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Buying a caravan for the family


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Caravanning is a fun way to spend time with the family and introduce children to the great outdoors. There is the freedom of travelling from campsite to campsite and the luxury of taking a mini version of your home on the road. But what should you consider before buying a caravan for the family?

Think About Your Car

It’s important to match any caravan to your car so you can tow it safely. A basic rule is the heavier the car, and the lighter the caravan the safer it will be. It is recommended that the weight of the caravan with its contents should not exceed 85% of the car’s weight when it is unloaded. This process is called ‘outfit matching’ and something The Caravan Club can help with if you are unsure. If your car is small, you can always chose a smaller model and supplement it with an awning or a tent.

Do Your Research

There are many models available so look into what’s on offer and what’s best for your family. Caravan shows are great places to see different models and compare them. For security, make sure any caravan you buy is registered with CRiS, a caravan registration and identification scheme. All models made from 1992 onwards have a seventeen digit VIN number to identify it.

Consider Your Needs

Think about who’ll be using the caravan. How many berths will it need, can you use an awning for additional bed space if friends and relatives come to stay? Also, don’t be afraid to try out any beds for length and comfort to make sure the adults fit on them. When thinking about kitchen space, is there enough room to cook without being bumped into, and is the height of the cupboards and appliances suitable. Make sure also that the toilet space is large enough for the adults using it.

Load it Right

buying a caravanOne of the beauties of having a caravan is being able to take some of your own things on holiday, but this doesn’t mean you can fill it to the rafters. There are rules to follow when loading. Check the amount you can carry in the caravan (payload allowance) in the handbook.
Exceeding the weight limits is an offence. An easy way to check if you have too much stuff onboard is to take your packed caravan to a weighbridge.

Agree a Budget

Set yourself a realistic budget not forgetting that you’ll need a little more money for all the extras. An awning, caravan mover, and a water carrier are some of the basic extras you may need and will push up the overall cost. Where to buy from is also a consideration. A local dealer may be more convenient if you need to go back to sort out any problems. There are extra checks to be made if buying a used caravan. Checking around pumps and sinks will establish if there have been any leaks into cupboard spaces. Gas equipment should be checked and you can ask to see electricity inspection certificates. Look for corrosion underneath the caravan and make sure the wheels are not too worn. Five years is the maximum safe life.

NCC Approval

For extra piece of mind check if your tourer is approved by the National Caravan Council. Approved vehicles display a badge which means it complied with all relevant European and UK health and safety standards when it was built.




About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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