Give yourself a budget as it’ll help give you a starting point for your search. If you can afford to, we’d suggest going for a mid-range model because there’s a much wider choice. They are in higher demand which means more are manufactured each year and it will be easier to get parts for if necessary.
Write a wish list
Creating a list of what you must have in your new caravan or motorhome, what you would like is the essential first step. Your ‘must have’ list will feature things like the number of travel seats and berths, bed lengths, a toilet, overall length and weight, payload, kitchen facilities, etc. The ‘nice to have’ list will be things like TV, reversing camera, awning, etc. Keep these lists with you and refer to it and make sure any caravan or motorhome you’re interested in ticks off all the essentials.
Where Can I buy?
Buying at a show
Shows are great places to see a wide range of new caravans. As well as big indoor exhibitions there are open-air shows all through the year and across the country. You’ll see all the latest layouts and styles and there will be a variety of dealerships on the stand to discuss your needs and give you all the information for an informed buying decision.Buying from a dealer
Buying from a dealer is one of the best ways to get a good caravan and good service. Most dealers sell both new and second-hand caravans. A local dealer close to your home is a great idea so it won’t be far to drive back to sort out any problems or for regular servicing. We have approximately 30 dealerships around the UK. All of which can be viewed here
There are a number of websites that allow you to search through a selection of new and used caravans. Some allow you to specify make, model, number of berths and price before checking the stocks of dealers throughout the country.
Sites such as Caravan Finder allow this type of search function.
Buying online second hand
If you are buying a pre-owned caravan, it is strongly recommended that you carry out a CRiS Check prior to purchasing. A CRiS Check will confirm the caravan’s true identity, reveal if there’s a hire purchase agreement with overdue finance, and identify if it has been reported stolen or is an insurance write-off. It will also identify who is recorded with CRiS as the current owner.
What type of caravans are available?
The majority of caravans have a single axle and are between 3 and 6 metres long inside. Depending on the interior layout, they can sleep between two and six people on average. They offer a washroom including a toilet, shower and basin and a kitchen will offer an oven, sink, hob, fridge and worktop surfaces.
There are a selection of caravans available to suit both couples and families with a variety of bed configurations including doubles, singles and bunks.
What types of motorhome are available?
The options of motorhomes available varies slightly more than caravans. They tend to start with van conversions or which may be better known as campervans and then offer a series of different types of vehicle offering a different level of specification.
Van Conversion – The typical van conversion is shorter and more slimline than a motorhome so more ideal for city and windy streets and can also team up as a day to day vehicle. They are still as well equipped as some motorhomes and offer a fixed bed, kitchen, washroom and lounge.
Low Profile – These are a popular alternative to coach-built. The low profile allows a sleek look and lower fuel consumption. This motorhome proves perfect for two people who want plenty of space.
Crossover – The flexibility of a crossover motorhome means that you still have a low-profile motorhome but the over-cab bed which neatly tucks away into the cab area when not in use to offer additional sleeping space. The benefit of this type of motorhome is that you aren’t restricted if for example you sometimes travel in large or small groups and there is additional space if you wish to take the grandchildren away.
Overcab – This coach-built motorhome is a very popular type for large groups and families as they often offer a large number of berths and the over-cab bed provides extra sleeping space.
A Class – These are usually the most luxurious and spacious models you will find. The A Class offers fully integrated bodywork and are the pinnacle of luxury touring with huge living space, ultra comfortable sleeping areas and generous sized kitchens and bathrooms. Not to mention the additional over-cab bed.
I have some questions about towing?
Towing a caravan for the first time may seem a scary prospect, but it needn’t be. If the thought of towing is preventing you from buying a caravan, there are places where you can have a go before you buy a unit.
Some of the larger caravan shows have opportunities to try towing a caravan, under the watchful eye of a professional instructor and there are courses available if this interests you.
Your local caravan dealer may also be prepared to let you take a caravan on the road.
Getting the right driving licence
Your ability to legally tow a caravan or trailer will depend on the driving licence you hold, whilst the category entitlement on your driving licence will determine the type of trailer you can tow. It’s paramount you’re fully covered by your driving licence for towing your caravan, as it’s against the law and your caravan insurance can be invalidated if you are not.
If you obtained your car driving licence before the end of 1996, then you will retain your entitlement to drive a vehicle and trailer combination of up to 8,250 kg MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass), until that licence expires. When you reach your 70th birthday slightly different rules apply if you’d like to keep towing
For motorhomes, check your driving licence. If you passed your test before 1 January 1997, are under the age of 70 and have a C1 category on your licence, you will be able to drive motorhomes up to 7.5 tonnes, unless you have a restricted licence due to health concerns.
If you are approaching 70 years of age and currently have the C1 entitlement, then, when you celebrate your seventieth birthday, you need to reapply to keep the C1 entitlement, which involves undergoing a medical, with the process being repeated every three years. If you only have the B category licence then you’re limited to a motorhome weighing no more than 3.5 tonnes.
How to keep your caravan or motorhome safe and protect your investment
Whether it is a caravan or a motorhome, it is a road vehicle so you are legally obliged to keep it roadworthy. The best way to do this is to have it serviced annually. The service will cover running gear, brakes, and lights.
The service will also include the habitation side of the vehicle. The water, gas, electrical and heating systems will all be checked and maintained. The dealer who does the service should also check for any damp or leaks in the basic structure. We have a network of over 100 service centres which are approved under The Approved Workshop Scheme.
Planning your holidays
It is not hard to see why camping holidays are so popular. They offer complete flexibility and freedom, allowing you to go wherever you choose, whenever you choose. If, after a hard week’s work, you decide you want to get away from it all and enjoy a relaxed, picturesque weekend away from the grind of daily life, you can do so with a caravan or a motorhome. Your time really is your own, no matter how short the break.
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