We’re going on a big lap of Australia, starting from scratch and needed to find the right caravan for us and our family. We’re novices and starting out with nothing for the trip, so we had to decide what we needed in the perfect family caravan.
Prior to caravan selection, we have already shared why we’re going on the big lap of Australia
and how we plan to finance the trip
. We have literally put the cart before the horse in regards to the caravan, allowing us to choose the right caravan for us and our family. A full year in a caravan around Australia is a really long time! We didn’t want to be restricted by what our vehicle could tow, preferring to first find a caravan that would work for us. We needed the right amount of space, the right amount of capacity across storage, water and power to ensure we make the most of the trip.
Starting out we first spoke to friends and family who have caravanned on a lap of Australia before, or who currently own caravans. This was a great source of information as nothing really beats experience. We were advised on things to look out for, things worth getting and most importantly things to avoid. This helped us to not waste money on things that look or sound good at the caravan shows or in glossy brochures.
We learnt quickly that second hand caravans tend to hold their value, and that even if you got a caravan that was still under warranty, under consumer law that warranty won’t transfer to a new owner like a vehicle might. This basically directed us to a new caravan purchase, although Justin was super keen to do a bus or old caravan renovation! We simply didn’t have time to do this, and Steph was keen on a new van regardless. No prizes for guessing the outcome there.
Purchasing a new caravan also gives you the opportunity to get all of the bells and whistles you might want in a caravan, plus the opportunity for some customisation. We’ve camped in tents to this point
, so everything is new and exciting. We love camping in tents, but moving up to the full sized caravan whilst skipping the traditional right of passage via a camper trailer or pop top sure is exciting. Weight is a big thing, as is load capacity. We found out all about payloads and weight, in particular how important GVM and GCM is across the tow vehicle
and the caravan. Did you know that payloads are not an exact science? That’s our experience! You can order a caravan with all of the options (and weight) and then with none of the options (or weight) and both will then be weighed and a payload added to that total. Some manufacturers even allow you to buy an upgrade in payload sometimes up to 50% more than standard!
A full size family caravan also has some major benefits. Sure there are drawbacks, size, weight and cost, but the ability to pull up without having to assemble or make beds, extend sides or the roof should make life on the road for a full year a whole lot easier for our family. A full sized family caravan means that our family will have some space, something that is priceless over time. Well, to correct that, there is a cost! It is in fact very specifically priced. We were fortunate in that we got a good return from our investment property meaning we could make the decision without having to restrict our preferred lifestyle.