Caravan vs Motorhome – Which One is Better?

With an abundance of National Parks, beach-side camping spots, and wide open space to explore, Australia is the perfect country for a road trip adventure. In fact, road trip holidays are becoming increasingly popular. So it comes as no surprise that more and more Australians are opting to buy a caravan or motorhome. But how do you know which is right for you? There are a few factors to consider when deciding between a caravan versus an RV.

The terms motorhome and caravan are often used interchangeably, but the two are in fact very different types of mobile-homes. In general: 

  • Motorhomes are usually larger, motorised, and more equipped vehicles that include both driving and living areas. They have clearly defined living spaces such as a kitchen and sleeping area, as well as fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms.
     
  • Caravans are usually towed behind other vehicles, and so don’t have any engine of their own. Usually characterised by a static living-space, they are generally smaller in size than a motorhome but still include facilities like kitchens.

 

We’re here to break down the pros and cons of each, to help you hit the road in the best way possible.

Purpose

When considering whether to purchase a caravan or motorhome, you first need to think about what your reasons are for making the purchase. Are you looking to make the move to a full-time life on the road, or simply want somewhere to stay during your holidays?

In general, motorhomes are much more suited to full-time living. This is because:

  • There is less work in setting up or packing down, making constant movement easier
  • Motorhomes are harder to park, meaning that it may be a struggle to store one once your holiday is over.

Caravans on the other hand, lend themselves more to holidaying.

  • You can easily detach your car to go exploring while on holiday, whereas with a motorhome you would have to take your home with you
  • Caravans are smaller and easier to store in a safe, secure space while not in use
  • Caravans have a longer set-up routine, meaning staying in one holiday spot is more suitable. 

 

Price

The next factor to consider when deciding between a caravan or motorhome is your budget. The truth is that the price for both caravans and motorhomes can vary greatly depending on model, vehicle age, and so on. Aside from the cost of actually buying a caravan or motorhome, factors like registration, fuel consumption, insurance, and on-road costs also need to be considered.

  • Motorhomes are generally more expensive than caravans, however you would be able to subtract the cost of an extra vehicle required for a caravan
  • If you decide not to live full-time in your motorhome, you need to consider that mechanical parts of the vehicle may deteriorate over time
  • Caravans are generally cheaper to purchase, run, and maintain compared to motorhomes, however, when buying a caravan you need to factor in the costs of the car needed to tow it.

The best course of action is to speak to a professional about all the options available for your budget and analyse the options available to you. 

 

Ease of Driving

For those without much experience driving larger vehicles, ease of driving is definitely something worth considering before purchasing a caravan or motorhome.

  • While larger motorhomes may be difficult to learn to drive at first, once you are used to the dimensions of the vehicle it becomes much like driving a normal car 
  • As caravans must be towed, you need to be aware of issues this may pose when driving including  manoeuvring and keeping them stable.

 

Space

Aside from purpose, budget, and ease of driving, you can also consider how much space you need on your mobile holiday. Do you need to store a lot of holiday gear like bikes and fishing equipment? Or are you more of a minimalist? Either way, there will be a caravan or motorhome  to suit your needs.

  • Caravans allow you to still use your car for storage, which means you can dedicate more room for living space
  • Motorhomes sometimes offer less space, meaning smaller kitchens, and increased difficulty for travel with larger families.

 

So, when choosing a caravan or motorhome, it’s safe to say that there is no right or wrong answer. Ultimately your choice will come down to a range of personal factors. No matter your choice, you’re bound to have the most memorable of holidays in a mobile home!