The Difference between Caravans and Motorhomes

Caravan vs motorhome

What's the Difference between Motorhomes and Caravans?

What’s the difference between Caravans and Motorhomes? Often called RVs, a caravan or motorhome serves as a mobile living space that merges transport and lodging.


They can have sleeping quarters, a kitchenette or full kitchen, bathroom facilities, and storage space for all your travel essentials. From compact vans for solo adventurers to luxurious RVs for family getaways, there’s an RV option suitable for every traveler.


The allure of recreational vehicles lies in their ability to provide freedom and flexibility. With an RV at your disposal, you have the freedom to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations. You can wake up surrounded by nature’s beauty or park near bustling city centers – the choice is yours.


Let’s delve into the various differences between caravans and motorhomes and tips for choosing the right RV for your needs.

Table of Contents

Size and Layout of Caravans and Motorhomes

There’s a few key differences in caravans and motorhomes when it comes to size and layout. Knowing these differences can help you make a great decision when choosing between the two for your travel needs.


One major difference lies in the design and construction of caravans and motorhomes. Caravans usually have a separate chassis and body, with the chassis providing the structural support while the body serves as living quarters. On the other hand, motorhomes are constructed as a single unit, integrating both the chassis and living space into one cohesive structure.


Size is another factor that sets caravans and motorhomes apart. Motorhomes come in various classes, with Class A being the largest and Class C being more compact. These larger motorhomes offer spacious interiors with features comparable to a small apartment. Caravans also come in different sizes but generally have less interior space compared to motorhomes.


In terms of layout, both caravans and motorhomes offer different floor plans to suit various preferences. However, due to their larger size and integrated design, motorhomes often provide more flexibility in terms of layout options compared to caravans.


Ultimately, whether you choose a caravan or a motorhome will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as towing, desired features, size requirements, and budget when making your decision.

Maneuverability in Motorhomes vs Caravans

There are two main options to consider when it comes to travelling with an RV: towing a caravan or driving a motorhome. Both options have their own set of pros and cons, and it’s important to weigh them before making a decision.


Towing a caravan offers the benefit of flexibility. With this option, you have the freedom to detach your campervan from the towing vehicle and explore your destination using just the car. This can be especially useful if you plan on doing day trips or need a smaller vehicle for navigating narrow roads or parking in tight spaces.


Another advantage of towing a caravan is that you can choose from a wider range of vehicles as your towing vehicle. This gives you more options in terms of size, power, and fuel efficiency. Additionally, if you already own a suitable car for towing, this can be a cost-effective option compared to purchasing or renting a motorhome.


Driving a motorhome gets rid of the need for towing altogether. This means that once you’re on the road, everything is conveniently located in one vehicle – no need to worry about unhitching or setting up camp at each stop. 


Driving a motorhome can also provide better stability on the road compared to towing. Since everything is integrated into one unit, there’s less chance of swaying or fishtailing that can occur when towing large loads behind another vehicle.


It’s important to consider that driving larger motorhomes may require additional skills and confidence on the road. Moving through narrow streets or parking lots can be more challenging due to their size.

Comfort and Facilities in Caravans or Motorhomes

There’re some key differences between motorhomes and caravans when it comes to comfort and facilities.


Motorhomes generally offer a wider range of facilities compared to caravans. Motorhomes often come equipped with a kitchen, bathroom with shower and toilet, sleeping areas, dining space, and even entertainment systems. Some larger motorhomes may even have additional features like slide-outs that expand the living space when parked.


Caravans usually have more limited features due to their smaller size. They usually have basic sleeping quarters and a small kitchenette area but may not include a bathroom or shower. However, some caravans do offer portable toilet options or external shower attachments.


Another difference is the sleeping and living areas. In motorhomes, the sleeping area is usually located at the back or above the driving compartment, providing a space just for rest. The living area is integrated into the same space as the driving area when on the move but can be expanded when parked.


In caravans, sleeping arrangements often involve converting seating areas into beds at night. The living area remains separate from the sleeping quarters throughout travel. and is typically located towards the front of the caravan.


Additionally, motorhomes generally offer more ease when it comes to setting up and packing up. Motorhomes are self-contained vehicles, allowing you to simply park and begin using the facilities without any additional setup. Caravans require more time and effort to set up at a campsite. You would need to level and stabilize the caravan, connect things such as water and electricity, and potentially put up awnings or annexes for additional living space.


If you value ease and want access to a wide range of features on-the-go, a motorhome may be more suitable for you. However, if you prefer flexibility in terms of detachable living areas or have specific requirements for towing capacity or storage options, then a caravan might be a better choice.

Affordability of Caravans and Motorhomes

Affordability is a key consideration for many potential buyers when it comes to purchasing a caravan or motorhome. The good news is there’s plenty of options available for those looking for affordable caravans and motorhomes.


The price of RVs can vary greatly depending on factors such as size, brand, features, and condition. 


Caravans will generally be less expensive than motorhomes as they are smaller in size and have less features overall. However, there are several cost-effective options for motorhomes and caravans that can fit within various budgets.


One way to find affordable caravans and motorhomes is by considering used vehicles. Pre-owned RVs often come at a lower price compared to brand new ones, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers. It’s important to thoroughly inspect any used vehicle before making a purchase to ensure it is in good condition.


Another option for those seeking affordability is to consider smaller or more basic models. Compact caravans or motorhomes with fewer amenities may have a lower price tag compared to larger, more luxurious models.


Additionally, researching different brands and comparing prices can help in finding the most cost-effective options. Some manufacturers offer more budget-friendly models without compromising on quality or functionality.


Finally, considering alternative financing options such as leasing or loans for caravans and motorhomes can make purchasing a motorhome or caravan affordable by spreading out the cost over time.

Caravan vs Motorhome: Key Differences and Considerations

When it comes to choosing the perfect recreational vehicle (RV) for your adventures, understanding the key differences between caravans and motorhomes is crucial. While both options offer a mobile home-away-from-home experience, there are important factors to consider before making your decision.


  • Caravans are easier to maneuver on narrow roads or in crowded campsites due to their compact size. Motorhomes, on the other hand, come in various sizes ranging from Class B (similar in size to a large van) to Class A (resembling a bus). These larger vehicles provide more living space but can be more challenging to drive and park.
  • Another difference in motorhomes vs caravans is amenities. Caravans often have basic facilities such as a bed or seating area that can convert into sleeping quarters, a small kitchenette with cooking facilities, and sometimes even a portable toilet or shower option. Motorhomes offer more extensive amenities.
  • Budget is also an important factor when choosing between a caravan or motorhome. Caravans tend to be more affordable than motorhomes due to their smaller size and fewer amenities. However, if you prioritize comfort and luxury during your travels or plan on extended trips with larger groups, a motorhome might be a more suitable choice despite the higher cost.


Make your dream of owning a motorhome or caravan a reality!

If you’re looking to buy a caravan or motorhome without breaking the bank, Exceed Finance can help you out!


We can offer caravan loans and motorhome finance, as well as a loan for a trailer, at competitive rates due to our connections with some of New Zealand’s best lenders. This also allows us to provide you with tailored loan and financing options to suit your needs.


Check out our loan calculator to get an estimate on how much you may be able to borrow for your caravan or motorhome.



Apply for a caravan or motorhome loan!