Motorhome or touring caravan: which one is right for you?
Buying either a caravan or a motorhome is a major commitment, both financially and to your future travelling lifestyle. Both have their pros and both have their cons. Before purchasing either, it’s important to know what those pros and cons are and how important they are to you.
The main pro to choosing a touring caravan over a motorhome is flexibility. It’s easy to detach a caravan from your car and doing so gives you two vehicles. With a motorhome, you’ll always only have one, fairly large and cumbersome, vehicle.
Flexibility is important when travelling, even for small things like going to the supermarket. Driving to the supermarket in a car is considerably more convenient than trying to do the same journey in a motorhome. Motorhomes require larger parking spaces, and these don’t always exist, particularly when you consider the size of the average supermarket car park in a small town or village.
That flexibility is important when you decide to do some sightseeing as well. After all, isn’t that the whole point of the trip? Many attractions, towns and country roads are not very well-equipped for large motorhomes, and trying to sightsee from a motorhome can often become a very stressful experience.
Unfortunately, caravans have their cons as well. Firstly, they’re considerably harder to manoeuvre, particularly when it comes to reversing. Secondly, because of their lightweight design, the amount of weight you can take with you is limited.
Motorhomes, on the other hand, are much sturdier in design. Aside from being able to take more weight, this also means motorhomes are better at handling rougher road terrains, which gives you more flexibility in where you can park up for the night. Being able to handle that extra weight means you’ll be able to stock up on heavier items like water. All in all, motorhomes tend to be better for camping in the wild.
The sturdier design means it’s usually possible to attach a bicycle to the back of the motorhome, or even watersports equipment to the roof of the vehicle. This gives you more options for what you can do when you get to your camping destination.
Security is a major consideration when choosing either a motorhome or a touring caravan, and overall, motorhomes tend to be more secure. Firstly, the windows are usually placed higher, which makes it harder for both burglars and nosy neighbours to look in. Secondly, those windows tend to be made of tougher material than caravan windows, which at the very least will help to deter opportunistic burglars.
But while the size and sturdiness of the motorhome brings a lot of benefits, it also presents a number of problems. Aside from the challenges that come with driving and parking it, motorhomes can be more costly in terms of the amount of fuel they use. Caravanning uses less fuel not just because a caravan is smaller and lighter, but because it’s frequently detached from the car when the owner goes sightseeing or to the supermarket. You will also need a special licence to drive a motorhome, whereas it’s possible to pull many caravans without a special licence.
Unfortunately, neither a caravan nor a motorhome is the perfect setup. Both have their pros and both have their cons, and deciding on which one is right for you is about understanding how those pros and cons would affect you personally.
If you’re still unsure, consider taking them for a test-drive. Both can be hired through travel specialists and getting that proper first-hand experience of both of them on an actual camping trip can really help clarify which one is right for you.