campervan kitchen with a cat sleeping on the bench

Caravan vs Campervan Pros and Cons

Are you dreaming of endless adventures and exploring the great outdoors? Picture yourself cruising down the open road, pulling over to camp beneath the stars, and waking up to the fresh air and stunning landscapes. But how do you choose the perfect mobile home for your needs – a caravan or a campervan? Fear not; we’re here to help you navigate the “caravan vs campervan” debate and find the perfect match for your wanderlust-filled heart!

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll delve into the world of caravans and campervans, comparing living spaces, flexibility, costs, and more. 

We have lived full-time in our self-converted camper van for over two years. So buckle up and join us on this journey to discover the ideal travel companion for your next adventure!

Key Takeaways

  • Deciding between a caravan and a campervan? Consider budget, lifestyle & travel needs.
  • Caravans offer spacious living areas for family holidays. Campervans are perfect for adventure seekers & frequent travellers.
  • Test drive before investing, and rent one to experience the freedom without commitment!

Understanding Caravans and Campervans

Caravans and campervans are both excellent choices for budget-friendly and versatile holidays. The main difference between these two leisure vehicles is that a caravan is a towable living space you can unhitch from your vehicle, while a campervan combines transportation and living space in one compact unit. Both options provide unique advantages and cater to different travel preferences.

We will explore the specifics of caravans and campervans to guide your decision-making process.


Offering more room, caravans are towable living spaces that can be detached from the towing vehicle. They provide a home-away-from-home experience with separate bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Some caravans even come with off-road capabilities, allowing you to access remote locations that larger motorhomes may not reach. However, owning a caravan has drawbacks, such as the need for a larger tow vehicle and higher fuel costs.

Caravans come in various shapes and sizes, accommodating between 2 to 8 people. These are perfect for family holidays and extended trips as they provide more comfort than camper trailers. Caravans typically include:

  • A bedroom
  • A bathroom
  • A kitchen
  • A living area


On the other hand, campervans are self-contained vehicles that combine living space and transportation in one unit. They are generally smaller than caravans but are known for their convenience and ease of handling. Most campervans have air conditioning, heating, and wastewater tanks for added comfort and practicality.

While campervans may offer less space than caravans, they compensate with clever design ideas and storage solutions, such as platform beds, multi-functional furniture, and overhead storage. Campervans are perfect for adventure seekers and those who frequently change locations, with the added advantage of being easier to park and drive.

Comparing Living Space

With more room and the option of separate rooms, caravans are great for families or extended trips in terms of living space. Campervans, while more compact and easier to handle, have limited living space. However, they make up for it with their clever design and storage solutions.

Ultimately, the choice between a caravan and a campervan will depend on your lifestyle and travel preferences, such as the number of people travelling, the duration of your trip, and the level of comfort and convenience you desire.

Caravan Living Space

Caravans offer more living space and separate rooms, making them ideal for families and longer stays at one location. With their larger size, caravans provide separate areas for:

  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Living spaces

This caters to the needs of a family on an extended trip, providing more amenities for a comfortable stay.

Living in a caravan for an extended period is certainly possible with the organisation and maintenance of essential facilities. Some features of caravans that make them suitable for long-term stays include:

  • Bunk beds
  • L-shaped lounges
  • Queen beds
  • Plenty of storage

Caravan parks, at times, can have a minimum stay of 1 to 2 weeks, making them perfect for long-term family holidays. This allows families to have a comfortable and enjoyable stay in a caravan.

Campervan Living Space

Campervans have limited living space but are more compact and easier to maneuver. This makes them an excellent choice for adventure seekers, solo travellers, or couples who prefer to change locations frequently. With their smaller size, campervans make the most of their limited space through smart design and storage solutions.

Even with limited space, campervans offer a range of amenities, including:

  • Furnishings and storage
  • A fridge
  • A stove
  • A TV
  • A power supply
  • In some cases, a shower and toilet

While they may not be as spacious as caravans, campervans provide the convenience and mobility many travellers seek, making them a popular choice for those who value flexibility and spontaneity in their adventures.

Travel Flexibility and Mobility

Depending on your travel preferences, caravans and campervans offer varying levels of flexibility and mobility. Caravans provide the freedom to unhook the towing vehicle and use it for sightseeing or running errands, while campervans offer more mobility, making it easier to drive and park in different places.

Consider your travel style and the destinations you want to visit when choosing between a caravan and a campervan.

Caravan Flexibility

Thanks to their towing connection, caravans can detach and use the towing vehicle for sightseeing and errands. This flexibility allows you to:

  • Explore your surroundings without having to pack up and move your entire living space
  • Unhitch the caravan and use the car to visit nearby attractions
  • Grab a bite to eat
  • Run errands

However, there may be better choices than caravans for wild camping due to their size and the need to remain hitched in case of a quick departure. If you plan on staying in one location for an extended period, a caravan offers the flexibility and space needed for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Inside our campervan showing the kitchen and bed area

Campervan Mobility

Campervans provide better mobility and are easier to drive and park in various locations. They are an excellent choice for adventure seekers and those who frequently change locations. Campervans allow you to travel and park in different places easily, giving you more freedom to explore and experience new destinations.

Campervans are great for wild camping because they provide:

  • Flexibility and convenience to camp in remote locations with no facilities
  • Mobility and efficiency compared to caravans
  • Spontaneity and the freedom to explore new places on a whim

Cost Considerations

Considering the costs associated with purchasing, owning, and maintaining each type of vehicle is crucial when deciding between a caravan and a campervan. Caravans are generally cheaper to purchase, but they may require additional costs for towing vehicles and storage.

On the other hand, campervans are more expensive up front but have lower ongoing costs and better resale value. We shall examine the cost considerations for both caravans and campervans.

Caravan Costs

While caravans are generally cheaper to purchase, they may entail additional costs for towing vehicles and storage. The average cost of a new caravan in Australia can range from around $20,000 to a whopping $180,000. However, owning a caravan also involves other expenses, such as servicing and maintenance, insurance, and storage.

The costs of maintaining a caravan can vary depending on its size, age, and condition. Generally, a caravan service will cost between $250 and $500 a year. A full service could cost up to $1,000 or more, depending on the state of the caravan. Regular maintenance is essential to avoid expensive repairs and keep your caravan in top condition.

Campervan Costs

Although campervans are more expensive initially, they have lower ongoing costs and yield better resale value. The cost of a campervan can vary from $20,000 to $100,000+ for a second-hand campervan, with high-end DIY van conversions or full conversions done by professionals costing even more.

The ongoing costs of a campervan are usually lower than a caravan. Campervans are smaller and more fuel-efficient, plus they need less maintenance. They also tend to have a higher resale value than caravans, making them a more attractive investment for those who value long-term savings and flexibility.

Mercedes Sprinter Van LWB parked in a carpark

Lifestyle and Travel Preferences

Considering your lifestyle and travel preferences is crucial when choosing between a caravan and a campervan. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Are you planning a family holiday or a more extended stay at one spot?
  2. Or are you an adventure-seeker who likes to keep moving around?
  3. Your travel style and priorities will play a significant role in determining the best choice for you.

We will examine some scenarios to aid your decision.

Family Holidays and Long Stays

Caravans are ideal for family holidays and longer stays at a single location. Their larger size and separate rooms provide a comfortable and enjoyable stay for the whole family. Caravan parks also come with features like:

  • Swimming pools
  • Playgrounds
  • Organised activities
  • Play areas
  • Family rooms

These features ensure endless fun for the kids during family holidays and long stays.

Adventure Seekers and Frequent Travelers

Campervans are a better fit for adventure seekers and those who frequently change locations. Their advantages include:

  • Compact size
  • Ease of handling
  • Perfect for exploring new destinations
  • Experiencing the freedom of the open road
  • Efficient use of space
  • Smart design
  • Convenience and mobility

The convenience and mobility of a motor vehicle, such as a motorhome or camper van, attract many travellers.

Campervans are an excellent choice for wild camping, as they allow you to camp in remote locations without facilities. If you’re an adventure-seeker who values spontaneity and the freedom to explore new places, a campervan is the way to go.

Our campervan set up at James Price Point WA

Renting Options and Test Drives

To test drive the lifestyle, consider renting a caravan or campervan first if you’re hesitant about purchasing. Renting allows one to experience a caravan or campervan’s space, flexibility, and convenience without making a long-term commitment.

Trying out different options will enable you to make a more informed decision about which vehicle best suits your travel preferences and needs.

Caravan Rentals

Without the commitment of ownership, caravan rentals offer a chance to experience the space and flexibility of a caravan. Renting a caravan allows you to enjoy the freedom and convenience of a caravan without worrying about the costs and responsibilities associated with ownership. The average cost of renting a caravan can range from about $40 to $100 per day, with an average of around $60.

Some popular websites for finding caravan rentals include Camplify and CNCHire,. Before renting a caravan, consider factors such as your budget, size and layout, amenities and facilities, and rental terms and conditions. This will ensure you choose the right caravan rental for your needs and preferences.

Campervan Rentals

Before making a purchase, campervan rentals provide an opportunity to test the mobility and convenience of a campervan. Renting a campervan allows you to experience the flexibility and spontaneity that campervans offer without the financial commitment of buying one. The cost of renting a campervan can vary depending on factors such as the size of the campervan and the time of year, with prices generally ranging from $80 to $200 per day.

Some of the top companies for motorhome hire and campervan rentals include:

When renting a campervan, check the requirements, such as the minimum age, driver’s license needed, and the rental terms and conditions. This will ensure a smooth and enjoyable rental experience.


In conclusion, caravans and campervans offer unique advantages and cater to different travel preferences. Caravans provide:

  • More space and separate rooms.
  • Making them great for families or extended trips, while campervans are more compact and easier to handle.
  • Suiting adventure seekers and frequent travellers.

When choosing between a caravan and a campervan, consider living space, flexibility, costs, and your lifestyle and travel preferences.

Whether planning a family holiday, a long-term stay, or an adventurous road trip, a perfect mobile home is waiting for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions