Lost in life

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 at 23:52
ThreadID: 101952 Views:2148 Replies:9 FollowUps:7
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Hi everyone,

I came across this site while searching for information to help me decide what would better suit my needs, camper trailer or caravan. I have read many posts and comments on here & have looked at countless sale websites but am completely lost so any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I am a single mother of 2 aged 3 & 8 months. I have always wanted to travel around Australia but when my first came along we settled into the suburban lifestyle. Knowing that she will be starting school in 2015 I figure it best to go out and explore this great country in an attempt to find a nice friendly town with a great community to call home. I've read many great pros & cons for both camper van & caravan but most have been based on the assumption of its use for off road driving. Our adventure will stick fairly close to main roads & definitely no 4WD. At this point I have no real destination just a general idea of the direction to travel in. We currently live in Central QLD but hope to travel down the East Coast of Australia & if we haven't found home continue on to Tasmania.

I understand a lot of it comes down to personal choice but I currently have no real knowledge of any of this & would love help with any tips, suggestions, things I might need to consider for the trip, just about anything.
In advance thank you to anyone who comments or can email kristi_ann@live.com.au
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Reply By: Life Member TourBoy, Bundaberg - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 06:21

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 06:21
Hi Kristi,

If I was in your situation I would go for a caravan. Much easier in wet conditions and no time for set up. You can also leave the kids in the van until right up to the point of leaving whereas with a camper you have to remove them and try to supervise them whilst packing the camper up.

Safe travels.
Cheers,
Dave
2010 Isuzu FTS800 Expedition camper
2015 Fortuner
Had 72 cruisers in my time

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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 12:06

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 12:06
my son was doing the same with his three, settled on a 17 ft caravan and a pajero to tow it with. simple is best for set up and pull down. With the van he has found that he can keep the kids inside with the electronics while it is wet. he is by himself.
Broodie H3
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Reply By: mikehzz - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 06:26

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 06:26
Hello Kristi,

I would suggest a caravan for a number of reasons. It's way less hassle to set up at the end of the day. It is more secure for any valuables you may have. It is more comfortable on a daily basis especially if the weather is bad. It will be safer for toddlers. As you are looking for a place to settle, you can use it for accomodation when you do hopefully find that place. You can also carry more things with you that make life more bearable on the road.
The downsides are that it will be heavier to tow, cost more and use more fuel. If I was you I would be looking for a light van that could fit my gear, was easy to set up and secure. By secure, I mean solid roof and walls for bad weather and lockable doors.
All the best,
Mike
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Reply By: sweetwill - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 09:25

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 09:25
Hello Kristy S
As said above it has to be a caravan, as to the size that depends on your car, iv had both and their is nothing worse than setting up a camper trailer 2/3 times a week, enjoy your adventure what ever you decide on because its a wonderful world out there, cheers Bill.
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Reply By: baz&pud (tassie) - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 10:02

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 10:02
Hi Kristi,
Have to agree with what has been said above.
See you in Tassie.
Safe travels.
Cheers
Baz
Go caravaning, life is so much shorter than death.

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Reply By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 12:24

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 12:24
Hi Kristi,

In your post you have mentioned 3 alternatives. I'm not sure if this was a typo or if you were also considering a small camper van/motor home as an option.
Advantages of a caravan v a camper trailer have been well documented by others.
The downside of a caravan is possibly having to upgrade whatever vehicle you have and now having to tow a reasonable sized van/trailer. Now this may be absolutely no dramas for you.
If you are seriously considering a smallish camper van/motor home the main disadvantage is having to take your home on wheels with you everywhere.
In your situation if you are at all worried about security for yourself and your kids maybe a motor home might be worth a thought. If you have pulled up somewhere for the night and something makes you feel uncomfortable you just get behind the wheel and drive off. With a caravan you need to get out and get into the towing vehicle.

Just a thought.

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: nellyjr - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 15:17

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 15:17
I think Pop has it right. we have been helping a friend of ours with young boys 5 and 3 try and do the same thing you are. we took her to see many options, showed her our soft floor camper, discussed towing options for her vehicle etc.

My only advise i would add to Pop's is to think about the caravan and motor home options and take into account whether you can physically put a caravan on and off your vehicle easily. i mean no disrespect by that as i know a great deal of peopl who wtruggle to do this by themselves, in which case the motorhome all in one is a great option. you can carry an extra tent so if the kids want to play and get out of the motorhome on wet days they can run in and out of the tent and keep your camper clean.

Goodluck on your choice and your journey,
Nellyjr
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Follow Up By: Kristi S - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 15:30

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 15:30
Thanks Pop & everyone who has commented. I hadn't much thought of a motor home but its definitely something I can consider. Currently I have a Mitsubishi wagon so it's a low & fairly small car & I'm unsure of its towing capability. I have been looking at upgrading it. Having read everyone's comments I've scratched out the camper trailer idea & now must consider pros & cons to a caravan or motor home.
Haha I appreciate the comment from Nellyjr about my capability of hitching a caravan to my car & must admit its not something I had yet considered so thank you. I honestly have no idea, I'm a pretty small person so I guess I would more than likely struggle.
I do have another question for anyone who knows much about the motor homes, I've looked at a couple online but can't find anywhere that says where the kids sit as one seat in the front has an anchor point but I can't imagine sitting with both kids side by side next to me while driving a motor home as my youngest likes to kick his feet & pull at just about anything within reach. While some say they sleep 5 adults I don't understand where they sit while driving? Do they just lay on the bed or walk around? I wouldn't want my kids walking around while I was driving.
I know that probably seems a bit of a silly question but to be honest I've only ever been in a caravan once when I was a child & it was in a caravan park. Thank you again for any & all comments left, I really appreciate the wonderful advice & well wishes so thank you

Kristi
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 17:02

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 17:02
Campervans that I have been in have had the 2 front seats able to swivel around and face the other way, while the second row seats fold down and become a bed or table. They are all different but there is usually proper seating with seatbelts for 4-5.
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Follow Up By: nellyjr - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 18:07

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 18:07
We have looked at many campervans with the two kids in mind for our friend and faced the same challenges. some of the dinner table seats in the rear have seatbelts fitted but many would not have met the ADR compliance as they were not fitted correctly. most vans have bench seats so it is not too bad to get 3 across the front if this is the case, otherwise if it does not have proper seatbelts fitted in the rear, it can be quite costly to get fitted up.

Nellyjr
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 20:55

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 20:55
Hi again Kristi,

I just re-read your original post. Now I am not sure about other states, but I know from experience here in WA and carting our grandkids around your 8 month old would need to be in a rear facing baby seat/cocoon thingy like our little 7 month old and all the others up to I think 8 yrs have to sit in a booster seat. By law anyway. Sorry but maybe another small problem to overcome with a campervan/motorhome.

Cheers
Pop
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Reply By: brushmarx - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:20

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:20
We have never taken kids on our trips, but after camping with a soft floor camper trailer, and an A'Van Cruiseliner, can see what benefits there are in a van when roughing it off road.
There are a wide range of vans, and perhaps a smaller folding hard roof van similar to the A'Vans would suit you. The manufacturers talk of only taking 30 seconds with one person to set the van up, and they are correct, as long as you don't worry about stabilisers, annexes etc.
Folding down is the same, and the short time is more than compensated by the lower profile towing, and light weight for towing which allows smaller towing vehicles.
The feeling of security coupled with the lack of wet canvas with the hard walls and roof would probably be a bonus, but the sheer nature of these is less room compared to bigger vans.
We can pull up for a night, raise the roof, and start cooking in less than one minute. Longer stays or disconnecting the vehicle takes a further 5 minutes.
Cheers
Ian
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Follow Up By: brushmarx - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:23

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:23
Sorry, should be "NOT" roughing it off road.
I'll get there someday, or die wanting to.

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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:31

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:31
If weight / towing vehicle is an issue, you might look at a lighter pop-top caravan...

Pros: Lighter and less drag (generally more stable in x-winds and easier for an inexperienced towing driver)

Cons: not as secure and have to wind up & down (which doesn't take long as a rule)
AnswerID: 510130

Reply By: mountainman - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 19:36

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 19:36
jayco flamingo be absolutely perfect for you.
its a pop top.
sister bought one second hand, went away in it in sept last year..
girls, twins were 5 years old and just enough for the 5 of us at night to hang inside the pop top.. as in room, but not for sleeping 5..

around the 22grand for something fairly new..
depending on what you drive it will tow fine.

when they bought it, it had a normal wall heater fitted, and they thought, whod use that...
it ended up being awesome on the trip away, i spent the weekend with them..
the weather was a little chilly and the heater helps make the pop top very easy to live with.

its funny because while we were at the park, this old couple mid 50's ? and teenage kids, in their flash new 4wd dual cab and new van...
started hooking up the van, and definatly didnt have much of an idea, nearly drove off with the stabiliser bars down too !!

being a girl you shouldnt have too much issue finding help he he
but once you master it, youll love it..

idealy once you buy a van, setup close to home, as in a local van park and get a feel of what you need to setup.. to make it livable for yourself..
that way once you hit the road, you have it setup how you want, and makes your trip on the road more enjoyable.. !!
AnswerID: 510148

Reply By: mountainman - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 19:41

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 19:41
other thing is you can hire vans... and find out if the pop top is suited..
or the full version
avis or some of the other ones do it.
they hire them in albury soo should find it easier in the bigger centres..

cheap option in the long run..
rather than buying a van, not suited, selling it, if it sells and make a loss and then on the search for the van you do want..
AnswerID: 510149

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