Family caravans, on a budget.
There’s a lot of travel pages that gloat about travelling on a budget. However they often do so with $60 000 – $100 000 worth of car and caravan, which for many of us makes the dream of full time travel seem totally unobtainable regardless of how little they spend each week. Whilst we’d love to have $100 000+ to buy a modern car and caravan, the reality is if we waited until we had that much money, I’d be near retirement age. I’m not that patient.
Is it possible to get a caravan for a family of 5 for under $30k? $20k or even 15k, or less!? Absolutely.
For instance, our van is an 18ft 1989 Coromal Lowline, it came with the following:
Triple Bunks + double bed
Full oven, grill and 4 burner stove + rangehood
2 way fridge (120L, gas / electric)
Awning AND an annexe (annexe attaches to the non door side)
Since owning it, we’ve added:
12v setup (150ah, 320w solar, 1000w inverter, 30amp controller + all lighting / 12v sockets – More detail here)
An extra 2 tanks giving us 120L of water storage and 58L grey water tank
Electric water pump
12v fans for our fridge (Here)
Converted from single to dual 9kg gas bottles
The total cost, was under $15k. Admittedly, I did the entire 12v setup myself which did save me quite a lot of money, but if you want to go travelling on the cheap I think you need to be prepared to learn a lot so you can do these kinds of jobs yourself. There’s endless information available on the internet, it’s just a matter of taking the time to learn.
The great thing about owning an older van is that they are much lighter, so there’s no need to spend upwards of $30k on a 4WD to tow it. The other benefit is that a cheaper setup means far cheaper insurance which helps when you’re travelling on a tight budget.
Our first caravan cost us $2k to buy. Sure, it was not the prettiest thing in the world but we were still parked alongside $100k+ setups, driving the same roads, enjoying the view at the same campsites and emptying the toilet in the same stinky dump points.
It’d be nice to have an ultra modern caravan and car with all the bells and whistles, but for the extra expense I am not entirely sure it makes the journey that much more special.