Campervan or caravan? We compare the pros and cons of each so that you can decide which is best for your road trip needs.

Campervan Or Caravan?

As current digital nomads, we’ve started to wonder if changing our vehicle would be a good idea. If you and your family are the touring type and are still using your everyday vehicle on trips, you have probably started looking at, or are considering the option of buying either a caravan or campervan as well.

While for some people both might seem interchangeable, there are some significant differences between the two.

winding asphalt road
Campervan or caravan? Which is better for your trip?

Your budget, camping needs, and the size of your party will all have an influence on which option would be better for you. There will also be some differences as far as insurance and regulation goes.

So, before you make a decision, it’s important that you look at all these factors first. Here’s a rundown of both options as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can make a wiser decision when choosing between a campervan or caravan.

What’s The Difference Between A Caravan And A Campervan?

The main difference between a caravan and a campervan is that a caravan is a separate unit that you hitch to your car, whereas campervans are standalone vehicles with their own engines, which have been manufactured for (or converted for) camping. Because of this distinction, both will have different benefits, but will also be viewed differently when it comes to legislation.

This van has been converted for camping
This van has been converted for camping

Side Note: Another option is trailer tents, which are similar to a caravan, but not as elaborate. They also tend to be cheaper and lighter.

Now let’s look at the different factors that could influence your decision and see which one, a campervan or caravan, would be better depending on your situation…

Do You Have Kids?

If you have kids, then a caravan might be the better option for a number of reasons. The main one is that you’ll have an actual detachable home with you everywhere you go. This might seem like a little thing, but if mom or dad need to run some errands, the kids can always stay back on site with the other parent. The caravan offers more flexibility, and allows the children to have their own separate area if they want to.

Campervan or caravan? Caravans offer more flexibility if you have kids
Caravans offer more flexibility if you have kids

What’s Your Budget?

If you’re on a budget, then it’s better to go with a caravan. You can have a fully equipped caravan for about half the price of a comparable campervan.

However, there are other costs you’ll have to consider besides the purchase price of the caravan.

For one, you’ll need to get a *C1+E* driver’s licence if you passed your test after January 1st 1997. It would also be a good idea to take out a separate insurance policy for the caravan, ideally one that covers the vehicle, the inhabitants, and the property inside.

Thankfully, there are ways that you can save on insurance. One is to use a caravan insurance comparison site. You can compare caravan insurance on Quotezone, for instance, who will connect you with a wide range of insurers. You’ll be able to find insurance for campervans and static caravans on this site as well, should you decide to go for one of those options.

How Much Freedom Do You Want?

Again, this depends on your lifestyle, but in most cases, a campervan will give you more freedom of movement. You won’t have to worry about tying and untying the van when you want to leave. Campervans can also handle a wider variety of terrains, though there are caravans that are made specifically for off-roading.

In addition, booking a ferry with a campervan is much simpler. It will count as a single vehicle while you’ll have to pay extra for a caravan.

Campervan or caravan? Campervans offer more freedom of movement
Campervans offer more freedom of movement

What About Storage?

Storage is also something you’ll have to consider. Your garage may not have space for a large campervan, but it could be big enough for small caravan. Campervans also tend to be higher, and you might not have the ceiling space necessary. But if you decide to go for a bigger caravan, you’ll have to factor in storage costs.

Driving Conditions

You should also know that both vehicles might need some getting used to. A small campervan might be easier to maneuver, but you’ll need some practice before you can handle larger vehicles.

Driving, both campervans and caravans, takes some getting used to
Driving, both campervans and caravans, takes some getting used to

The same goes for caravans. You’ll need to make sure that your vehicle can actually handle the size of the caravan. You’ll also have to be more careful when performing certain maneuvers, like reversing for example. But once you get the hang of it, both are basically the same after a while.

Pro Tip: Ready to get on the road? Check out our Road Trip Essentials, which include games, accessories, and even a printable checklist!

So… Campervan Or Caravan?

As you can see, both options have their share of pros and cons and your choice between a campervan or caravan will largely depend on what type of touring you want to do. Make sure that you look at both options in close detail and choose the one that will fit your needs the best. Happy caravanning or camping!

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Campervan or caravan? We compare the pros and cons of each so that you can decide which is best for your road trip needs.