When planning a holiday on the open road, making choices is part of the adventure. Left or right at the fork? Beach camping or bush? Sunset beers or sunrise hike? Before all that, one choice is paramount – should you buy a campervan or a motorhome?
Some use these terms interchangeably, but they’re actually very different beasts. Both have their pros and cons, so let’s explore those before you start shopping!
Facilities and Features
Motorhomes and campervans are not created equal when it comes to amenities.
A campervan is essentially a regular van, converted to allow you to sleep inside, which makes it rather basic.
You can do minimal cooking in the small kitchenette, and some models have a dinette, but when it comes to showers and toilets, you’ll be reliant on where you park up.
Their modular design is clever, no doubt, but some tire of the constant ‘converting’ that comes from having to turn the van into a living space.
Conversely, if you love your creature comforts, a motorhome might be more up your alley.
Motorhomes are purpose-built for comfort, with a kitted out kitchenette, living area, shower and toilet.
Buy on the higher end, and you might even enjoy luxuries like solar panels, barbecue, and, for the really fancy (or lazy), a dishwasher!
Having more onboard amenities means you’ve got more freedom when it comes to where you stop but remember – more moving parts does mean more things that can go wrong – there’s something to be said for simplicity when you’re miles from help!
Space and Comfort
Travel can bring us closer together – but that’s not always a good thing, which is why one of the bigger concerns for families planning to travel is how much space a vehicle has.
If you’ve got a bigger clan, or aren’t all outdoorsy, a motorhome would be a better investment, as they can comfortably sleep up to six.
Inside, there’s more room to walk about and the ‘tiny home’ layout is more conducive to relaxing together indoors.
On the other hand, there’s a good reason that those who are happy to make do with a blanket of stars often opt for a campervan.
The limited space and lack of separation between where you drive and where you rest mean you’re more likely to spend your downtime in nature than in the van, giving you the freedom to take the road less travelled.
So, if you’re a loved-up couple who like to get a bit closer to nature, a van, while smaller, might just be for you.
Driving and Accessibility
While liveability is important, so is driveability.
A campervan is built on a short wheelbase, making it easier to manoeuvre through narrow places.
That makes them good for less experienced adventurers – plus, they fit in regular car parks.
Aside from allowing you to access more remote areas, a van is also more likely to be welcome at more campsites.
A motorhome, on the other hand, has a long wheelbase and can be a touch trickier to wrangle, especially when it comes to reversing and turning.
The plus side is that they’re quite comfortable to drive, although increased braking distance does make them better in the hands of more experienced drivers.
Another thing to consider is where you want to explore in your vehicle.
Due to the height and width of a motorhome, some car parks and even some adventures will be out of reach, and you might even find you’re not welcome at some campsites!
That said, a motorhome is more of a ‘home away from home’, so it might not worry you so much.
What About Budget?
Unless you’re planning to buy a vintage VW that would make a collector green, campervans are, more often than not, the more wallet-friendly choice (for all the reasons above).
Basic models also tend to go easier on the gas – no small factor given fuel prices!
A campervan also fits in a regular garage. This isn’t the case with a motorhome, so when you’re not travelling you’ll need to factor in the costs of storage.
On top of that cost, motorhomes tend to be pricier upfront, especially when you add lots of facilities to them.
In addition to the vehicle cost when budgeting, think about things like rego and insurance, fuel and maintenance, as well as what it will cost to buy the camping gear you may need if you buy a van.
A good idea is to rent before you buy, to give yourself a feel for the driving and living experience before you commit.
By weighing how much money you have to spend against the number of passengers you have and your group’s travelling style, you’ll be able to make a better choice, and get behind the wheel of your ticket to freedom faster!
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.