You love travelling & want to buy a new caravan. Is it worth it?

Buying your own caravan is a dream for many people who enjoy travel and the outdoors. We’ve crunched the numbers & compared costs on buying versus hiring a caravan, to help you find your best option.

Purchasing a caravan allows you to dispense with bulky camping equipment and paying for expensive accommodation, when you travel. New caravans are equipped with all the mod cons, including on board toilet, shower, comfortable beds, and well designed, spacious interiors. They’re also wired for entertainment, and you’re always connected when you’re on the road. The downside is cost. Let’s take a look at the real costs of purchasing and we’ll compare it with hiring a caravan.

Buying a new family sized caravan: $66,000

The Jayco Journey is a fully equipped family sized caravan, with inner-spring bed, bunks, a spacious layout, toilet and shower. The latest model also comes with a washing machine and there are heaps of optional add ons. Purchasing this caravan new will set you back around $66,000.

How much will a new caravan cost me each year?

Each year you will need to pay for servicing, registration and insurance. You may also need to pay for storage, and just like purchasing a car, calculate depreciation. Including interest on a purchasing loan, your annual costs are around $9,670.

Annual expenses 

Insurance $950
Storage $900
Servicing 500
Registration $60
Interest $3,960
Depreciation $3,300
Total $9.670

Hiring a family sized caravan to go on holiday

Now let’s look at the annual cost of hiring an equivalent sized caravan to go away three times per year.

How much will it cost to hire?

If instead of purchasing, you hire an equivalent sized caravan and go on holiday three times a year during school holidays, you will only pay $5,810, to enjoy the same comforts.

Annual expenses (peak)

1 month in January $3,780
1 week at Easter $1.015
1 week in September $1,015
Total $5,810

The Verdict: If you hire a family sized caravan and go away three times a year during peak times, you’ll save $3,860 each year, compared with buying an equivalent sized caravan. After five years, you will have saved $19,300

Buying a new small sized caravan: $33,000

A two berth caravan will cost much less than a family van, and is ideal for couples.

How much will a new caravan cost me each year?

While less than a family van, a small van still requires servicing, registration, insurance and storage. Depreciation and interest on a purchasing loan is included in annual costs. The annual costs on a van costing 33,000 are around $5,590.

Annual expenses 

Insurance $600
Storage $900
Servicing $400
Registration $60
Interest $1,980
Depreciation $1,650
Total $5.590

Hiring a small 2 berth caravan to go on holiday

Now let’s look at the annual cost of hiring an equivalent sized caravan to go away for a month and two, one week holidays each year.

How much will it cost to hire?

If instead of purchasing, you hire an equivalent sized small caravan and go on holiday three times a year, it will cost you only $4,200.

Annual expenses (off peak)

1 month $2,800
1 week $700
1 week $700
Total $4,200

The Verdict: If you hire a small sized caravan and go away three times a year in off peak times, you’ll spend $1,390 less each year, compared with buying an equivalent sized caravan. After five years, you will have saved $6,950

Offset the cost of purchasing by renting out your caravan

To offset the cost of purchasing a family sized caravan, you may be tempted to use a sharing platform to rent out your caravan when you’re not using it.

How much can I reduce the annual costs on my new caravan?

If you rented out your family sized caravan for a ten day trip and a four day trip each year, you could earn $1,382 and reduce the annual costs on your family sized caravan to $8,288. The sticky part of this strategy to reduce costs, is that it interferes with your own travel plans. The more you travel, the less time your caravan is available for rent and the smaller the offset.

Earnings on caravan sharing

4 day hire $338
10 day hire $1,044

Financial & Time Costs 

– Increased Insurance
– Increased Damage & Maintenance
– Compliance costs
– Management
– Tax

The Verdict: Renting your caravan for 14 days each year, will reduce your annual costs to $8,288 (on a large caravan). This is still a lot more expensive than the $5,810 it costs to simply hire an equivalent sized caravan each time you want to go away. If you like to travel during peak times, you reduce the likelihood of renting your caravan and the amount you can earn.

There are also other costs involved in renting out your caravan, including increased insurance and maintenance. You will need to manage all your bookings and meet customers, make sure your caravan is compliant, and at the end of each year pay tax on any earnings.

Is it better to buy or hire a caravan?

Financial benefits of hiring

If you are looking for the most cost effective way to enjoy the great outdoors in a caravan, hiring is by far the best option, and is much cheaper than purchasing. Purchasing a caravan includes substantial annual costs. Storage, servicing, registration and insurance, as well as any interest you pay on a purchasing loan, and depreciation add up to $48,350 spent over 5 years for a large caravan and $27,950 spent over 5 years for a small caravan. When you hire a caravan, you avoid all these ongoing costs. You only pay for the time you hire the caravan, and someone else takes care of the rest.

Even more benefits – a van to suit your family

Families do a lot of growing and changing in five years and that’s where purchasing a caravan can be risky – you’re making a five year commitment to a type of van that suits at a particular moment in time. But in five years, big changes take place that may see you outgrow it. Families expand and need more space. Kids often outgrow sharing a caravan with the rest of the family and prefer to camp outside in a tent or swag. Hiring provides you with absolute flexibility, allowing you to hire whatever sized van you need to suit every stage of your life.