Five questions that will help you find the perfect caravan 101



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The questions you need to ask to find the perfect caravan

Making the decision to become a grey nomad is one of the most exhilarating and exciting things we do. But then we’re faced with a myriad of questions… What to do with the house? Where to go? When to start? How to finance it? And most importantly, what caravan do we buy?

Finding the right caravan is like a combination of finding the right home and car all in one. You want safety, security, reliability, it needs to meet your aesthetic needs and your intended purpose. But it is a new experience filled with new technical terms and whole host of new questions you have to ask yourself.

To help you get started on your search for the perfect caravan, the below guide gives you an introduction to the preparation to buy a caravan. These are the questions that you need to ask before you search and why they matter to your adventure.


1. Over the next few years of grey nomad life, where do you want to go?

Australia is an incredibly vast place and so many of the tourism treasures are in places that are a little hard to get. This means that if you want to explore places of the beaten track, you’ll need a caravan that can get there. Some are two-wheel drives and others are four-wheel drives. You can also get some that are designed specifically for off road travel with great suspension so if you’re looking at doing heavy duty exploring you should consider this.

2. What car are you going to use to tow the caravan?

If you have a car already and you’re definitely not considering another one, the load capacity for towing will determine the upper weight and size limit of the caravan you can get. A four-wheel drive is generally the most appropriate vehicle for towing caravans however the size and towing capacity varies from model to model so make sure you know the capacity for your car before purchasing a caravan.

3. What are you going to take with you?

It sounds like something you don’t want to think about until you’re ready to leave, but this is incredibly important in choosing the right caravan. If you’re going to be enjoying adventure activities like kayaking, cycling, fishing or something like skiing, you will need a place to store all of your equipment. Each caravan is designed with a unique point of difference – lots of storage space, a luxurious interior, heavy duty driving or light and economic travel. This means that not all will meet your luggage and equipment needs.

4. Where will you store it?

There are times when you’ll want to stay put and wherever home base is, be it at an RV park, in your garage, outside the home or somewhere else, you’ll need to make sure it can fit. Measure the potential storage spaces and use these as limits to how big it will be. It is also important to consider the locations you will stop at on your journey – some holiday parks may ask for more money for bigger vehicles.

 5. How do you want to travel?

If you’re going to remote locations without holiday parks, you’ll probably want a caravan kitted out with all of the necessities. A toilet, shower, kitchen, reserve fuel tanks etc. will become of most importance if you’re in isolation. But, if you’re sticking to main paths and will be stopping at caravan parks, you may feel comfortable forgoing your own luxuries in favour of communal showers and toilets as well as share facilities on site.


So when you’re getting ready to find your perfect caravan, make sure you answer these five questions before you start doing your research. These five things will play a big part in determining what caravan will really be ideal.

So tell us, how did you choose your caravan? What have been the pros and cons of the model you chose?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Our needs change the longer we are on the road. We are selling our big off road caravan, after five years of travelling on outback tracks, and shipping our lightweight English caravan here. Means if we want to go into the rougher country we just take the Patrol and camp. In a couple of years, as we get older, we will get a motorhome. The perfect van is what you need as your lifestyle and health changes.

  2. We brought a caravan in 2011 w toilet n shower to do light trips n now we have traded in for an off road caravan w toilet n shower to do more exploring Australia incl off road. Hopefully we will get this caravan by the end of this month, should have been last month!

  3. According the the NT news, the grey nomads are the ones Abbott thinks retired on Newstart, enjoy your travels and ignore it, I think it would be expensive with the high cost of fuel to travel around and very hard on the pittance Newstart gives them.. have fun

  4. I will forever regret not having bought a Winnabago when I got my retirement money. Too late now. But I can still dream.

  5. Blow towing a caravan around the country side. My wife and myself go house sitting. This lifestyle suits us. No on site fees etc. We have met some lovely people who will remain friends for life. Usually there is a pet to look after and a bit of gardening to do. This helps keep you fit. We have been to Beewah at the foot of the Glass House Mountains (3and a half months) beautiful home with pool etc. Last winter three months at Hervey Bay. Have been invited back for next winter. Hawkes Nest and Tea Gardens is another place we have had a house sit. We have just returned home from sitting a house in The Dandenongs with million dollar views.
    We live in a retirement Resort in Albury, so virtually lock our unit up and take off when we find a house sit that suits us. Everything is looked after until we return home.

  6. How purchase was based on budget. We bought a 17 ft 6 in1996 van with no toilet or shower and tow it with a ford falcon sedan. We pack lightly and do not fill our water tank. For emergencies we carry 25 litres of water under the bed. We do not go off road as we feel the stress on the car & caravan is too much. We can do a free camp and forego a proper shower for a night or two. We have just completed travelling around Australia, 7 months last year and 6 months this year. Travelled 33000 kms doing it with no mechanical problems at all. Our trip of a lifetime. I should also add that we did this on a strict budget. We are pensioners and very rarely did we have to access our savings to finance any part of our trip.

  7. If buying a new caravan make sure the brand you choose has good warranty. You will need on the road you don’t want to have to traipse back to where you bought it to get warranty issues sorted. Ring around some service agents and ask them about which brands have good warranty. All new vans will have warranty issues.

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