Cost of Owning a Caravan

A caravan can be a great way to relax and travel, but without proper planning, having a caravan can turn into a major financial headache. Learning about caravan costs ahead of time will help you decide if it makes more sense to buy or to rent. Once you gain a better financial picture, you can choose for yourself: is it worth it to buy a caravan?

Contents

    Average price of a caravan

    Caravans are beloved by travel enthusiasts because they can let you enjoy home comforts while still staying mobile. Caravan prices in Australia vary immensely based on the vehicle’s size, model, condition, and whether it is new or used.

    For a small, towable camper, the price of the caravan could be as low as $7,000, while more luxurious motorhomes go as high as $110,000. Beyond the initial purchase price, there are numerous other expenses to keep in mind. To make it easier to afford a caravan purchase, many Australians take advantage of caravan financing.

    Additional caravan costs

    Many people buy a caravan without being prepared for the auxiliary caravan costs, some of which can add up quickly. In order to help you plan ahead, the major caravan ownership expenses are described here. Remember that just like with car loans, you can get caravan loans that go beyond the initial purchase price and help you cover these additional expenses.

    Servicing and maintenance

    The last thing you want is to be stranded somewhere remote with a stalled engine or a flat tire. Proper vehicle upkeep is important, not only for a stress-free experience, but also because of the caravan resale value. Since caravans often cover great distances, they need to be checked out every 10,000 kilometres or at least once a year. Check-ups cost around $300-400 and up depending on the size of the vehicle.

    Insurance

    Just like with a car, insurance costs vary based on the extent of the coverage. It’s important to be protected in the event of an accident, particularly if there are injuries or vehicle damage. Insurance costs usually range from $500 to $2,000 and above depending on the value of the vehicle. Some states include insurance with your registration.

    Registration

    Caravans must be registered with the state or territory government. These prices are usually based around the weight of the vehicle and whether it’s used for business or pleasure. A general guide to registration costs is presented below.

    StateSmaller caravansLarger caravans
    ACT$93.60 for up to 250 kg$238.10+ for over 250 kg
    NSW$0 for up to 250 kg$128.00+ for over 250 kg
    NT$103.80 for up to 200 kg$118.80+ for over 200 kg
    Qld.$152.05 for up to 1,020 kg$259.90 for over 1,020 kg
    SA$95.00 for all weights
    Tas.$89.42 for up to 500 kg$180.42 for over 500 kg
    Vic.$62.40 for all weights
    WA$6.38 per 100 kg

    Storage

    Unless you’ll be using the caravan year-round, you have to think about where you’ll store it. If you have a driveway or backyard, that can be the cheapest and easiest option, though you should invest in a cover to block dirt and dust. Offsite caravan storage prices go from $500 to $3,000 annually depending on whether it is outdoors or indoors.

    Equipment and accessories

    Beyond ordinary vehicle supplies like a first aid kit, there are some caravan-specific costs like a tow ball, hitching mechanisms, extra licence plate, wheel chocks, levelling ramps, and towing mirrors. These can cost around $100-500 and up depending on what your size of caravan requires.

    Price of caravan rentals

    If you are not an overly frequent traveller, it might make more sense to rent instead of buy. Renting a caravan costs from $40 to $300 a day, depending on the size, type, and features of the vehicle. The price of a caravan rental also goes up during the summer peak season due to high demand. Beyond savings, there are some other good reasons to rent rather than buy:

    • Matching the caravan to the trip

      Your destination, travel distance, and number of passengers can all affect what kind of caravan you need for your trip. Renting helps you stay flexible and you can upgrade or downgrade as needed.

    • Trying before you buy

      If you’re not sure what kind of caravan you want to buy, you can rent different ones for different trips and see which type you enjoyed the most. This way, you can buy something that you know will match your needs.

    • Fitting a growing family

      When families get larger, they get roomier houses and bigger cars—so if you enjoy caravan life, you may want to rent for a while rather than buying a caravan that your family might quickly outgrow.

    Pros and cons of buying versus renting

    To help you choose between renting and buying, this table sums up the benefits and drawbacks for each option.

    Pros

    Buying
    • Customizable to your needs and wishes
    • Cost-efficient long term, can be rented ou
    • Always ready when you need to use it
    Renting
    • Added flexibility and less commitment
    • Cost-efficient for shorter, infrequent trips
    • No overhead costs since you don’t own it

    Cons

    Buying
    • Larger upfront cost, depreciating value
    • Requires you to own suitable tow vehicle
    • Ongoing costs like insurance and storage
    Renting
    • Must be booked in advance, hard to get
    • Well-worn condition from previous users
    • Specific pick-up & drop-off sites

    How to transport a caravan across states

    A caravan is a bulky piece of property. If you bought from a dealer in a different state, or if you’re moving to a new city, you might not be able to transport it yourself. When choosing long-distance transport options, you have to consider the size and weight of the vehicle as well as the drop-off and pick-up locations.

    • Roll-on, roll-off sea freight: This is where the caravan is towed or driven onto a specialised ship that transports your vehicle by sea. This option is relatively cheaper, but can take more time and involve more paperwork and regulations.
    • Road transport: The more straightforward way of transporting the caravan is on the highway. Depending on the size and weight of the vehicle, you could have it towed on its own wheels, or placed on a trailer and have it transported that way.

    Caravan Prices FAQ

    Can I get a loan for a caravan?
    Yes! Caravan financing is a great tool for affording the purchase without needing to pay the entire price upfront. Be sure that you have room for the monthly payment in your budget. You can get both fixed and variable interest rates for a caravan loan.
    Is there a difference between new and used caravan loans?
    The age and condition of a caravan are a big factor for the value of the vehicle. New caravans are most often bought with secured loans where the vehicle itself is the collateral. For older caravans, especially those older than 12-15 years, you will most likely have to get an unsecured personal loan.
    Is buying a caravan tax-deductible?
    Generally, a caravan purchase is only tax-deductible if you use the vehicle to earn income. Otherwise you are unlikely to receive any tax benefits from the purchase.

    Determining the total price of a caravan: the bottom line

    Caravan costs can stack up fast, especially after factoring in the additional expenses beyond the vehicle purchase itself. However, the price of a caravan can be extremely manageable with the use of responsible caravan financing, and you always have the option of renting instead of purchasing outright. At the end of the day, only you can decide if it is worth it to buy a caravan for your family.