Hit the Road: The Ultimate Caravan & Camper Buyer’s Guide

Get the most out of your caravan trailer or camper van purchase with our comprehensive buyers guide. Learn how to research, inspect, set up and maintain your new vehicle with Camperguru’s caravan camper buyers guide.

Are you looking to purchase a camper? Buying one can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. This caravan buyers guide will provide the essential information and tips for finding, inspecting, setting up and maintaining your new vehicle so that you can get the most out of it. From researching different models to delivery inspections – this comprehensive guide has everything you need to make sure your purchase is smooth sailing. So if you're ready to hit the open road with confidence in your new ride, read on.

What topics will be covered

First — Researching Your Camper

Researching a caravan or camper necessitates examining the kind of vehicle desired, features that matter to you, and your financial plan. It is essential to thoroughly research the numerous caravan and camper options available in order to locate one that meets your requirements.

Types of Caravans and Campers

When shopping for a caravan and camper there are several different styles from which to choose. Some popular options include pop-up trailers, travel trailers (also known as fifth wheels in USA), motorhomes (or RVs), van conversions, and truck campers. Each type has its own unique advantages depending on what kind of camping experience you’re looking for. Pop-up trailers offer more versatility since they can be towed with smaller vehicles like cars or SUVs while larger motorhomes provide more space but require heavier duty vehicles like trucks or vans for transportation.


Once you have narrowed down the style of camper that best fits your requirements, it is time to consider all of the features which should be included in your purchase. Common amenities include sleeping arrangements such as beds or couches; kitchen appliances like refrigerators or microwaves; bathroom facilities including toilets and showers; entertainment systems with TVs and radios; storage compartments for food supplies; air conditioning units; generators, slideouts/awnings/shades etc.; heating systems; outdoor cooking equipment; water tanks ; solar panels etc The list goes on. Prior to signing any contracts, ensure you are aware of precisely what features will make up your ideal setup.

Prior to any major purchases, it's prudent to assess the cost of both initial payment and sustained expenses like insurance premiums, fuel costs, upkeep fees, and repairs. It is also helpful if possible to look into financing options offered by dealerships. This way when crunching numbers, you will be able to determine whether buying new or used makes sense financially. Additionally, do not forget about additional expenses such as campsite fees which may add up over time.

Orée d'Anjou Camper Parking
Orée d'Anjou Camper Parking

Having done your research on the different types of caravans and campers, as well as considering all the features that are important to you, you should now have a better understanding of what kind of camper is best for you. Now it's time to begin seeking out a dealer or vendor who can offer you the ideal caravan for your needs and budget.

Key Takeaway: Weighing the different varieties and features of campers is a must when making your purchase decision, so you can ensure an enjoyable camping experience. Before committing to a caravan, it is essential to evaluate the total costs of ownership including insurance premiums, fuel expenses and maintenance fees. Make sure you do your homework before taking the plunge so that all bases are covered.

What to look for when buying a caravan?

When buying a used or new RV, there are several factors to keep in mind. Purpose: The first consideration is your purpose. Will you be using the vehicle for long or short journeys? Will you be staying in one spot or travelling often? These questions can help you determine the size, features and space that you need. Size: Next, think about the size of your RV. How many people will be riding in it? How much room do you need? This can help determine whether you need a 2-berth, 4-berth, or 6-berth. Layout: The layout and design of your motorhome or campervan is an important consideration. Do you need a fixed bed or would you prefer a pull-out or folding bed? Think about the available space and your needs. Weight: The weight of your recreational vehicle is another thing to consider. Will your vehicle be able to safely pull the weight of your trailer? Remember, larger trailers require more powerful vehicles. Features: There are many features of an RV that are important. If you plan on spending lots of time in remote locations, you may want to look for features like a solar panel, a generator, or a large water storage tank. Condition: Be sure to thoroughly inspect any new or used camper before you buy it. Check the walls and roof for signs of water damage or leakage. Make sure that all appliances, systems, and electronics work properly. Budget: When setting a budget, be sure to include the cost of your insurance coverage, gas, and any accessories or upgrades. By thinking about these things, you can ensure that you buy the right travel trailer or motor home for you and your family.

MaliMish Sprinter Van #vanlife
MaliMish family and their MB Sprinter Van

What questions to ask when buying a caravan?

When you're buying a caravan, it's important to ask the right questions to ensure that you make an informed decision. Here are some questions to ask when buying a caravan:

  1. What is the history of the caravan? Ask the seller for details about the caravan's previous owners, any accidents, repairs or maintenance history, as well as any modifications or upgrades.
  2. What is the condition of the caravan? Ask the seller to describe the overall condition of the caravan, including any signs of wear and tear, damage or leaks.
  3. What are the specifications of the caravan? Ask for information on the caravan's size, weight, capacity, and features. This will help you determine whether the caravan will meet your needs and whether it is compatible with your towing vehicle.
  4. What are the running costs? Ask about the estimated running costs for the caravan, including insurance, maintenance, and storage fees.
  5. What is included in the sale? Ask the seller what is included in the sale, such as any accessories or appliances. This will help you understand what you need to buy separately.
  6. What are the payment details? Ask what the deposit is, what the final balance is, and if there are any financing plans available.
  7. Asking if you can take a van for test drive allows you to test the van’s handling, and determine if it feels comfortable for you and your passengers.
  8. Is there a manufacturer’s or seller’s guarantee that the RV is in good condition? If so, how long is it good for?

By asking these questions, you'll have a better understanding of the caravan you're interested in and will be able to make an informed decision about your purchase.

Finding the Right Dealer or Seller

When it comes to finding the right dealer or seller for your caravan, research is key. It’s important to shop around and compare prices before making a purchase. Researching dealerships and sellers can help you get the best deal possible on your camper. Start by looking at online reviews of different dealerships or sellers in your area, as well as their websites. By researching dealerships and sellers, you can gain insight into the quality of customer service they offer as well as any discounts that may be available.

Negotiating the best price is another way to save money when buying a caravan. If you find a dealership or seller that has a good reputation but is offering higher prices than other places, try negotiating with them for better terms. For example, if they are offering financing options ask if there are any discounts available if you pay cash up front instead of taking out a loan. You could also negotiate for free installation services or accessories such as camping chairs or cooking utensils thrown in with the purchase price.

Finally, understanding financing options can be helpful when buying a camper from either private sellers or dealerships alike. Many times dealerships will offer various financing plans depending on credit score and other factors such as down payment amount and length of loan term so it pays to do some research ahead of time to make sure you understand all potential options before committing to one particular plan. Additionally many private sellers may accept payments over time so don’t be afraid to ask about this possibility too.

Researching and haggling for the best rate before signing off on any deal is a must when selecting an appropriate dealer or seller. Additionally, thoroughly inspecting the vehicle beforehand will help ensure that you make an informed purchase decision when selecting your camper.

Key Takeaway: Doing your homework is essential when it comes to buying a camper, whether you're dealing with private sellers or dealerships. Do some research online and compare prices, then negotiate for the best deal possible – don't forget to look into all financing options as well. With smart shopping and savvy negotiation skills, you can get yourself an amazing set of wheels without breaking the bank.

Inspecting the Camper Van Before Purchase

When inspecting a vehicle before purchase, it is important to thoroughly examine the exterior, interior and mechanical components of the camper van.

Exterior Inspection Checklist

Start by looking for any visible damage or rust spots on the outside of the vehicle. Inspect all windows and doors to make sure they open and close properly. Check that all lights are working correctly. Ensure that there are no signs of water leakage around windows or doors. Finally, check underneath for any leaks from the engine or transmission fluids.

Interior Inspection Checklist

Once inside, take a look at all appliances and furniture to make sure they work as expected. Test out any electrical components such as lighting fixtures, fans and outlets to ensure proper operation. Also inspect for any signs of mold or mildew which could indicate water damage in certain areas of the interior walls or flooring.

Mechanical Inspection Checklist

Before making a purchase it is important to do an inspection under the hood too. Make sure you check fluid levels like oil, coolant and brake fluid; inspect brakes pads/rotors; tires condition (including spare); suspension system; engine performance (acceleration/idling); transmission performance (shifting gears smoothly). A thorough mechanical inspection can save you from future headaches down the road so don’t skip this step.

Inspecting your motorhome before purchasing will help you avoid costly repairs later on – think twice before buying a lemon.

Examining the automobile carefully prior to acquisition is critical for making a sound investment. To further protect your purchase, it is also essential to understand the delivery and setup processes involved with campers.

Delivery and Setup Processes

Delivery Options and Costs

Once you’ve decided to purchase a camper van or caravan trailer, it is important to consider delivery options. Most dealerships will provide either pick-up or drop-off services, allowing you to take possession of the campervan yourself or have it delivered directly to your chosen location. Pick-up usually involves driving your own vehicle to the dealership in order to take possession of the campervan, while drop-off typically means having a dealer deliver the vehicle directly to you at an agreed upon location. Before making your purchase, make sure to inquire about any additional charges such as fuel surcharges or travel fees that may be associated with the delivery option you choose. It is important to ask about these extra charges before finalizing your purchase agreement so that there are no surprises when it comes time for delivery.

Burimex Caravan Dealer

Setting Up Your Camper

When setting up your camper, there are several steps that need to be taken in order ensure everything works properly once delivered. This includes connecting any external water tanks and electrical systems as well as making sure all windows and doors open and close correctly. Inspections should be done to detect any leaks or other problems that may cause issues in the future, and it is wise to have a knowledgeable person present during this process who can spot potential difficulties before taking possession of the caravan. If possible, try and get someone experienced with caravans involved during this process so they can help identify any potential issues before taking possession of the vehicle from the dealership or seller.

Finalizing The Purchase Agreement

Finally, once everything has been inspected and set up correctly it is time to finalize your purchase agreement with the dealership or seller. This should include going over all terms of sale including payment arrangements (if applicable) as well as details regarding warranties and return policies should something go wrong after taking possession of your new camper van. Ensure that all necessary documents are duly signed by both involved parties before claiming ownership of the vehicle, in order to guarantee that everyone is aware of their respective rights during this transaction; thus allowing you to start your journey with no further concerns.

The delivery and setup process for your caravan is an important part of the purchasing experience, so make sure you have all the necessary information before finalizing your purchase. To keep your camper in top shape for a long time, it is vital to know how to clean and fix any common problems.

Key Takeaway: Once you've decided to purchase a camper, it is important to consider delivery options and setup procedures. Finalizing the purchase agreement should include going over all terms of sale including payment arrangements and warranties so that everything runs as smoothly as possible when taking possession of your new van. All's well that ends well – sign on the dotted line with peace of mind.

Maintenance Tips for Your Camper

Regular Maintenance Schedule

A regular maintenance schedule is essential for any camper owner. This includes checking the oil, tire pressure and treads, brakes, hoses and belts, battery levels and other components on a monthly basis. It’s also important to inspect the interior of your vehicle for signs of wear or damage such as loose screws or damaged upholstery. If you find any issues during your inspection it’s best to have them repaired right away in order to prevent further damage down the road.

Cleaning Tips for Optimal Performance

Cleaning your camper regularly can help maintain optimal performance over time. Regularly washing off dirt and debris from exterior surfaces will help keep it looking new while vacuuming carpets and cleaning windows inside can make sure that all parts are functioning properly at all times. Additionally, waxing the exterior every few months will help protect against weather elements such as sun exposure or heavy rain which can cause fading or rusting over time if not taken care of properly.

Troubleshooting common issues with your camper is an important part of keeping it running smoothly over time. Some common problems include leaky pipes, faulty wiring, broken appliances or even engine trouble due to lack of use or improper maintenance habits. In order to avoid costly repairs in the future, it is best to diagnose these issues early on by performing regular inspections yourself or taking it into a professional mechanic if necessary so they can give you an accurate assessment before things get out of hand.

Regular maintenance of your camper is essential for optimal performance and safety. Maintaining your camper as suggested in this guide will keep it functioning safely and optimally. Moving on from maintenance tips, it's important to understand how best to operate a camper while driving; our next section covers safety tips for doing just that.

Key Takeaway: Maintaining a regular upkeep schedule and cleaning your camper regularly is key to keeping it in tip-top shape. By taking prompt action to address any potential issues, you can ensure your camper remains in peak condition. Troubleshooting common issues yourself or with professional help will save time and money while preserving optimal performance over time.

Safety Tips for Driving a Caravan

Prior to setting out, it is essential to guarantee that your camper is running optimally. Check that all lights are working properly and the tire pressure levels are correct. Ensure you have the necessary fuel for your voyage and examine all liquid levels, including oil, coolant, brake juice and power directing liquid. Additionally, inspect any hoses or belts for wear and tear as well as checking if there’s any damage to the body of the vehicle such as dents or scratches.

Camper Van Tow-Car Problem

Driving Tips

When driving a camper on public roads, it’s essential to maintain safe speeds at all times – don’t be tempted to drive faster than necessary just because you can. Avoid sudden stops when possible; this could cause serious damage due to how much weight your vehicle carries compared with regular cars. Be aware of road conditions too; watch out for potholes which could cause significant damage if not avoided correctly.

Knowing what steps to take in case of an emergency while travelling in your camper can help save lives should something go wrong on the roadways. Ensure you are aware of emergency exits and have the necessary supplies such as a first aid kit, blankets or flares to hand should an incident occur. Finally, make sure you know who to contact for assistance such as roadside assistance companies or insurance providers depending on where you are located.

It's vital to stay vigilant when driving a camper, and devoting time for pre-trip preparations can ensure an enjoyable journey. With all of the necessary preparations taken care of, it's now time to focus on enjoying your new camper by exploring local areas, taking road trips, and making memories along the way.

Key Takeaway: Before hitting the road in your motorhome or caravan trailer, it's important to make sure all systems are go and you have adequate supplies onboard. When driving, practice safe speeds and be mindful of any potential hazards like potholes. In an unexpected situation, it's essential to be prepared by having a first aid kit and knowing who to contact for help.

Enjoying Your New Camper in Europe and beyond

Exploring Local Areas

Exploring local areas near home is a great way to get familiar with your new camper. You can take the time to learn how everything works and what features it has, while getting comfortable behind the wheel of your vehicle. It's a great chance to savor the outdoors in a secure setting before taking off on longer excursions. Taking short trips around town or even just spending some quality time at nearby campsites will help you gain confidence in your abilities as a camper driver.

Once you've acquired the necessary confidence, why not take a road trip in your new camper and explore what the open road has to offer? Whether it’s heading off on a weekend excursion or planning an extended holiday across Europe, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure when you hit the open road with your trusty companion by your side. Make sure that you plan ahead though – research routes, check weather conditions and be prepared for any unexpected delays or detours along the way. That being said, don’t forget to enjoy yourself too – stopping off at interesting places along the way makes for some wonderful memories.

Making memories with family or friends while using your new camper helps create lasting experiences that will last long after each journey has ended. Sharing stories around campfires late into the night, playing games together during lazy days spent relaxing at scenic spots, and exploring hidden gems tucked away in remote locations are all moments which can bring people closer together and build lifelong bonds between them. So don’t forget to make time for fun activities like these while travelling; they may not seem important now but they will become treasured memories down the line.

Key Takeaway: Taking a camper on the road can be an incredibly rewarding experience, with plenty of opportunities for exploration and making lasting memories. Whether it's taking short trips around town or embarking on extended holidays across Europe, make sure to plan ahead and enjoy every moment – from discovering hidden gems in remote locations to sharing stories around campfires late into the night.

FAQs — Camper Buyers Guide

What to look for when buying a new caravan?

When purchasing a caravan, it is critical to take into account several considerations. Firstly, you should assess the size and weight of the caravan in relation to your vehicle’s towing capacity. Ensure that all safety measures are in accordance with current standards before purchasing. Thirdly, check for any structural damage or wear and tear on both the exterior and interior of the caravan. Finally, research reviews from other customers who have purchased similar caravans before making your final decision. By taking these steps into account when purchasing a new caravan, you can ensure that you get a reliable model that will provide years of enjoyment.

What is the best caravan length?

The best caravan length depends on the individual's needs and preferences. For those in search of more area, a bigger caravan may be the perfect option as it furnishes additional space for maneuvering, stowing items and getting some rest. Those who want to travel further distances should consider larger caravans that are designed with extra storage capacity or even tow bars. For shorter trips or weekend getaways, smaller caravans can provide enough comfort without taking up too much space in the vehicle. Ultimately, choosing the right caravan size is an important decision which should take into account both practicality and personal preference.

What to look for when buying a vintage caravan?

When buying a vintage caravan, there are several important factors to consider. At the outset, it is critical to inspect the vintage caravan's state and make sure that all components are operating correctly. Additionally, check for any rust or corrosion on metal parts as this can be expensive to repair later down the line. It’s also worth researching what type of suspension system your van has and if you need to replace any parts before taking it out on long trips. Lastly, ask questions about its history such as previous owners and how often they serviced it so you have an idea of its maintenance record. Taking these steps will ensure you buy a reliable and safe vintage caravan that meets your needs now and into the future.

What is the best month to buy a used RV?

The optimal period for acquiring a pre-owned recreational vehicle depends on your financial plan and the supply of RVs in your vicinity. Late winter/early spring is often the ideal time to purchase a used RV, as sellers tend to offer discounts due to decreased demand and there is usually an abundance of inventory available. Additionally, during this period there will be an abundance of inventory available since many people who purchased their RVs over the summer may now be looking to sell them off for various reasons. However, it’s important that you do research beforehand and compare prices so that you can find the right deal for you.

What caravan brand should i buy in Europe?

When buying a used or new European Caravan, it’s important to consider your specific preferences, needs and your budget. Here are some recommended models from trusted brands.

  1. Adria — Adria caravans are known for their high-quality construction, sleek design and innovative features. They offer a wide range of models and sizes to choose from, including the popular Adora range.
  2. Swift — Swift caravans are well-known for their durability, comfort and practicality. They offer a range of models, including the Swift Challenger, which is a popular choice among caravan buyers.
  3. Bailey — Bailey caravans are recognized for their lightweight construction, impressive features and reasonable prices. The Bailey Unicorn range is a popular option that offers a great balance of comfort and style.
  4. Hymer — Hymer caravans are known for their premium quality, attention to detail and innovative design. They offer a wide range of models and sizes, including the popular Hymer Nova range.
  5. Hobby — Hobby caravans are popular in Europe for their excellent value for money, spacious layouts and impressive features. The Hobby Prestige range is a popular option that offers a comfortable and stylish interior.

When buying a touring or static Caravan, it’s important to do thorough research, and to consider your budget and needs. Make sure to buy from a trusted and reputable dealership, and inspect it carefully. Take it for a test drive to ensure it’s right for you.

The time is now. Hit the road!

Getting a camper can be thrilling, but it's critical to bear in mind that the process necessitates studying and organizing. To ensure you get the most out of your purchase, use our camper buyers guide as a reference for researching dealers or sellers, inspecting vehicles before purchase, delivery and setup processes, maintenance tips for your new vehicle and safety tips when driving. With careful consideration of all these elements in mind during the buying process – you'll have many years of happy camping ahead.

Are you ready to explore the world and take your camper on an adventure? Let Camperguru guide you with our collection of best spots and advice for a successful journey in the Journal.

By Vita • February 2023

Vita and his family traveled around Europe for over a decade. Starting with a caravan trailer and later upgrading to a more maneuverable van, they partially raised their children on the road. Vita is the co-founder of Camperguru and contributes to camping in Europe with his maps and other freebies. He is always willing to help with all things camping.

Check 69 Verified spots at Camperguru by Vita.

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