Buying Your First Caravan? 7 Top Buying Tips

Buying Your First Caravan? 7 Top Buying Tips

As we head in to October many of us would be counting down to The Motorhome and Caravan Show, us included. However, we will have to wait another year before we are back at the October Show. 

Many dealerships are hosting launch events across the country. You can view several models, new and used, on their forecourts. Admittedly, stock levels are low so your choice may be limited, but for now this is the best was to view a potential caravan purchase.

Buying a caravan, whether new or used, can be a very stressful and time-consuming process, especially when it is your first time. If you don’t know where to start this blog will help. Here are some essential tips you need to keep in mind:

1. Decide on a budget

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The first and most important thing is how much can you afford to spend on your new caravan? Answering this question will determine whether you need a new or used caravan. It also allows you to decide the means of financing you would use to purchase your new caravan. For example, do you intend to go for a loan or finance? Are you saving up? Are you looking for different payment options? 

Suppose you’re planning on moving into your caravan as a permanent or long-term accommodation option. In that case, you may consider selling your home or renting it out to finance your caravan. If you are looking for something to use short-term for weekend getaways, you could create a budget. Once you decide what your budget is, stick with it. Purchasing an affordable caravan that falls within your means is more beneficial than cleaning up your bank account or ending up in debt.

2. Find the right tow car 

You’re probably aware that a caravan needs towing around. Do you need a high-powered vehicle for this purpose? Not necessarily – although this will also depend on the size of the caravan you want to purchase. The most important thing is to have a driver’s licence to tow a caravan and a suitable vehicle. Your vehicle’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) should tell you how much your vehicle weighs. You should ensure that your caravan’s MTPLM weight does not exceed 85% of your car’s kerbweight.  

3. Inspect the caravan

Once you have found the caravan you want, you need to inspect it physically. If this is your first time purchasing or using a caravan, you may need to go with a trusted AWS engineer. During your inspection, check beneath the caravan with the aid of a torch and a measuring tape. If you have a damp meter, carry it along to check the caravans moisture levels. The damp meter will give you a good idea if the caravan has issues with dampness – and this will provide you with an upper hand when striking a bargain for the caravan. You can also request a damp meter from your seller. If they refuse this inspection, consider it a warning that something isn’t right with the caravan. Look out for rust underneath the caravan, and ensure that the tyres are in excellent condition.  Also, take as many pictures as you can to review different parts of the caravan later. 

4. Pick your essentials

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Depending on your personal choice and intentions for your caravan, pick your essentials or must-haves. What do you want your caravan to have? What kind of luxury fits into your budget? Decide on the specifications you want. For example, do you want a separate shower and washroom? Do you have minimum and maximum berth requirements? Do you prefer a pull-out bed, dinette or a bunk bed? A single bed or double? Do you need an air conditioning or heating system? 

Write down a list of the features and specifications you are looking for in your first caravan. Depending on your budget, you may need to adjust and readjust your wants along the way. 

Many dealers will offer you a basic starter pack, which comes with all the standard things you will need in a caravan. All extra features may come at a cost.

5. Browse caravan dealerships

Do not settle for the first caravan you see. Even if you do not intend or cannot afford to buy a new caravan, do not let that stop you from visiting as many caravan dealerships as you can. Doing this gives you the chance to compare different manufacturers and options. It gives you a good idea of the different layouts and what each offers. Test the beds and shower sizes to be sure which size best suits you. The advantage that caravan dealerships offer you goes beyond merely comparing prices.

The new 2022 models are now arriving at dealerships, many are holding launch events. Don’t forget to consider the dealer specials as these offer very good value in general.

6. Storage for your caravan

It is crucial to consider the best place to store your caravan. Caravans take up a lot of space, and it is best to know where to keep them when you are not using them. Caravans are designed to live outdoors. They should withstand the bad weather for many years but you can take steps to protect them. Undercover storage will offer protection in winter and from strong UV in summer. Not only will this protect it from the elements, but it may also reduce your insurance premiums. Many people opt for secure storage as opposed to driveway storage. This is due to space and security at home. Insurance companies offer discounts for secure storage.You can expect to pay from £300-800 per year for secure storage and CaSSOA is a good website to visit to find secure storage. 

7. Buy from an approved dealer

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When you are finally ready to make that purchase, it is important to visit a trusted or accredited dealer, as it comes with so many advantages. A dealer is likely to provide a warranty on both new and used caravans. Secondly, most trusted dealers offer different kinds of after sales perks and services that you may need if you’re buying a caravan for the first time. All accredited dealers must adopt and maintain a code of practice that seeks to help and protect the buyer. They will be able to provide you with advice and guidance around our first caravan. Dealers can offer finance packages too and you will, generally, have more protection when buying from a dealer.

Good luck with your new caravan purchase, whether it be new or pre-owned. Caravan holidays offer amazing freedom and fun for everybody. By spending time researching your purchase you are more likely to make the right choice the first time. Happy touring in autumn 2021!


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