Could you switch from a caravan to a motorhome?

Published in Caravan Reviews, Motorhome Reviews on   - 23 Comments

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  1. Rachael. says:

    We always camped in a tent until we hired a caravan for a week one year to see if we liked it and then the next year hired a motor home for a week to see if we liked that. We preferred the motor home experience and then bought a brand new motor home the following year. That was sixteen years ago. We still have that motor home and have been all over France, Germany, Spain and Belgium in it and also Scotland, Wales and England. It is a coach built eighteen feet four inches in length and we sleep on the benches with the cab seats turned around so it becomes two single beds. We use sleeping bags. I don’t know why people think it is such a pain to make up a bed every night. That said, when we stay on a campsite in France for two to three weeks at a time, we leave or beds made up as we eat outside and live outside most of the day. Caravans have their pluses but I live our motor home and won’t give it easily. Happy Camping everyone. Oh, the best advice we were ever given when buying camping equipment was “ Keep it simple” and that is something we live by.

  2. Steve says:

    We have just had this conversation whilst staying in Cornwall. We currently have a Chausson Best of 22 2014 which we have had from one year old. It has fixed bunk beds at the back (bottom folds up to create large garage space), its low profile with the main bed coming down electrically from the roof (the main reason for buying this over any other motorhome was I din’t fancy the ballache of making up beds each night). So i can put the kids to sleep at the back and still stay up and watch tv or have a glass of wine then just click a button and the bed comes down. The seating area is just behind the drivers position with captains chairs making seating for 6 and the seating converts to another double bed so can sleep 6 if needed. We also have a vango airbeam sapera11 driveaway awning which gives us much more living space and stops the kids trashing the interior of the motorhome. I thought this a perfect setup but we have tended to holiday so far in the Uk as kids still young and as such have brought our transporter so that its easier to get out and about rather than detaching from the awning and then trying to find somewhere we can park with the motorhome. The using of two vehicles has made us think of a change to caravan and have had a quick look at what’s out there 6 birth and we have taken a shine to the swift elegance 655 which is top of the range with bunk beds and a pull down double from the wall (again ideal as I don’t want to be making beds every night). The extra room has nearly sold it for us and the extra space would mean not having to set up so much outside. However on reading it seems it might actually take more time than currently is the case with water etc. Also for a 5 year old motorhome which is in (admittedly) very good condition would mean I could sell that and still be a few grand in pocket after buying a £30k caravan. However what has pulled me back from this is a number of reasons 1 depreciation, as I say the motorhome at 5 years old is still worth £35k whilst a brand new caravan of same value would lose money much quicker 2, As the kids get older I’m sure we will do more touring on the continent which I’m not sure a caravan would be as suited to and 3 and more importantly I am currently about to go see a concert in Cardiff whereby I cannot get any accommodation for less than £350 for the night so I am taking the motorhome and just staying in a car park with my buddy, there’s no way I could do that with a caravan.Also my little girl is doing really well at swimming and is in the local swimming team. I am sure that when she starts competing rather than having to book hotel accommodation I can just use the motorhome and stay on site. It would be great to have the extra space and the flexibility of the transporter without having to pay for two tanks of gas but in the long term I’ve decided this is by far the better option for us.

  3. Peter says:

    Security is something to keep in mind. We have had both over a period of some 40 years, going from one to another as the mood took us. However just recently our VW campervan was broken into in Spain and they cleaned us out.
    The point here being that with a motorhome you have everything with you, and if you are touring on an extended trip, that can be quite a lot of expensive gear!
    With a caravan you can leave stuff on a (relatively) secure campsite, and go off in your car without all your possessions with you.
    However the thieves, know what to expect in a motorhome with foreign plates, parked near a beach!
    You can’t take everything with you when you go on the beach, or to a market or even out for a meal!
    You pays yer money and takes yer choice!!

    • Liz @ Caravan Guard says:

      Thanks for sharing your story Peter and very sorry to hear of the theft you experienced.

  4. Jay says:

    I’ve had both, currently own a small newish caravan.
    However a plus for the motorhomers not mentioned yet is that of late departures. Some sites let you leave late for a small fee, but on the last two occasions we wanted to do this required relocating our pitch as ours had been booked. Easy for a motor home, hassle for the caravan.

  5. Nick says:

    I believe that the motorhome versus caravan argument is pointless. There needs to be an acceptance that the two serve very different functions. Essentially, if you are touring from place to place, the motorhome will probably serve you best as the journey is basically linear. However, choosing a convenient spot from which to visit many places might allow you to think of your caravan as the hub of a wheel with spokes radiating outwards to different locations using your tow vehicle. So, cut according to your cloth and try not to let envy to lead you into wanting something that may be inappropriate to your needs.

  6. Heather Spath says:

    We are loving our Paradise Motorhome and travelling Australia.
    Finding conversations whilst driving are rather difficult due more to engine noise than “rattles and shakes” in cupboards. Thinking of finding headphones to use so we can have conversations with out constantly repeating ourselves. I guess if this is our only problem in our motor homing lives we should not complain.

  7. Glenys says:

    We are about to change from caravan to our first motorhome, we want to use this to tour France, Spain etc and enjoy our retirement, we did notice in southern Spain last year, there were motorhomes to be seen in a lot of beach areas, but hardly any caravans on the roads.

  8. Kate Fox says:

    We have just changed our Freedom caravan for a Peugeot Boxer Avantgarde motor home and are off in it for the first time later this week to a main Caravan Club site, so that if we get stuck with anything we can cry help!! Our main want was swivel seats as we both have bad backs and found caravan seats uncomfortable for longer periods. Have noted the comments about packing things and will no doubt be re-arranging stuff for weeks to come!!!!

  9. Terry Lloyd,Motorhoming 3years. says:

    Having read all the comments it was not pointed out that if you tow a small car behind a Motorhome you have the economy of a small car when you have reached your site plus the luxury or reclining swivel seats something a caravan does not have.

  10. David Goad says:

    We started out with a caravan years ago and then switched to a VW Trident camper van. Sold this and then purchased a 4 berth camper van. Sold that and have now purchased a 4 berth swift caravan. Prefer the caravan because it is a home on wheels. Once set up the towing vehicle becomes the convenient transport to view an area. The modern caravan design means that you are no longer dependant on site facilities. Ours has a super end bathroom and a bed in which we sleep more comfortably than our bed at home. It tows beautifully behind our Mondeo and proves to be quite economical to pull. Despite having modern facilities the last camper van was cramped inside in comparison to the caravan and restrictive when travelling along narrow roads in places like Wales, Lake District and the West Country. Many car parks have height restriction barriers. The camper van can give you a false sense of security. We have just had some friends return from a trip to Wales where late one evening they were parked on the seafront and a large group of youths ( if that is the correct expression) exited the nearby pub and as a means of providing themselves with a bit of fun grabbed hold of the skirt on one side of the van and proceeded to rock it violently. This caused them extreme stress and damaged that side of the van. The following day they were travelling down a narrow beach road and a white van man was travelling in the opposite direction at speed and the white van’s mirror hit the corner of the camper van, denting it. As a consequence our friend has had to spend £1,800 having it repaired. This whole episode ruined their trip to Wales and it is unlikely that they will ever return. I wonder if those same youths are wondering why no jobs are being created in the welsh tourist businesses!! How much safer to park your caravan on a secure site. Those youths would not have thought about doing this to a car! The economics of a caravan are better than a camper van. No VEL, insurance is cheaper (unless you use the camper van for your daily use at home), and maintenance costs are higher in all respects.

  11. Pauline Seaden says:

    Yes we are considering changing from a caravan to a motorhome when my husband retires. I am the one that drives and no longer want to tow a caravan.

  12. Bernadette Downes says:

    Still pondering over it

  13. Chris Kingdon says:

    My wife and I are sitting here having this very debate at present and our Fiat Ducato van may soon be traded for a fixed bed caravan. This appears to be the wife’s main motivator for change, as for longer holidays converting the bed morning and night is a pain. Also we would like to be able to leave the site and explore local villages etc. this is definitely easier for caravan owners but having said that I do feel it is safer in the motorhome on longer journeys.

  14. Brenda Norbury says:

    We started with towing caravans with the children – great
    Then my husband took a caravan and lived in it while doing a University Course for a year
    My son went to boarding school and we used to take the ‘van up on Visiting Sundays – a Godsend – you had somewhere warm and cosy – you could cook lunch and if the weather was awful (which it was up on the moors) you could get the Scrabble out in your own little world
    Then we had statics… this meant renting out to pay the expenses and hours of cleaning at start and finish of the season – but it paid for our own holidays – eventually it was too much work
    Then we hired various holiday cottages and statics
    Then my husband became ill and I am a full-times carer needing somewhere to escape – so I bought something I had always fancied – a small motorhome (Nu-Venture Surf with a loo- essential) now on days when I have a carer in I have a comfortable space to go – which is MINE – I can drive it off on good days and park up on the Common, have a cup of tea, listen to CD’s – even take a friend (when someone has dementia your friends are not always so keen to visit you at home) I also did a deal with my son – he can borrow it and in return he comes and looks after his Dad while I go off – just me and the dog. Usually Adults Only Parks – I can sleep the clock round and re-charge my batteries – great. I keep it charged up by driving it to Tesco’s (10miles away) – If you have far-flung friends you can meet half-way – use your m’home to sleep in and use their car to tour round – brilliant.

  15. Gordon Beeson says:

    I have taken on board the previous comments of ‘both sides’. I was a motorhomer for 17 years, and my last one (of five) was an awe inspiring Carthago, something I’d dreamt of and eventually achieved in owning, at a considerable cost (boys and toys!). I agree with all the various points of view, but my main differences, now that I have transferred ‘over to’ (but not ‘down to’) a Bessacarr Cameo 625 caravan, being towed by my BMWx5, is not necessarily the differences of being on site as much as getting to the site. From the cockpit of the motorhome one had a much better vista of the surroundings, and by and large the journey felt ‘safer’. With 2 dogs, howerver, the fixed dining table in the Carthago was a distinct dissadvantage regarding freedom of movement and many site owners were none to friendly to the vans size and weight when parking. Overall, and taking into account the freedom of a car at the base, we are greatly enjoying our caravan and do not miss the motorhome with it’s luxury, and it is much easier now to explore the local towns and countryside, whereas before we would be only be able to pass through….and my bank balance is now much more favourable. Been there, done that!

  16. Andy says:

    We have moved between campervans and caravans over the years, both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
    We like the size of a caravan on site but hate towing it. Also, when you are working, a weekend away can be difficult to do on the hop. We found that by the time we get home, load up the car, down to the storage yard and hitch up, we were lucky to get on site before 9pm and lots of sites close the office early, then so you are left on the late night arrivals area.
    With a campervan (we have a Autosleeper Duetto high top) you can get up on a Saturday morning, jump in the van and off you go, book in to your chosen site, visit the local attractions and come back to the site later in the day.
    Sunday morning instead of packing up as with a caravan and going straight home, you can go off in your campervan for the day, stop off en route and enjoy a full day out. We also use ours for day trips, we have our own facities whatever the weather.
    There are merits both ways, but we use ours all the time. It is a second car that we can park outside our house unlike a caravan, we have stayed in friends gardens overnight after a party and used it a additional bedroom for ourselves when we have had a house full.
    Biggest disadvantage is cost of buying, but take a decent sized car and a caravan and you are near the price of a secondhand campervan.

  17. mike Elliott says:

    used to drive furniture vans and in windy weather it was like sailing a yacht so I like a stable ride,which I get in my 20 ftAutosleeper motorhome.I agree that both sides in this ongoing saga have good points to fight their corner with but at the end it comes down to what your comfortable using.My van is small enough to go where ever a car goes and parks well as long as I am considerate of others.One thing we can all agree on is that we all have a great time getting out and about and meeting each other. have fun.

  18. paul says:

    Interesting, got a caravan as couldn’t afford a motorhome anyway.
    You can get a decent new car and decent new caravan and still have a few grand to spare for the price of a decent SECOND hand motorhome – thats a crucial point!
    Reversing is another plus for the motorhome though, most stressfull part of caravanning for me. That said I could get a motormover installed and still be quids in with the motorhome comparison.

  19. Eric Tress says:

    I have just returned to a caravan after spending 20 years with a motorhome. When traveling with my motorhome in France and Spain and any part of europe for that matter the facilities of aires and municiple camp sites are within the towns and villages so the need to use the motorhome for siteseeing or shopping is not required but this year we decided to holiday in England and found that 70% of the campsites that we used were
    out of towns and in inaccessable places so the need for a car or some form of transport of our own was the only answer so we changed back to a caravan.

  20. Stuart says:

    Caravan for me every time thanks. Don’t see the point of driving the caravan and towing a tiny car. Much rather have my Range Rover with me when I get there. One less thing to tax and MOT as well.
    Not that some motorhomes aren’t exceedingly luxurious though. The posh ones are tempting sometimes but ultimately I always come down to the same decision.

  21. Richard says:

    We tow a bailey caravan with a camper which is used as our car
    No problem parking and we can go off in the camper for a spell without the caravan
    So we have the best of both worlds
    The camper is as easy to drive as a car
    and takes all the STUFF my wife NEEDS including the kitchen sink

  22. Ray says:

    I have done the opposite (motorhome to caravan) and for me thats the best mainly because unless you have a small car on tow or a scooter its a lot of hassel winding in the electric cable putting everything away and still have to level on return but with a caravan set it up then go off in the tow car,anyway why would you have a motorhome towing a car, might just as well tow the caravan

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