of how much you will be driving your motorhome.
Regardless of whether you plan to save or finance the cost of a motorhome, you should assess the ongoing costs and ensure you can manage those amounts.
The Size Of The Motorhome
With many motorhome models available, picking the right size is a big part of the decision making process.
Things you should consider when it comes to size selection are:
Number one is of course making sure you have enough beds for everyone! You should also think about the type of beds you will need, and if the bed types are practical for those people to access.
If you like to spread out and enjoy activities in the motorhome, you may want to choose a model that has a table or a bit more room to breathe, especially if you have kids on board.
Choosing a nice big motorhome might suit your needs, but it’s worth considering whether it’s a size you are comfortable driving, as well as anyone else in the family.
Consider what other vehicles you have at home, and what space you have to park a motorhome. If you don’t have room at home, you might need to look into the cost of storage space.
A lack of storage can certainly hinder your van travel and make life on the road a little harder.
Here are some things to consider when looking at storage space in motorhome models:
Things like sports gear, prams and camping equipment can take up a lot of space, so it’s a good idea to think about how much space you will need to store your essential van travel items.
If you are mostly eating at local restaurants and cafes on the road, you may not need much kitchen storage space. However, one of the great luxuries is cooking in your camper and eating in nature, so those who plan to cook will want to have space for crockery, food and cooking equipment.
Consider fridge and pantry space as well as a spot for the portable BBQ if you have one!
Perhaps you like to paint landscapes as you travel or are into arts and crafts. Whatever you like to do in your downtime in the camper, make sure you have a spot to store your special hobby gear.
Try to think about when you will be travelling in the camper. If you are travelling mainly over winter you’ll need a spot for extra blankets, whereas in summer you might want somewhere for the golf clubs!
There are plenty of modernisations that can be added to motorhomes these days, which ensure you don’t have to leave any creature comforts behind when on the road.
Things to consider with add on options are:
Are you a movie buff or love to pump the music? Modern motorhome TV’s have all the benefits of your screen at home including built-in steaming and slimline design.
Superior sound systems can also be added for the ultimate road trip experience.
Motorhome seats certainly get a lot more use than standard car seats, so it’s worth checking out the vehicle's upholstery to see if you want to have it refreshed with extra padding and modern fabric.
For peace of mind when on the road, things like GPS trackers are ideal for added security. Enjoy your wander in the wilderness without having to worry about your possessions and the motorhome.
Types Of Travel
Depending on the type of travelling you plan to do, this will impact the kind of motorhome you will need.
Here are some things to think about when it comes to the type of van travel you will be doing:
Freedom camping is a great way to save money on the road, but you do need to ensure you have the right facilities available.
Think about whether you and the family will be happy using campsite facilities, or if you might prefer on-board toilets and showers.
Exploring untouched areas is a lot of fun, but some motorhome models are better suited to this kind of van travel.
You can always ask a certified dealer what models they recommend for rough terrain travelling.
The ability to go remote is a benefit of having a motorhome, as you don’t need to worry about having accommodation, however you do need to make sure you have the right facilities available.
On-board toilets and showers, as well as the means to cook, are essential!
New Or Used
The age-old question, is it better to go new or used? Should you go for the cheapest campervan, or go full luxury? That very much depends on the way you like to travel.
Here are some things to weigh up:
If you want the latest gadgets built-in and ready to go, then a new model might be for you.
You also have the option of going for a used model and adding in your personalised items if you don’t like what’s available.
If you plan on having your motorhome for a long time you may prefer to have a new warranty, however, if your travels will just be for one season, it may not be a concern for you.
An older motorhome is sometimes more likely to need upgrades and repairs as it’s already seen some life.
It’s important to consider whether you can manage some ‘off road’ time so repairs can be completed. Think about whether you are going to be living in your motorhome or travelling for long periods.
Perhaps you don’t mind pre-loved furnishings, especially if the kids are likely to have spills! On the other hand, you might want to modernise your motorhome with newly upholstered seats or curtains to add some personal touches.
Newer motorhomes are more likely to be fuel-efficient, and let off fewer emissions than older models. Consider how far and how long you will be travelling for, as fuel costs do make up a big part of your outgoings.
If you are hoping to be travelling for the foreseeable future, you should consider how many years the motorhome has left on the clock!
Although you can save money going for an older model, if you end up needing to replace it soon after, that may not always be the best financial option.
Body work is not easy for everybody to complete as a DIY job. Consider the cost of repairing rust and paintwork as when it's left too long that can hinder your ability to get a warrant of fitness.
Now that we’ve taken a look at what you need to consider for motorhome buying, let's have a look at the different models, so you can match up with your dream vehicle.
Hi-Top Van Conversion
HiTop models typically come in the form of a standard van that has been converted to include what you need for travelling. Here is what you need to know about Hi-top campervans:
As the smallest type of motorhome available, these are usually the most affordable option.
If you are happy using campsite facilities this model will work well for you, plus you don’t have to worry about the extra cleaning!
The compact design means you will need to make up the bed and pack it down when it’s not in use. This keeps your motorhome nice and minimalistic!
HiTop campervan models can give you all the freedom of being on the road, with much less maintenance and petrol costs.
One of the top benefits of a HiTop van is that you can park anywhere a normal car can park. You don’t need to be at a specific campsite, and inner-city visits are made easy.
Large Van Conversions
Large van conversions are exactly as the name suggests, a large van that has been converted for travelling! They are a step up from HiTops ops in size and self-contained features.
Here is what you need to know about Large van conversions:
If you are looking for a little bit more living space and the benefit of a kitchen, van conversions are a great option whilst still being fairly compact.
This saves you crawling through to the cab, which is beneficial for those that need easier access. They also contain a bathroom so you can be more self-contained.
This model still gives you the flexibility to park in places like inner-city areas without much trouble finding a big enough parking space.
This smaller size makes this model easier to drive, and it has features that make it more flexible such as swivelling cab seats and bed conversion options.
The smaller size of the vehicle does mean you have to be more minimal with the number of items you travel with.
This size is great for people who want more space and onboard facilities but aren’t comfortable driving a large vehicle.
Coachbuilts are the largest model of motorhomes and are fully self-contained, just like KEA Motorhomes!
Here is what you need to know about Coachbuilts:
These models are great for families who need space, especially those who travel with kids that might need a bit more space for play and toys.
It’s also nice for couples who want a luxury escape with plenty of room, particularly for long periods of travel.
This is a great feature that allows you to spend time together in one space and really spread out. Ideal for board games, movie nights or hobbies!
These models have a mid-dinette that folds down into a bed, and another bed in the Luton peak above the driver’s cab. They are well designed to utilise the space to the fullest.
This model is the ultimate self-contained option, meaning you don’t need to rely on campgrounds or public facilities as you have everything on board.
Great for travellers that like to bring along sports equipment or camping gear, the external storage means less stuff packed inside the camper, especially messier outside gear.