Nothing beats hitting the open road in a caravan.
Sleeping under the stars, exploring the coast or the bush, swapping stories with new friends… what could be better?
Nowadays, there are some super swanky vans on the market that rival the mod cons of permanent homes, but do you need to buy new to be happy?
Before we explore Australia, let’s explore the pros and cons of buying new versus buying used.
Why Buy New?
Peace of Mind
Buying a new caravan (almost) guarantees you a smooth ride in terms of condition.
Being the first owner means you avoid problems like rust, or the van having been damaged in an accident. Plus, a manufacturer or dealer warranty means you can sleep soundly wherever you roam.
Of course, you do pay for the privilege, and you can’t assume that new means perfect. Even with a van fresh from a dealer, it’s your responsibility to ask questions and check it over.
Making it “Your Own”
When you buy new, you get to choose everything from the colour to the fit-out.
Picking your layout is practical, and no one can deny that making your home away from home your own feels great.
One drawback to consider, though, is that not every feature is essential. If more van means less adventure, pare back on your dream detailing.
After all, there’s no point leaving your dream in the driveway – especially since a new caravan depreciates by almost 40% within the first two years!
New vans come with all kinds of bells and whistles.
From surround sound stereo to voice-activated smart systems, new tech turns a home on wheels into a hotel on steroids.
While it’s tempting to pimp your ride, the best advice is to not get carried away.
Not only do luxuries drive up the price, they mean more maintenance and higher insurance premiums.
Besides, there’s beauty in ‘roughing it’!
Why Buy Used?
The obvious upshot of buying anything pre-loved is getting a bargain.
You can generally save thousands in upfront costs by buying a used caravan – money that can go to purchasing gear or funding your next adventure.
Plus, depreciation is slower and lower, having been shouldered by the original owner.
Just be aware that upfront cost is only one expense – if you don’t do your homework, you could be stuck with a costly lemon!
Testing The Road
If you’re new to caravanning, buying used makes good sense.
For a lower initial investment, you can get a feel for the travel and gauge what upgrades you need, and see who in the family is actually keen to keep road tripping.
Plus, an old van is kind of ‘comfy’. If you misjudge a road surface or the van takes a bump, it won’t matter quite so much.
Bonus Bits and Bobs
When you inherit a van, you of course have to be extra vigilant about the bugs you might inherit, but what about the good bits?
A used van is likely to have been improved by the past owner and may come with extra essentials like water tanks, a spare battery, or navigation equipment.
Caravanning is a labour of love, too, so the past owner likely got the van in great driving shape.
Just make sure added extras aren’t the seller’s way of offloading any white elephants – especially when it comes to safety gear.
The Bottom Line
Beyond deciding whether to buy new or used – both of which have pros and cons – there are lots to consider when you’re contemplating buying a caravan.
Where you’ll go, who’ll join you, where you’ll park it, how much weight your car can tow and how far your budget can stretch – it all matters.
By working all this out before you go shopping, you’ll be closer to making your dream a reality.
Plus, you’ll have a better sense of whether you want that secondhand charm or showroom shine!
If you’re looking to upgrade your caravan, camper, boat or 4WD, get a 30 second quick quote on finance with CreditOne – Australia’s best rated finance broker.