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Fulltime RV Living: Choosing The Best Mobile Accommodation

Fulltime RV Living: Choosing The Best Mobile Accommodation

Be it suburbia or the outdoors, lifestyle is very much influenced by our personality, our needs, and — perhaps most of all — our budget. Fortunately, in affluent countries like Australia, the diverse range of mobile accommodation options allows us to travel virtually anywhere we choose both comfortably and economically.

What suits me, though, is not necessarily going to be your first choice, nor are your preferences likely to match those of your close friends or relatives. Result is, all segments of the camping and RV markets are doing quite nicely.

Of course, at the budget end of the accommodation spectrum, tents are always high on the short-list of options, particularly for lovers of true outdoor freedom. On the other hand there are those who simply must have a few creature comforts, while still maintaining some degree of independence. This latter group is likely to opt for either a fully appointed caravan/travel trailer, or motorhome.

For the rest of us, somewhere along that cost/comfort scale our ideal niche is there to be found. Keep in mind, however, “ideal” is really a sneaky way of saying “acceptable compromise”. After all, no matter what your choice — tent, tent trailer, camper trailer, caravan, campervan, or motorhome — compromise will be necessary between the key deciding factors of cost, comfort, self-sufficiency and mobility. The trap is, only you can balance that mix!

Nevertheless, to help you identify your personal niche, here are a few of the essential differences between the popular options among nomadic travellers today:

Tent

Camping under canvas has always attracted a strong (and growing) band of devotees. Tents are relatively inexpensive, available in a vast range of sizes and complexities, and allow the outdoor lover to retain complete freedom, flexibility and mobility.

With tenting, though, the biggest drawbacks are the time it takes to get your camp set up, and the relative vulnerability to weather extremes. Together with sleeping, cooking and other equipment, a lot of vehicle space is required, and frequent changes of location become quite a chore with daily set-ups and pack-ups.

Tent Trailer

Moving up the budgetary scale, tent trailers might be your next consideration. These are essentially a small trailer with a built-on, collapsible frame-tent. Generally, they are more robust than regular tents, far easier to erect, and your bed (and some floor area) is raised above the ground. With a raft of optional awnings and add-ons, a tent trailer can become a canvas castle!

Keep in mind, though, towing a trailer of any kind does impact, to some degree, on campsite accessability, although heavy-duty and “off-road” models minimise this effect (especially if towed by a 4×4).

Another advantage is the freeing up of most of your vehicle load space, although you should also anticipate a quantum jump up the financial scale. (But if you already own a sturdy box-trailer, it may be adaptable.)

Camper Trailer

Even a low-spec camper trailer represents a further — significant! — hike in potential outlay over tent trailers (though the huge second-hand market is worth exploring). Even so, you stand to gain a considerable boost in comfort levels, particularly for long-term camps or extended touring.

Certainly, camper trailers still require setting up in camp, but this is a fairly quick and painless operation. Towing, too, remains reasonably stress-free considering their low profile and lighter weight compared with full-size caravans. Even so, bush mobility and manoeuvrability does suffer over tent or tent trailer outfits. And don’t forget those extra costs, such as insurance, registration, and increased fuel consumption.

Motorhome

For long-term or fulltime nomadic lifestyles, a full-size motorhome provides optimum comfort, convenience and all-round security. No towing is involved, while driving and parking is a breeze (except in very narrow streets and parking lots). Making camp, and moving off in the morning, is the easiest of all possible options.

Their main disadvantage is the high cost (in motorhome rather than campervan configuration), and the fact that every time you move — even to the store for milk or bread — you have to pack-up your “home”. And if repairs become necessary out on the road, you may be faced with motel costs.

Little brother of the motorhome, the campervan, has a similar set of pros and cons but is far less expensive to buy and operate, and considerably easier to get about in. For two people they represent an excellent all-round compromose for long-term touring, but get very “tight around the shoulders” for a fulltime lifestyle.

Caravan

For the best balance of all between space, comfort and security, it’s hard to beat a reasonable size caravan/travel trailer. For lengthy stays at a “base camp”, while getting out and about in your car or 4×4, they are ideal. There are sizes, makes and models to suit most family needs and all budgets. And the pre-loved market is endless.

Here again, though, mobility on backtracks can be greatly curtailed (even with some of the 4×4-rated rigs), and generally speaking, driving is more tiring, costly and slower. Visits to major towns, with tricky parking or tight turn-arounds, often become a real pain in the tailpipe.

So what do I recommend? Well, unfortunately there’s no simple answer! For example, depending on our plans, our camping and travelling alternates between lightweight touring (sleeping in our 4×4), and towing our home — a 16 foot caravan. Every so often, we use a canvas tent for lengthier bush camps while visiting the high country.

To my mind, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. But if you’re planning to embark on a fulltime traveling lifestyle, my advice would be to identify — and carefully examine — your personal needs and aspirations, then set yourself up to suit the destinations and activities of most interest.

Best part is, you have plenty of options.

Bill Revill is an Australian freelance writer, fulltime RV traveler, and remote lifestyle expert. For further information go to: http://www.livingontheroad.com http://www.authorsden.com/billrevill Copyright 2007 by W.V. Revill
Choosing the Right Motor Home

Choosing the Right Motor Home

Motor homes have been frequenting the highway and outdoors for many decades. Most Australians consider the convenience of a motorhome as the best of both worlds. Not only can they enjoy a great family vacation, or a long road trip, but they can do it in the comfort of a comfy home setting. After all, how can you miss home when your nice warm bed or your cooking range is just meters away from you!

The important question always rings true…what type of motor home is best for you. Please take into consideration the following tips when you are out shopping for one of your own.

* Style- The style of your motor home can greatly affect the driving experience that you will have. Size, shape, weight, build, all of these things will have an impact on not only the general appearance of your motorhome, but on how it handles the road as well. So, before just grabbing the first vehicle that catches your eye, think first of the main uses you plan on for your new purchase. You will want to consider if you will be driving around a great bit or if you plan on staying stationary once you reach your final destination. Prepare these questions before visiting your local motorhome dealership and the salesperson on site will be more than happy to help you choose the motor home that is right for you

* Features- Features in a motorhome can vary from a full service kitchen complete with a dual burner stove and microwave to a simple pop-out single burner stove to save on space. Kitchens aren’t the other features to think about either. You will need to remember that you plan on treating this vehicle like a “home”. So, planning ahead for the proper bathroom, living space, sleeping space, and ease of movement within needs to be taken into consideration. Consider what amenities you search for when you are staying in a hotel and try to coincide this with the needs that you will expect from your motorhome. Motorhomes can range in cost from 30K and up, so getting the features that you want from the beginning will save you cost and headaches in the long run if you ever decide that upgrades are necessary for your overall comfort.

* Price- This can be the “killer” when dealing with a motor home purchase. Depending on the style and features you have chosen, you can be looking at a pretty hefty investment. So, don’t just jump into things. Take the time to research not only the cost, but also what you are getting for your money. Not all motor homes are created equal. You may pay 30K for a motor home that you feel is fairly well equipped only to find yourself with a broken down, busted up disaster on wheels after a year or two. So, to prevent this from happening, choose a reputable motor home manufacturer and ask questions. Find out about the engine type, the chassis type, warranties, and all other relevant information that you would ask as if you were buying a new car or new home. After finding out the details of the product then begin worrying about price. Ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice quality for value by trying to locate a cheap motor home.

* Spare Parts- When searching for a motor home, the thought of spare parts frequently slips the mind of the prospective buyer. Does the manufacturer carry full stock of replacement parts for your motor home? Too many times than not, models of motor homes can be phased out and the replacement parts become near impossible to locate, especially if you’re searching for caravan parts. Do yourself a favor and make sure that the place you buy your motor home has not only the motor home you desire, but also any spare parts that you will require later down the road.

Deciding to purchase your new motor home can become stressful if you don’t prepare yourself with the right questions when going to the dealership. Take the time to educate yourself first and it will all be smooth sailing from there…or should we say “smooth driving from there”.

SunCamper is a leading motorhomes manufacturer in Sydney. Check out their wide selection of caravan parts and new motor homes NOW!