If you want to know how to buy a caravan then read on. It could be your first caravan, or indeed you could be a seasoned traveller. Buying a caravan is a big investment. Next to your home and your car, this could be the biggest purchase you make and it’s important to get it right.
How to Buy A Caravan – Budget
I’ve recently been through the caravan buying process, so part of the reason I wrote this article is to help people whilst the information is still fresh in my mind.
In some ways you can approach buying a caravan in the same way you buy a car. Setting a budget is equally as important when purchasing a caravan. You need to work out how much you can afford, be it buying it outright, or getting finance to help. So, set a budget and stick to it. It’s far too easy to suffer “budget creep”. I had this exact problem. There’s always another caravan that’s £2,000 more than your budget. Beware of this. One thing to mention here is that purchasing the caravan is just a part of your outlay. Unlike buying a car, they are a few extras you’ll need. More on this later.
How to Buy A Caravan – Layout
I said previously that buying a caravan is in some ways similar to buying a car. However, selecting a caravan is a lot more “difficult” than selecting a car in my opinion. You need to consider a layout in a way that you really don’t when selecting a car. Ok, with a car you might need to consider if you need a 2 seater, 4 seater, 7 seater etc. But you don’t need to consider how many beds, what size fridge, where you want to washroom, whether you should get fixed bed – you get the idea.
As far as layout go, initially it can be a bit overwhelming. If you’re not overwhelmed, you don’t understand enough about the importance of a layout. Most people change their caravan because their layout isn’t working for them.
The caravanfinder website is a good resource for looking at layouts. Of course I have a page on this website that will help.
Single or twin axle?
As our how to buy a caravan guide continues. Some say if you’re getting your first caravan then select a single axle. I probably agree with this. It’s not an issue with size really, I mean a twin axle is maybe less than 60cm longer. But you need to consider the weight also. This is largely determined by the type of license you have as well as the type of tow car.
How To Buy A Caravan – Tow Car
Selecting a new or different tow car may not be an option, you’ll probably own a car and that will be the car you’ll tow with. now the bad news is, if you own a smaller car, you’re probably not going to be able to tow a caravan. There’s plenty of info online and ofcourse, I have an article to help you.
Make and Model
Once you’ve set a budget and maybe selected a layout with the help of caravan vlogger, or caravanfinder, you’re well placed to start looking at makes and models. One of the best ways to do this is to get yourself to a caravan dealer, or, if possible, one of the caravan shows that go on over the country. One of the biggest is at the NEC Birmingham. usually these are held in February and October.
A word of warning, be prepared to be dazzled by bright lights and hypnotised by the smell of new caravans.
There are many manufacturers to choose from and if you have a look at caravan forums you’ll see people absolutely lay into manufacturers, then you’ll see someone else praise the very same manufacturer. I recently to a vlog and asked people to recommend a dealer, the response was varied, some saying dealer ABC was great then the next people saying that dealer was rubbish. You need to take this information with a pinch of salt. Again, it’s similar to cars, some people swear by BMW where others wouldn’t touch them with a very long barge pole.
You might find, as I did, that for your selected layout there isn’t very much choice. Layouts go in and out of fashion. At the moment the mid washroom and transverse bed is popular. Although this layout doesn’t work for us.
Negotiating a Price
The age old question when learning how to buy a caravan is the age old question of how to get the best price. Again, if you immerse yourself in caravan forums there’s plenty of advice. Bill will have save thousands, Fred got a “very good deal”. You know the sort of thing. Something I was told, at least when buying a car )as a cash buyer), is to negotiate as if you’re buying it on finance and get the lowest price (as the dealer will make some money from the finance arrangement so might lower the price) then at the last minute once price is agreed, change your mind to say your a cash buyer. Now I don’t know how effective that is.
When buying my last car, I went to the carwow website, where you get quotes from 5 dealers and pick the lowest. I then went to my nearest dealer and just said “beat that”. Which after a while they did. Although they didn’t agree straight away of course.
I don’t have any tricks that will save you thousands and I don’t think there’s a formula to save money. Pay what you’re happy with and DON’T compare savings with others, they might not remember correctly exactly what they saved…..
That’s about it from my how to buy a caravan guide, Just one more thing. So, you’ve set your budget, you’ve decided on a caravan and you’re ready to purchase. Well done, get ready for some excellent adventures. But wait. Remember earlier I mentioned about some additional costs? Well there are a number of things you’ll need for your first trip out. If you buy from a dealer you might be “given” (included in the price) a started pack. This would include an Aquaroll, waste container, maybe even a porch awning etc. If not, you need to conder the cost of the accessories needed.
You guessed it, I have an article to help you there too. No need to thank me, honest…
Have a look through my beginners section on the website.
You might also like my eBooks.