So, you’ve decided to buy a caravan. The open road calls to you, the freedom of the country beckons you forth. As a grey nomad, you now have the ability to roam wherever you please, and a caravan is a great way to do that. They are far more comfortable than tents, cheaper than hotels, and you can literally sleep on the doorstep of some of the most naturally beautiful spots our sunburnt land has to offer. Here are 7 easy points to help you settle on the right caravan for your travels.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is ‘what do I want from my caravan?’. Don’t just plan the first trip; look ahead and see what you’ll want to do with your purchase a few years down the line. Will you drive around Australia, use it as a weekender, take the grandkids and family on holiday, live in it long term?
The purpose of your caravan will determine its size, layout, and fittings. Do your research and find out what sort of caravan is going to suit your intended purpose best. Read consumer reports, talk to other caravan owners, and get all the information you can to ensure your journey starts smoothly.
To ensure the trip stays smooth you’re going to need the right vehicle. Check the towing capacity of your current vehicle and get up-to-date on towing regulations across each state you plan to travel to. The last thing you want is a blown engine to spoil your trip. Your caravan can go nowhere without your car, so ensure your vehicle is as ready for the journey as you are.
Knowing how you want to travel is paramount. Do you want luxury or simplicity? Do you want to share a shower with a campsite or have your own? Caravans can come with a range of features from internal heating and cooling, working bathrooms, king-sized beds, dining areas, and fully functioning kitchens.
If you want to sit by a campsite BBQ for your meals then you probably won’t need a state of the art stovetop, but if you have a bad back then it may be better to purchase a bed that is easier to get into and out of. Try before you buy – go to a caravan showroom and don’t be afraid to try the features out. Sit, stand, lie down, and jump around. Pick a space you can see yourself living in because you’re going to have to.
4) New or Second Hand
Regardless of whether you are buying new or used, it is best to buy a caravan from a licensed dealer. It is best to know where your caravan comes from, what its full specs are, and what its history has been. Don’t just look at the living features of the caravan you buy, be sure to also inspect the bearings, suspension, and tare weight when loaded with all of your food, clothes, and other belongings. Buy for your budget, but buy smart so that you aren’t surprised with any unexpected costs down the line.
Just like your car, your caravan should get serviced. Many dealers will offer to service, and there is a lot you can do yourself to save money. Chat to your mechanic about your new purchase and what should be done to keep it in tip-top shape.
Over 50’s need to be aware of any medical concerns they may face whilst out and about. Have a first aid kit that suits you and your needs, not just a basic set. Be aware of what medical facilities are nearby as you travel, and what you can do if you find yourself alone. Getting a caravan with an emergency radio, or carrying one yourself is always a good idea.
Being a grey nomad is great, but it may also mean that your insurance premiums are higher. Look at insurers who will ensure you, your vehicle, and your caravan and shop around for the right rate and type to suit you.
Caravans are wonderful things. They offer freedom, versatility, and the option to pick your own view. It is not hard to buy the right caravan for you; shop around, try it out and do your research to ensure you end up with the right buy.
Go forth, hit the road, and have a great time.