Should I Swap My Caravan For A Motorhome?

Motorhome or Caravan

Should I swap my caravan for a motorhome?

One of the main questions potential owners consider when it comes to buying their first RV, is … motorhome or caravan? It’s very common for those new to the RV lifestyle to start out with a caravan and look at motorhomes for sale a bit later. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the reasons why. We’ll also look at the pros and cons of motorhome vs caravan, and delve into what makes each unique, including:

Better for road trips around the country

It won’t depreciate at the same rate as a caravan

It is easier to drive

You don’t have to worry about towing anything

It is more convenient

Do your research

Try before you buy

Make a list of what you want in a motorhome

Get in touch with the KEA team


What is a motorhome?


A motorhome is a large motor vehicle designed to be lived in whilst travelling. Motorhomes are often built on a light commercial or truck cab chassis, while campervans are large vans that have the rear interior converted into a living space. The easiest way to remember what a motorhome is, is that it combines a motor and a home! There are three different classes of motorhome – A, B, and C, with each having unique features.


Advantages of owning a motorhome

Western Australia scenic

A motorhome is a lot easier to park and manoeuvre than a caravan, so they are good for people with less experience driving and parking trailers and large vehicles. There are a few other key advantages of owning a motorhome including:

  • Specialised storage options – some motorhomes include large ‘garages’ for transporting big equipment like bikes, kayaks, and surfboards.
  • They are safer in emergency situations, as you can access the driving quarters without exiting the vehicle.
  • Motorhomes tend to retain their value for longer than caravans, which is beneficial if you plan to sell it in the future.
  • There is a lot less set-up required when you arrive at a campsite or holiday park. Simply find a good spot, drive in and get settled!
  • It’s easier to stop spontaneously – to check out a great view on the side of the road for example.


What kind of lifestyle is suitable for a motorhome?


Travelling by motorhome is a great lifestyle for those who love to go road tripping regularly. Because they’re all-in-one, it’s easy to just jump in and get going when the mood takes you. There are many lifestyles that a motorhome is suited to, including: Those that are able to work remotely and wish to do so whilst on the road. Retirees who typically have more spare time to travel and explore their ‘wish list’ of destinations. For retirees, a motorhome is easier to drive and requires less effort to set up and pack up again.

Motorhomes can also be great for family holidays, offering a super comfortable travel environment for kids.

Because a motorhome only takes up one parking space, they’re better suited to those who don’t have the room to park and tow vehicle and a caravan. Motorhomes are easier to manage for those who like to travel between islands by ferry.


What is a caravan?


A caravan is often confused with a motorhome. But the key difference is that a caravan doesn’t have a cab or an engine. A full caravan has solid sides and a roof, with glass or acrylic windows and is available in lengths starting from about five metres. Caravans need to be towed by a separate motor vehicle.

Another type of caravan is known as a pop-top camper van. This is similar to a full caravan but includes a pop-top roof that can be raised once the caravan is parked and ready to set up.


Reasons to opt for a caravan


If you are concerned about the initial outright payment, you’ll be pleased to hear that generally, caravans are cheaper to purchase than a motorhome. Just be aware that caravans may depreciate at a quicker rate if you plan to sell later.

Caravans are also popular with families who need an extra room for family when they come to stay, or for teens who are at that ‘independent’ stage but not quite ready to move out!


What kind of lifestyle is suitable for a caravan?


Caravans are more suitable for travellers who tend to stay in one place for a longer period of time.

One of the main caravan benefits is their suitability for larger families. Caravans typically come in larger sizes, and because there’s no cab taking up space, they feel a little more spacious inside.

Many RV travellers start off with a caravan while they have a young family and are happy to stay for longer periods in campgrounds.

Travelling by caravan also offers the benefit of having a separate vehicle that you can use to leave the campground for supplies etc if needed.


Reasons to swap your caravan for a motorhome


At the end of the day, the decision to sell your caravan and consider looking at motorhomes for sale will be largely dictated by your personal circumstances. However, there are a lot of reasons why buying a campervan or motorhome might be a smart choice.


Better for road trips around the country


If you like to enjoy lots of spontaneous road trips around the country, a motorhome is the way to go. It’s much easier and quicker to move from place to place which is appealing to travellers who like to do lots of exploring rather than stay in one place.


It won’t depreciate at the same rate as a caravan


A benefit of buying a campervan or motorhome is that it should retain its value for a longer period of time, which is great if you need to sell it in future. Remember to keep up to date with a regular maintenance and service schedule to keep your motorhome in tip-top condition.


It is easier to drive


Most motorhome drivers agree that they get used to the larger vehicle size very quickly. And once they do, it’s really just like driving a car. Compared to towing a caravan it’s easier to navigate windy roads and hills. It’s also a lot easier to reverse a motorhome and to find parking in places like supermarkets or on the roadside.


You don’t have to worry about towing anything


Some small cars might not be suitable for towing a caravan so this could be a key factor when making your decision. You’ll need to have a tow vehicle that is rated to carry the weight of your caravan. Family sedans and small SUVs may be suitable for small, lighter caravans such as those built in the UK and Europe, but heavier New Zealand and Australian caravans need to be towed by a larger vehicle.


It is more convenient


A motorhome has minimal set-up to worry about when you reach your campsite. It’s generally a lot easier to level your motorhome, then it’s just a matter of putting out the awning, pouring a drink, and putting your feet up! And if you need to leave in a hurry for any reason, it’s a quick process to pack up and drive away.


How to find the perfect motorhome for you

Western Australia scenic


Purchasing a motorhome is a large financial decision, so it pays to dedicate some time to research motorhomes for sale and the price of camper vans. You may be tempted to jump at the cheapest campervan you find, but this is often a mistake. Take the time to ensure you are purchasing the right motorhome for your specific needs. Here are four steps to help get you started:


1. Do your research


Researching the right motorhome for you can take time! There are many different options to choose from, each with pros and cons. A good place to start is our guide on what to look for when buying a motorhome.

It’s also a good idea to chat with other motorhome owners to get some insight and advice. Most RV owners are more than happy to share what they love about their motorhome and offer tips on what to look for and what to avoid. There are several good Facebook pages worth joining, such as Motorhome Friends New Zealand which are great resources.


2. Try before you buy


One tip that many motorhome buyers will agree on, is to spend some time in a rental motorhome. This way, you’ll start to get an idea of your needs, wants, and must-haves! A great way to do this is to use KEA’s Try Before You Buy scheme. This allows you to rent one of KEA’s great rental motorhomes, then if you decide to buy a motorhome within three months, you’ll get the cost of your rental back.


3. Make a list of what you want in a motorhome


One of the fun parts about researching the right motorhome for your lifestyle is to start making a wish list of what you want. Some of the considerations you might factor in could include:

  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want to buy new or secondhand?
  • Will you be doing more freedom camping, or staying in campsites (this will determine whether you’ll need to be self-contained, how big your tanks need to be etc)
  • How much external storage space do you need (will you be carrying gear such as surfboards or bikes?)
  • What floor plan works best for you?
  • Do you need a big kitchen with all the bells and whistles, or will you be doing most of your cooking at campsites?
  • How many beds do you need? What bed layout is best for you? Do you want a full-sized bathroom, or will you be using campground facilities more often?


4.Get in touch with the KEA team


The KEA team are motorhome experts! They can help explain the different options available, talk through the price of camper vans, and guide you through the motorhome buying process. After talking with one of our team, buying an RV feels a lot less overwhelming and you’ll feel more confident about making the right choice. Contact us via phone or email or pop into one of our nationwide KEA RV dealerships.


Get started with KEA


KEA motorhome width=

We hope this blog has helped give you the information you need to help decide whether the decision to swap your caravan for a motorhome is right for you. A motorhome certainly offers plenty of great benefits for those who are ready to explore more of Australia.

If you’re ready to take the next step and discover the freedom and flexibility of motorhome travel, check out KEA’s great range of new and KEA ex-rental campervans for sale.