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Caravan v Motorhome? What Should I Choose?

Looking to purchase a leisure vehicle but you’re torn between a caravan or motorhome? Not sure what the best option for you is? Buying a caravan or a motorhome is an important decision to make, as they both offer different lifestyles.

We run through everything you need to know to help make that decision easier for you. So what will be your winner… caravan or motorhome?

Caravan V Motorhome

Licencing Rules For A Caravan And Motorhome

Before we start with the battle of a caravan v motorhome; it is important to look at what requirements you need to drive or tow one of the these leisure vehicles.

Touring Caravan Requirements

When it comes to a touring caravan there are 2 vital points of information that needs to be considered. One is your drivers licence and the next is your cars towing limits.

The licencing rules changed in December 2021 allowing most people to tow a caravan. According to the Direct Gov if you passed your driving test before or from 1st January 1997 you are now allowed to tow a caravan at up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised mass.

The next thing to research is what your car’s towing capacity is. The term towing capacity refers to the maximum weight that your car can tow safely and legally. There is something called the ‘85% rule’ which people still follow to this day. It is is not legal requirement, but many people recommend that the weight of the loaded caravan should be no more than 85% of the cars kerbweight. Experienced caravanners may go up to 100% of the cars kerbweight, but no-one should tow a caravan that is heavier than the towing limit of the car. You can find your cars kerbweight and other details in your cars handbook or on the car weight plate itself.

Alternatively, you can check your cars towing capacity here –

Motorhome Requirements

The requirements needed to drive a motorhome all depends on your drivers licence. You can drive a motorhome on a normal UK Drivers licence as long as the motorhome weighs 3,500kg or less. This can limit your choice of motorhomes you can choose but you’ll be pleased to know there is still lots of motorhomes that are under 3,500kg as many manufacturers try to keep their weights under 3,500kg.

However, if you passed your test before 1st January 1997 then you can pretty much drive most motorhomes in the market, as the licence allows you to drive motorhome that weighs up to 7,500kg. If you have passed your test from 1st January 1997 then you will need to do an additional driving test to be eligible to drive a motorhome that is heavier.

Pros and Cons Of Touring Caravans

Advantages of a Caravan

  1. Perfect For Longer Stays / More Mobile – Caravans are perfect for pitching up and setting up camp for longer durations. Especially if you’re wanting to visit places nearby as you can use your car to visit the nearby attractions without the hassle of dragging your caravan with you. Whereas, a motorhome would mean either packing up the motorhome when you’re wanting to take a small trip out or looking at alternative transport such as a bus routes or taxis.
  2. Cheaper – The average price of a brand new caravan is anywhere between £20,000 to £55,000 whereas a motorhome can cost on average £65,000 to £150,000+. So if you have a budget than maybe a cheap caravan for sale is for you.
  3. Cheaper Running Costs / Low Maintenance – Caravans are relatively cheap to maintain. Some of the usual costs you will find with a caravan is habitation service, insurance and potential storage fees although, it’s worth noting these are not legally required but are recommended. Motorhomes on the other hand do have running costs that need to be carried out by law such as; MOTs and insurance.
  4. More Habitation Space – A caravan has more habitable space when comparing it with a motorhome with a similar length. So a 7 metre long caravan will have more liveable space than a 7 metre long motorhome as the motorhome also has to accommodate for the front cab.
  5. Seasonal Pitch Options – Touring caravans are also a cheaper alternative to a static caravan providing all the necessities to leave it in one location rather than touring with it. Also, there’s a huge cost saving with siting costs as you won’t have any expensive delivery costs when relocating a touring caravan compared to a static.
  6. Better Insulated – Caravans are arguably more insulated than a motorhome. A caravan is self-contained whereas, a motorhome has been converted on an existing chassis, which means it sacrifices some of the insulation around the windscreen and the fan heaters.
Pitched Caravan

Disadvantages of a Caravan

  1. Towing Vehicle – You can be limited on the type of caravan you can have due to your tow vehicle.
  2. Longer To Set Up & Pack Down – When you’re looking to pack up and go, a caravan can take several minutes more to pack up and go than a motorhome. Even if you don’t have an awning to pack down, at the very least you have to lift the corner steadies/legs up, hitch the caravan to the car, check the rear lights are working, put the towing mirrors on the car, make sure the caravan is packed evenly and ensure that all windows, doors and appliances are closed or turned off. Even with the quickest of people it can take at least 5-10 minutes before setting off.
  3. Can be Tricky To Manoeuvre – Caravans can be hard to manoeuvre when it comes to reversing. Many people fit motor movers on to the caravan to make it easier to manoeuvre a caravan into tight positions but without motor movers moving a caravan with the car can sometimes be a difficult task even for the most experienced caravaners. A motorhome on the other hand is just like reversing and with reversing sensors and cameras it can be even easier.
  4. Confidence In Towing – The thought of towing caravan or any trailer can be daunting for a lot of people. Especially if towing in high winds and driving past fast paced lorries, this can cause an unpleasant driving experience compared to driving a motorhome.

Pros and Cons Of Motorhomes

Advantages of a Motorhome

  1. Minimal Jobs To Do On Arrival – The beauty of a motorhome is its minimal set up. As soon as you turn off the engine, you’re on your holidays. Just simply hook up to the electrics or turn on the gas and you’re pretty much on your way. Most motorhomes have onboard waste and water tanks so other than maybe filling up the water, you’re ready to enjoy your break. Caravans on the other hand need a little more time to pitch up and set up.
  2. Perfect For Short Stays / Or Road Trips – It is quicker to move from place to place in a motorhome and the perfect companion for short stays. You can be on one campsite and with a drop of a hat you can soon be at your next destination. Plus with fresh and waster water tanks on board, you can be self-sufficient and live ‘off-grid’ quite easily. There are also dedicated pub stopovers that are dedicated for motorhomes only.
  3. Quicker To Pack Down – As mentioned, motorhomes are noticeably quicker to pack up than a caravan. Motorhomes offer a different kind of freedom. You can be somewhere tranquil and stay the night and then within seconds you can be on the road again. It is so easy to pack up a motorhome, as there is no hitching a motorhome up, it’s as easy as getting in your car and off you go. Whereas, caravans can take several minutes before you can get on your way.
  4. Easier To Drive / Nicer Driving Experience – Arguably many people would say driving a motorhome is easier than towing a vehicle. Towing a caravan can sometimes feel alien if you’ve never towed anything before where as a motorhome is like driving your car but obviously a tad bigger.
  5. Hold Their Value – Both caravans and motorhomes hold their residual value very well however, more so when it comes to motorhomes.
  6. Friendly Motorhome Drivers – If you ever own or hire a motorhome don’t be alarmed by the friendly wave you get from other motorhome owners on the open road. Yes, motorhome owners love to wave at other fellow motorhome owners, so don’t forget to give a friendly wave back.
Motorhome Pros & Cons

Disadvantages of a Motorhome

  1. Transport At Destination / Not Ideal For Long Stays – If you’re looking to stay at a campsite for a long period of time, then a motorhome can have its limitations as you have to either catch a bus, arrange a taxi or pack up the motorhome to be able to see the local area. Whereas a caravan can be pitched up and you can still use your car to travel to nearby villages and towns.
  2. Hard To Park – Parking can also be hard to find with a motorhome. A lot of parking lots don’t except motorhomes or have height restrictions and so you have to do some research before setting off.
  3. Mechanical Issues – In the unfortunate event that your motorhome has a mechanical issue, it can disrupt your holiday, and whilst the motorhome is at the mechanics it could mean having to find alternative arrangements for accommodation.
  4. More Money – Motorhomes are more expensive than touring caravans and in many cases can be more than double the price of a touring caravan. Although, a caravan and a good tow vehicle can be just as much money as a motorhome, but of course a car can be used as your everyday vehicle as well.
  5. Running Costs / Maintenance – Running costs tend to be more expensive to run a motorhome. Just like a caravan you have a habitation service, insurance and depending on your circumstance, storage fees to pay for. However, with a motorhome you also have the added cost of an annual MOT, mechanical service and road tax. Also on average the fuel consumption tends to be higher than a tow vehicle.
  6. Can Be A Noisy Drive – Despite a motorhome being a more comfortable driving experience than a caravan, it can be noisier than a caravan as you will likely be hearing rattling from the cooker lid, pots and pans whilst you’re driving. Whereas, a caravan is self-contained and separate to the tow vehicle.
  7. Smaller Habitation Space – Due to the drivers cab, a motorhomes habitation area can be compromised and has a smaller living area than that of a touring caravan of similar length.


We know that this may be a big decision, we have many customers that own a caravan and say they are not sure whether to upgrade to a motorhome, but unsure whether to do so because it is a big expense. For this reason we offer a Try Before You Buy Scheme by offering a motorhome hire courtesy of MotorhomesUK Hire. Hiring a motorhome provides an opportunity to see if the the motorhome lifestyle is right for you.

Nevertheless, if you’ve now decided on the lifestyle you’d prefer then feel free to take a look our new and used motorhomes and caravans for sale.

So which one would you decide in the battle between caravan v motorhome?


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