Owning a caravan seems to be all the rage now due to their idyllic charm and the freedom they offer, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, let’s not overlook the drawbacks. And answer the question, what are the disadvantages of a caravan?
The disadvantages of a caravan are:
– You need a towing car
– Loading weight is limited
– Hassle to maneuver
– Campsite park fees
– Storage space required
– Limited space
Let’s continue and dive deeper into the disadvantages of a caravan (touring/ RV trailer and static caravan) and, of course, also the pros of a caravan.
Disadvantages Of A Caravan
While both static and touring caravans have their perks, they are, by no means, ideal in every way. First, let’s define the difference between the two types of caravans.
A static caravan is a complete house setup without the standard brick-and-mortar. This is ideal if you’re looking for a relatively economical holiday home that can contain all modern-day luxuries.
A touring caravan is a mobile home with wheels hooked to another vehicle so it can be towed. This is perfect if you are a travel enthusiast and prefer to have your own little accommodation space with you when you are on and off the road.
Let’s take a closer look and find out more about each type of caravan and its disadvantages.
Disadvantages Of A Touring Caravan/ RV Trailer
As all good things have their drawbacks, so do touring caravans. Here are the disadvantages of a touring trailer:
1) You Need A Towing Car
A touring caravan needs to be towed when you want to explore and travel. Depending on the caravan’s size and weight, you must ensure that your car has a powerful engine. If your car engine is not strong enough, it will not be able to tow your caravan, or you’ll have difficulty maneuvering on the road.
Buying a touring caravan may actually not be worth it at all if you have to end up having to change your car as well, which makes the entire process more costly. Make sure you know the amount you can tow with your car or are aware of the extra costs of buying a towing car with your caravan. Perhaps renting a towing car or loaning a car from a friend for a couple of weeks in the year you travel with your caravan can save you a lot of money.
2) Hassle To Maneuver
Not everyone likes to tow a caravan. Some find it stressful to drive this way and have difficulty driving through narrow streets, cities, and parking it. This is something to consider because most people like to have a relaxing holiday and don’t want the extra stress a caravan can bring. It is definitely a hassle to maneuver in the beginning if you don’t have experience. It gets better with every mile you drive.
And there are also people who love it and see it as part of their travel adventure. You have to check in which category you fall. Or you can go for a test drive and see if it’s something you see yourself doing easily. You can also book driving lessons to practice towing a caravan or RV trailer that is not yours.
3) Loading Weight Is Limited
A caravan is made of lightweight material so that it can be towed. Every caravan has a maximum loading weight, which isn’t a lot in many cases. An RV trailer can carry more weight than a small European touring caravan. Many caravan owners weigh their luggage or bicycles roughly to see if they don’t exceed the loading weight of their caravan.
It is a bit of an exploration to see what you can put in your caravan because too much heavy luggage, such as outdoor sports material, bicycles, etc., can make your caravan too heavy.
When a caravan is overweight, it becomes unbalanced and can be dangerous on the road. Also, a heavy caravan causes unnecessary strain on the chassis and running gear, causing them to wear down far more quickly.
Also, the distribution of the weight is sometimes a puzzle. The extra luggage in the caravan or RV trailer must be evenly distributed. This way, the caravan is nicely balanced, and you don’t exceed your car’s maximum nose weight, which is the maximum vertical pressure that can be put on the towbar. And affects the handling of the car-caravan combination.
Another rule you must take into account with towing a caravan is the 85% rule which helps to tow safely if you don’t have any experience. The 85% rule states that the fully laden weight of the caravan or trailer should not be more than 85% of the kerb weight of the tow car.
The calculation for this is: Kerb Weight Of Car X 0.85 = Towing Weight Limit
You can use this towing capacity calculator to help you out. Or watch this video below that explains a lot about everything I just mentioned above.
According to caravan dealers, the average lifespan of a touring caravan is around 15 years. It can be a lot longer in the right hands and with proper maintenance, but you can expect depreciation, which is a shorter lifespan than a static caravan or mobile home that is often a bit more ruggedly built. And in the right hands, it can last 20 – 30 years or even longer. Also, caravans tend to depreciate faster than motorhomes.
5) Campsite Park Fees
Most caravans are not made to go off-grid. You depend on electricity and a place to empty your toilet and catch fresh water. Traveling with a caravan means that you pitch your caravan at campsite parks, and depending on the season, this can be costly. If you travel in high season, you can expect to pay the highest rates, or you can consider getting a seasonal pitch which saves you a lot of money. But also comes with its disadvantages.
6) Restrictions On Parking
Parking your touring caravan can be a hassle when you are not using it. You can not just park your trailer in your driveway for an extended period, as many society councils have rules and regulations prohibiting you from doing this.
Moreover, your neighbors might also object to parking your caravan in your driveway as it may cause noise or obstruction of peace, resulting in them filing a complaint against you.
7) Storage Space Required
If you can’t park your caravan or RV trailer in your driveway, you will have to store it in a storage facility. Keeping your caravan in a storage facility isn’t free, and the fees depend on the location of the yard and the security facilities they provide.
This is an added cost after your initial investment when you bought the caravan, and it can be expensive to keep your caravan and RV trailer in storage for months or even years.
8) Campsites Closing During Winters
The other option for storing your touring caravan when you are not taking it out on the road is keeping it parked at a caravan campsite park. However, the issue with this is that, generally, caravan campsites are seasonal and close during the winter.
This means that you will have to move your caravan when the campsite park closes and figure out another location to store your caravan or RV trailer. Moreover, this is not the most affordable option since campsite parking will cost you.
9) Limited Space
Every caravan layout is well thought out, including storage space, but keep in mind that the storage space is limited. And also, a touring caravan is less spacious. Often an awning is an extra extension to create more space since a caravan is small.
Disadvantages Of A Static Caravan
Below, we’ve listed a number of disadvantages when it comes to owning a static caravan:
A caravan can cost anywhere from $5000 to $50000, depending on the brand, model, and size. Depending on the specs, a new static caravan is between $30,000 to $120,000. Therefore the price is a big disadvantage of a static caravan.
2) Caravan Campsite Charges
You must pay the site fee when you park your static caravan at a campsite or holiday park. These fees depend on the location and facilities they are providing. Moreover, holiday campsite parks may sometimes require you to pay maintenance fees for the park’s upkeep.
3) Special Transportation Required For Towing
Staying at a fixed location has its benefits, but when moving from one place to another, special transport is required to tow a static caravan as you can not hook it to your car. Moving a static caravan does not come cheap, and it can be a rather tedious process.
4) Maintenance And Servicing Expenses
Since your static caravan is exposed to sunlight, wind, dust, and other elements, getting them serviced every year is essential.
A trailer service can range from $200 – $400. If you are under warranty with your trailer manufacturer, you must keep your maintenance history to get accepted for any warranty claims in the near future.
Though caravan services are not mandatory, it is recommended that your trailer has an underlying issue so that it can be identified and fixed immediately. If you do not get your caravan serviced from time to time, it may end up causing you a lot of trouble.
5) Double Social Life
Many people who use a static caravan or mobile home live two different lives. They spend time at home, and when they’re free, they go to their second home, their static caravan. And make friends with their neighbors on the campsite and end up with two social calendars to keep up, which you feel torn when different social events occur simultaneously.
6) Stuck In One Place
A static caravan is like an extra holiday home you park at a campsite for many years. Moving a static caravan isn’t that easy, which means you’re stuck in one place. Owning a static caravan can be boring if you like to travel and explore.
Summary Of Disadvantages – Static And Touring Caravans
|Cons of Static Caravans
|Cons of Touring Caravans
|Relatively expensive to buy
|You Need A Towing Car
|Caravan campsite charges overhead
|Hassle To Maneuver
|Special transportation is required for towing
|Loading Weight Is Limited
|Maintenance and Servicing expenses
|Restrictions On Parking
|Double Social Life
|Storage Space Required
|Stuck In One Place
Pros Of A Caravan: Static And Touring
Having explored the drawbacks of both static and touring caravans, it is important to complete the picture with the advantages of both.
Advantages Of A Touring Caravan/ RV Trailer
Here is a list of all the advantages of a touring caravan:
1) Freedom and Flexibility
One of the biggest benefits of owning a touring caravan is the freedom and flexibility that comes with it. There are endless options for you to travel and explore. You can stay in one place for as long as you like and leave whenever you want since it is your accommodation and there are no rules for when you want to pack up and leave.
Exploring and discovering new spots and places at your own pace, without any restrictions, makes buying a touring trailer worth your while.
2) Easy To Tow
Though the name may say touring, these types of caravans actually cannot function as moving vehicles since they do not have a motor or engine. So a touring caravan needs to be transported by another vehicle.
However, a touring caravan is extremely easy to tow. All you need to do is ensure that your trailer is loaded correctly and take care to maintain a consistent, albeit slower, speed. This way, you can move your home away from home whenever you want.
Staying in a touring caravan is much cheaper than staying at a hotel or a guest house. Using your accommodation only entails paying the campsite pitch fee, and most pitches are priced as low as under $20, depending on the season of the year. These caravan campsite parks also offer security and resources like electricity and water.
Advantages Of A Static Caravan
Here are the most notable benefits of owning a static caravan:
The first and most significant advantage of a static caravan over a touring one is that it’s more spacious and comfortable. Generally, a static caravan has two to four bedrooms, allowing you to accommodate your entire family.
Most static caravans have a living area that is centrally heated and a fully fitted kitchen space equipped with all the appliances you may need, from a good size refrigerator to a well-working oven.
Additionally, the newer models come with larger bathrooms with separate sink corners, making it possible for two people to use the washroom simultaneously. With all these provisions, treating a static caravan as a second home is reasonable.
2) Safe And Secure
As the name suggests, a static caravan usually stays parked at a specific location. This location is generally a caravan campsite park. Not only can you enjoy the entertainment and services holiday parks provide, but they will also ensure that your caravan remains safe and secure when you’re not using it since caravan parks often employ various security arrangements for protection, like CCTV cameras and security personnel.
Moreover, it’s also not possible for any normal robber to steal away your static caravan since they’re not that easy to budge and don’t have an engine themselves. You can even leave your belongings in the trailer without worrying about moving them whenever you return home after the holidays.
3) Extra Income By Subletting
When you are not using your static caravan, you can earn a little extra by subletting it for others to use on their holidays. Renting your static caravan will not only be a source of additional income but will also ensure that your caravan is not left but is being put to good use like it is supposed to.
You can contact holiday campsites to rent your caravan, or they may even contact you if your caravan is not being used.
4) Saving Up On Fuel
Another advantage of a static caravan is that you save on fuel costs since it is stationary. As you do not need to worry about hooking your trailer with a vehicle to tow it, that eliminates the cost of fuel, which you need to pay when you own a touring trailer.
5) Access To Utilities
Static caravans, have access to utilities like water, electricity, and gas like your existing home does.
Additionally, caravan holiday campsites have proper garbage and refuse disposal methods. That is one more thing you do not have to worry about.
What Should You Choose: Touring Caravans Vs. Static Caravans
Both static and touring trailers are fine options to own and use when on holiday, but most older people prefer the static caravan as it provides more space.
In comparison, keeping a touring caravan with its additional cost of fuel and finding locations to store it can become a hassle after a few years. Although, if you are a travel enthusiast who thoroughly enjoys freedom, spontaneity, and versatility, a touring caravan might be the best option.
Whichever caravan you choose to invest in, you can be sure that you will easily find a variety of holiday parks and caravan campsites for you to stay at and thoroughly enjoy your holidays with your family.
Best Caravan & Camping Equipment
There is always a need for new products when it comes to camping. Either to maintain your caravan or to make your camping setup more comfortable. As digital nomads, we are on the road a lot. We tried out many different online camping stores.
However, we feel that Amazon still offers the best value for money, quick and easy delivery, and easy returns when necessary. We really like that we can use Amazon at almost every location in the world! You can find the best caravan & camping equipment on this page (links you to Amazon).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few commonly asked questions about touring and static caravans:
Does a touring caravan need road tax?
No, a touring caravan is not subject to road tax. Since a trailer can not function as a vehicle and needs to be towed to move around, you do have to pay any road tax as you would for your car or truck.
Can I keep pets in my caravan?
Yes, you can keep pets in your trailer, whether a touring caravan or a static one. However, you will be responsible for making your caravan a comfortable home for your pet. You can appoint a space for them to sleep in and provide a litter box, food dish, and liquid bowl.
What maintenance does a static caravan need?
Regular static caravan maintenance and servicing include paint spraying and frequent oiling and greasing. Not only will this help maintain the overall look of your trailer, but it will also keep it stable. Checking for any loosening, corrosion, or rust is also essential.