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Apr 4, 2023
I'm very new to this forum and I'm hoping to get some answers to a basic question.
My wife and I are a family of 2 in our 50s, kids have grown up but we have a dog.
We have never owned a caravan or motor home before and we don't know where to start - do we get a caravan or a motorhome.
For me as the driver the simplicity and instant availability of a motorhome in terms of getting from home to the campsite really appeal. But on the other hand when we get to the campsite we like to visit local and not so local attractions which the versatility of a tow-car and caravan maybe better.
The cost is also important and whether to buy second hand or new is also a factor.
Any advice would be appreciated ;)
Nov 11, 2009
Welcome to the Forum You’ve put your finger on a common dilemma of which there’s not a standard answer. For the reasons you say I’ve always preferred a caravan. But friends of ours prefer motor homes. The latter aren’t so well catered for in this country as abroad. Height restrictions and car parking etc. But thousands do enjoy their motorhome.

You can hire motor homes which would give you experience of living with one.
Visit dealerships to explore layouts and try and assess how you would live in either. Whatever your decision the dog will love it.
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Jul 18, 2017
OC has hit the nail on the ehad with height restrcitions which apply in many car parks at tourist destinations. The other thing is the packing away every time you need to go out and then hoping no one is going to occupy your pitch while you are out and about.

What is the year and brand model of your current car and does it have an automatic gear box? If we know that maybe we can offer better advice.
Jan 3, 2012
Hi Leviku welcome to the forum depending on what car you have i would go for used caravan so you are not spending to much and get a few extras included from a dealer and a warranty and then you can see if you like it
Mar 14, 2005
Hiring either a caravan or a motor home is great way to sample the life style, but when it comes buying one, there are a number of pro's and con's to consider.
New - will give you a pristine** product, but at the highest price, but it also gives you the greatest depreciation, should you decide it's not for you. You would get the full benefits of the manufacturer's warranty,and the dealer back up. ** - However you should also be aware the industry does not have the best reputation for producing fault free products, so quite often new owners will find things that need to be fixed, so buying locally is usually a good idea.

Second hand - this can make a lot of sense, firstly the price will be considerably less*** than new, and most of the manufacturing issues should have been sorted. ***- The COVID pandemic, and the present cost of living crisis has made more people consider caravan/motorhome's so the secondhand prices are presently high.

If you are looking at s/h units, go for the youngest you can afford, but always look for a fully compliant service record. A missed service or inspection might affect the warranty on body work or other items.

Never agree to buy a second hand unit, untill you have completed all the essential checks, and got 100% satisfactory answers to all questions. It's frequently wise to have an Approved Workshop Scheme mobile engineer do a pre purchase condition check as they are more likely to spot issues an inexperienced caravanner may not. If the seller is unhappy at allowing such an inspection, it should ring alarm bells. Always get a full CRIS and HPI check for ownership, and outstanding finance.

Dealer or Private - private sales invariably seem to be better value, and there are some genuine bargains to be found, BUT unfortunately there are an increasing number of scams being operated, especially as the market has been so strong it has attracted more scammers, so don't be pressurised into a purchase, do your due diligence, and if anything doesn't come back 100% walk away.
Write a list of questions to ask, whether a dealer or private, the law expects them to answer honestly, so make the questions as open as possible, just as an example, don't ask "Has the caravan got damp" instead open it up like "Has the caravan got any history of damp" keep notes on their answered, even better if you get them to answer in writing. etc. Armed with this information you are in better position make a decision. And if anything does go sour you may have the evidence to pursue the seller.

Dealer - dealer prices are higher, but you also get some other real benefits and assurances. You should get a dealer warranty. Dealers are considered to have and are expected to use their expert knowledge about the product to help customers make the best choice. Buying from a dealer also automatically gives you some strong legal backing in the shape of the Consumer Rights Act, which provides you with tools to ensure you are treated well and fairly, and most of all the CRA defines how to get things put right if they go wrong. These are tools that can't always be used in private purchases. As with private purchases it's also wise not to agree the purchase until you have had an independent pre purchase inspection by an AWS engineer.

As you are inexperienced with caravans or motorhomes, I also suggest if you have family member or a good friend or even a neighbour who uses one, it's worth talking with them about the ways of using them, and often if you ask they'll be happy to view some of them with you. An experienced eye will often spot things a novice will miss.

Caravans. These are obviously towed, so it's vitally important to choose a size of caravan that your vehicle can tow. All cars sold in the UK since we a do adopted the EUs construction and use regulations, have a data plate that provides some vital information. Any car that is approved to tow has a gross train weight limit and a gross vehicle weight limit. The difference between the two defines the maximum towed weight the car an legally tow when the car is fully laden. If you chose a caravan whose Maximum Technically Permitted Laden Weight (MTPLM) does not exceed the GTW - GVW difference you will be legal. I stress this is the simplistic but legal approach. The UK caravan industry offer the following guidance (not law) for inexperienced caravanner's, it's suggested the MTPLM of the caravan should not exceed 85% of the cars kerb weight, and only as experience is gained should the driver consider increasing the ratio towards 100% . Under no circumstances should you exceed the vehicles legal limits.

I hope this helps
Mar 14, 2005
Hi Leviku

I've just realised. I assumed you were based in the UK, but perhaps your somewhere else, in which case some of the information I gave above is location specific to the UK


Mar 17, 2007
Welcome to the forum. You have had some good advice already but keep posting and asking questions


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