Are you planning to buy a caravan? Then read these tips first. This way you avoid a bad purchase!
Well-known caravan brands
Before I tell you everything about caravans, it might be useful to give an overview of a number of well-known brands.
I'll just mention 5 of them here. Of course there are many more and these are not the only brands that are worthy of your trust.
Buy a caravan
Having your own camper van provides a lot of fun and relaxation. When you want to go on holiday, you don't have to look for an accommodation, but you can travel wonderfully in your own caravan. Of course there are a number of points that you should pay attention to when purchasing a caravan. It can also be an option in advance to think about renting instead of buying.
Buy or rent a caravan?
If you are still a bit hesitant about the purchase price, you can consider renting for a while first. In this way you can see whether caravan life suits you and then you can always proceed to buy a caravan yourself. Not sure what's best? I would like to give you a list of some pros and cons.
- You must take into account the times of the landlord when you want to pick up or return the camper.
- You often have to overload a lot of stuff at the beginning and at the end of the holiday.
- You don't have to worry about maintenance.
- You do not have to arrange storage.
- You may be able to take it over immediately after renting it. You know exactly whether the type and/or brand is right for you.
Do you think that renting is not really for you and would you rather immediately purchase your own camper van? Do you have no idea about the prices yet? I can already give you a small indication of this. If you go for one of the cheaper models, you should quickly count on around 10,000 euros for a new car. Of course there are additional costs.
Buy a caravan what to look out for
There are a number of points that you should pay very close attention to when you want to buy your own camper van.
Caravan buying tips:
- Think carefully about your price limit. If you see all kinds of caravans that you think are beautiful, you could be going beyond your own limits. This can cause annoying problems later on. You are probably not waiting for this. Therefore, determine in advance what your ultimate price is.
- Are you going camping alone, together or with the whole family? Would a family caravan be useful?
- Make a list of wishes in advance. If you look at models, you will see so much that there is a risk that you will no longer see the wood for the trees. Think in advance what is really a requirement and do not deviate from this.
- Think about which axle type you prefer.
- Look closely at the beds. Or rather, try them out. It would be a shame if the campervan is completely to your liking except for the beds. A good night's sleep is also important on holiday.
- Are you planning to travel throughout Europe? Or just stay at a campsite in the Netherlands all season?
Buy a caravan: ANWB
You will also find very good tips on the ANWB website. So if you want more information about buying, renting or maintaining your camper van, be sure to take a look there. ANWB Caravan
Now it can of course also be an option to opt for a second-hand caravan. Second-hand caravans are much cheaper than new models and they can often still be used. Some people buy a new cabin every few years. So you are all set as the next buyer. If you find this interesting, you can, for example, choose to buy a caravan on Marktplaats. The offer is huge and if you use handy search functions, you will find what you want fairly quickly.
Buy a mobile home
Do you prefer to stay in one location for years? Do you have a favorite campsite where you and your family are having a great time? Then you could also choose to buy a mobile home. This can also be new or used.
Used caravans do require extra attention and that is why I would like to point this out to you. Keep the following points in mind:
- refurbishing a caravan; is that what you want? If you are handy, this could be a great idea.
- Are you buying from a company or from a private individual?
- Always ask for the warranty card.
- Check the chassis number on the papers.
- Pay close attention to damage.
- If it smells musty inside, a moisture problem may play a role.
- Pay attention to the lifting system.
- Always take someone with you who is knowledgeable.
- Have the caravan inspected if necessary.
Buy a new caravan
Would you rather buy a new caravan? Then you can start searching. A fun job that you should definitely take the time for.
A useful website is the Caravan Buying Guide
Take the tips into account and choose a model that you can use for the time being.
When is the best time to buy a caravan?
When to buy a caravan?
I think this is the best choice for autumn. Dealers then know exactly what they have sold in the previous season and often they still have a number of models that they would like to sell at that time.
Of course, this gives you additional negotiation options. Does the price not play a big role? Then you can also buy a camper van at the beginning of the season. You will then certainly have the very latest model and can start using it soon.
These are often held at the beginning of the new year. If you want to visit a trade fair in 2018, keep an eye on the dates and get extensive information about buying a camper. A major advantage of visiting a trade fair is that you can view many different caravans at once.
It depends on your wishes, preferences and financial situation how you want to finance the camper. There are people who pay the amount in one go, but it is certainly possible to opt for a payment in installments. This can be arranged at various companies. A good caravan dealer can tell you all about it.
If you want to be able to camp undisturbed and carefree, take out good caravan insurance. You don't have to lie awake for a second and worry about a stolen or defective camper van. You can decide for yourself which cover you take and many people let this depend on the age and value of the car.
Have you gathered enough information at a holiday fair or elsewhere and do you want to buy a camper van? Then you will probably have to look for a dealer. Fortunately, caravan dealers are spread all over the country, so there is a good chance that there is also a dealer in your area.
Would you like to look at the weekend? Many caravan dealers open on Sundays. You can find out on the internet whether this is also the case at the dealer you want to visit.
Caravan companies sometimes like it when you make an appointment in advance. You can be sure that the seller has time for you. Of course you can always visit caravan companies without an appointment.
Buy a caravan in Germany
One option is to buy a caravan in Germany. Let me first say that it is a requirement that you have a command of the German language. Otherwise, it can become a chore. Or you take someone with you who can get along well in this language. It can certainly be lucrative to look beyond the borders, because the prices are sometimes a lot lower than with us in the Netherlands.
Here are a few tips and tricks:
- They are usually about 10% cheaper than in the Netherlands.
- The offer is large, so the chance of a bargain is likely.
- The formalities of the import will cost you about 200 euros.
- Be sure to check out the camper van.
- The original registration documents must be present.
- When collecting, please note that no German caravan may be transported behind a Dutch car.
- Don't forget the mirrors.
- Caravan transfer is not necessary in Germany.
Buy a caravan in Spain
You will not be the first to buy a motorhome in Spain. This often happens during the holiday itself. People are on the same campsite, start talking to each other and one thing leads to another. For example, a caravan is sometimes traded among themselves. You can also visit the dealer in Spain and select a camper van there. Always pay close attention to the caravan registration number.
Sell a caravan
Would you like to sell your caravan yourself? Then you would certainly like to know what you can calculate for the asking price. This is quite easy to find out by using the so-called price list. You can do that here: Price list
How does this work?
- Enter the brand, series and year of manufacture on the internet.
- You will immediately see a target price appear.
- This list of prices has been established by experts.
So much for a thing or two about buying and selling.
Now let's go inside the camper van. That's even more fun, right? That's what it's all about when you go on vacation. I mentioned the beds to you before, because it is really important to have good beds in the car. Which beds are available?
Caravan with bunk bed
Certainly if you opt for a family caravan, you will soon end up with a caravan with a bunk bed. This can be 1 or more beds. Often there is also a fixed bed where you can sleep yourself. An advantage is that children often just like bunk beds.
Caravan with French bed
If you are looking for places to sleep, you will probably come across the term "French bed". What this means is the following: in a French bed, the corners of the mattress are cut off. This has to do with the fact that a bed in the camper is always smaller than at home and must fit exactly. Your normal mattress from home will probably not fit in the caravan bed. If you choose a French bed, this means that the mattresses are a bit smaller. The mattresses can always be made exactly to measure for you. The French bed is a double bed that is always placed in the longitudinal direction.
Some of the advantages of this type of bed are:
- Space saving.
- Gives a spatial effect.
- The bed is always placed low, which makes getting in and out extra easy.
Caravan with queen bed
A Queen bed is a double bed that is placed lengthwise and is completely separate from the side walls. So you can walk along the bed on both sides. You do need quite a bit of space in the bedroom for this.
There is often a lot of uncertainty about caravan mirrors. I would like to give you some important information point by point:
- Right exterior mirror is not required.
- When purchasing, note that they can be adjusted in width.
- It is very important that the mirrors are good and that you have a good view. Therefore, take a test drive before you buy the mirrors.
The caravan tires are extremely important. Always keep a close eye on whether the tires need to be replaced. Usually this is after about six years. But the way in which you handle the camper and the way in which it is stored largely determine the time when you have to replace the tires.
You certainly don't feel like a burglary during your holiday, do you? Especially at the campsite it can easily happen that you leave the car for a while to, for example, walk to the swimming pool or the canteen. It would be very annoying if you find that some things have been stolen from your camper when you return. Always close the door properly and use a caravan lock. They are available in all shapes and sizes. There is also a so-called caravan drawbar lock. With this lock you prevent them from running away with the entire caravan.
You may not immediately think of a caravan heater when it comes to camping. Nevertheless, this can really be a pleasant addition to your camper. A heater is certainly indispensable when you camp all year round. Most caravans already have a heater built into them. This is often a Truma gas heater.
The major advantages of this stove are:
- He doesn't need power.
- Radiates heat to the front.
- The stove is very safe.
- It is an economical stove with a particularly high efficiency.
Most holidaymakers use their own car as a caravan tractor. If you would like to know whether your car is also suitable for this, please visit the ANWB website. There you can easily calculate the possibilities.
An important rule is the 75% rule. This means that the weight of the caravan may not exceed 75% of the weight of the car. Both are loaded in this case. So pay close attention to the caravan weight. In principle, any car can tow a camper. Of course some cars have more trouble with it than others. Especially steep slopes can sometimes make it difficult for the car.
The following points play a role in the pulling power of a passenger car:
- The engine speed.
- The tire size.
- The gearbox
- The final drive
Are you also careful with your camper? Where do you leave it when you are not camping? Good caravan storage extends the lifespan considerably. I would like to give you some important tips.
- Before storing it, remove all food items. You shouldn't think about mice and other vermin in your car, right?
- Thoroughly clean the car inside and out. This also provides a lot of convenience when you want to use the camper again.
- Covered parking is best.
- Should you have to deal with damage, it is important to be able to fall back on a good insurance policy.
- Gas cylinders must be stored in a special room.
- Compare the rates of the various parking facilities, because the mutual differences are large.
- Do you have a caravan mover? Then remove the battery and put it on the trickle charger at home.
A caravan awning is particularly useful when you want to go camping. Caravan awnings are available in many different types and models.
Here are some practical tips:
- Check whether there are good ventilation options. This is very important with an awning.
- Always use a frame tensioner. This way you can tension the tent poles perfectly.
- If you mainly go camping in the early and late season, really choose all-season tent cloth.
- Are you planning to stay in one place all summer or do you regularly pick up things to move on? This is important to know before purchasing an awning.
- If you are going to dismantle and clean up the tent, make sure that it is completely dry at all times.
- How important is it to you to have plenty of living space? There are small, but also very large awnings for sale.
- Do you plan to do a lot of cooking in the awning? Then choose a PVC tent roof.
- Buy a tent that can be expanded later.
- Always protect a new tent with a good impregnating agent. That extends the lifespan.
Certainly if you are still a beginner in the field of camping and want to purchase a caravan for the first time, there are probably some caravan parts that you are unfamiliar with. I would like to lift a corner of the veil, so that you are better prepared.
Caravan nose wheel
A caravan nose wheel is important when coupling and uncoupling. This wheel also makes it easier to move the cart.
Caravan with lifting roof
A caravan with a lifting roof is a special model. It is usually lower than many other caravans and the roof can be folded up once you have arrived at your destination.
Caravan air conditioning
If your caravan has been standing in the blazing sun all day, you will probably long for some cooling and you will be very happy with a caravan air conditioning. It is also very difficult for many people to fall asleep when it is hot and stuffy. An air conditioner certainly offers a solution. Are you unsure whether or not you want to purchase air conditioning?
Here are the pros and cons for you at a glance.
Advantages air conditioning:
- Always nice and cool. Even during hot days and sultry nights.
- You can sleep much better and therefore enjoy your holiday to the fullest.
- The weight of your caravan increases.
- Air conditioners make noise.
- Often you have to miss a window if you take an air conditioner.
Caravan bike carrier
It is often said that bicycles are better transported by car than by caravan. Nevertheless, a caravan bicycle carrier is certainly also possible.
A disadvantage of cycling on the back of your camper is that it can reduce driving safety. If you nevertheless opt for this method, pay particular attention to the nose weight. This will probably mean that you have to think carefully about how to distribute the luggage in the caravan.
I would like to pass on a few points that you can check. If that's all in order, you could take the bikes on the back.
- Never drive faster than 90 km/h.
- The empty caravan already has a high noseweight.
- You have experience driving a camper van.
- There is sufficient carrying capacity.
- The luggage compartment in the back is empty.
Caravan gas bottle
When you go camping with the caravan, a gas bottle is really indispensable. How about an evening barbecue? Or even when you want to prepare the normal daily meal?
There are of course always other fun, handy, funny and interesting caravan gadgets to be found. Here are a few:
- herring puller.
- Table feet to keep the table stable.
- A handy collapsible bucket is ideal for camping.
- A flexible clothesline with pegs.
- Caravan fridge. Is certainly indispensable and may not really belong to the gadgets.
Caravan driver's license
If your caravan is not too heavy, you can drive it if you have a B driving license. Above 3500 kilos this is no longer the case and you have to take a BE exam.
A caravan inspection is not yet mandatory, but for your own safety I recommend that you have this done every three years. If there are major or minor defects, these will be revealed during the inspection and this can sometimes prevent accidents. You can have the caravan inspected at various locations.
A caravan definitely requires maintenance. You can arrange a lot of things yourself, but it is certainly a good idea to take the caravan for a major service every few years.
Some tips and tricks when it comes to caravan maintenance:
- Think of the moisture measurement.
- When cleaning, you can use special cleaning agents. You can wash the camper in the same way as you are used to with your car.
- Do not use a pressure washer.
- Have the tires and brakes checked.
- Caravan cushions that are worn can usually be replaced by a specialist.
Also don't forget to treat the awning.
You can of course use the normal navigation, but a special caravan navigation is much more convenient. This takes exactly into account the size of the camper.
Are you completely addicted to camping with your caravan? Then you will certainly find fellow sufferers on the caravan forum. It is nice to exchange experiences with each other. If you are new to caravans, you will find a lot of valuable and practical information on such a forum.
I would like to conclude with a handy caravan checklist. Make your profit with it I would say:
- Check the weight of the loaded caravan before departure.
- Check the tire pressure when the caravan is still cold.
- Look at the bullet pressure.
- Are all cupboard doors and the like closed when you drive?
- Is the jockey wheel fully turned up?
- Are the mirrors in the correct position?
Buy folding trailer
Are you still a bit unsure about the caravan and are you considering buying a folding trailer? That way you can also enjoy a nice holiday. A folding trailer is, as it were, an intermediate form between a tent and a caravan. Just a bit more luxurious than a tent and just a bit more camping and managing than in a caravan.
Have a look here: Rent or buy a folding trailer?