Top Tips for buying a Touring Caravan

Decide what you want to do in your tourer...
First match the caravan to the car you will use to tow it. Check out practical things like storage space for sports equipment especially if you are going to use it mainly in support of a hobby or activity.

How many people, how many berths?
Even if there is only two of you, you may decide the additional space in a 4/5 berth caravan suits your needs better. The size of your car may limit the size of caravan you can tow – some people choose a smaller caravan but supplement it with an awning or tent. Practical Caravan magazine gives awards for the best caravans for small families, large families and couples – check out their online magazine at: www.practicalcaravan.co.uk

Car/caravan matching and loading
Here’s some good advice from Andrew Ditton of Caravan Magazine: ‘Loading and car matching are key. Place heavy items over the axle, and try to attain the recommended noseweight for the van. Seven per cent of the MTPLM is a good figure. The bigger your car compared to your caravan, the more confident you will be. Try not to tow a caravan that weighs in excess of 85 per cent of your car's kerbweight, I'd recommend a single-axle and not a twin. Single-axles are easier to manoeuvre, and more manageable on the road. These days there is no such thing as a correctly-loaded caravan that tows badly.’

Compare and contrast
Caravan shows are great places to see lots of different makes and models and compare and contrast them. For a list of shows, click here.

Buy from a reputable source
Your local dealer is your best place to buy – just go along and talk to him. He can give advice on handling, servicing, finance and warranties.click here for more information.

For security make sure the caravan is registered with CRiS
CRiS is the NCC’s caravan registration and identification scheme. All caravans manufactured (from 1992 on) by NCC members have a unique 17 digit ‘VIN’ number. When a caravan is sold, the new owner’s details are sent to CRiS. Since 1997, new touring caravans have been electronically tagged as additional security - from 2016 with Vin Chip. Click here for more information.

Second hand tourers can offer excellent value
If you are considering buying a pre-owned caravan, download the National Caravan Council's Top Tips for buying a second hand tourer - download the PDF.

For safety, make sure your tourer is NCC Approved
The NCC Approved badge is the sign that when the tourer was built, it complied with all relevant European and UK health and safety standards, industry Codes of Practice and UK regulations. Some of these are not required in countries outside the UK, so you need to be sure that your tourer is safe – look for the badge. Click here for more information.

Don’t forget servicing
Your tourer should be regularly serviced to ensure it is properly roadworthy. New tourers under warranty require this to be done but for your safety you should always ensure it. Many dealers offer Approved Workshops for quality tourer servicing. Another reason why your dealer is important to you. Click here to find Approved Workshops near you.

Decide a budget...
…and put a bit aside for extras - a caravan mover or awning, water carrier or barbeque. Maybe a flat screen TV, DVD player or even folding satellite dish... (Remembers, these may restrict the weight of personal effects you can place in your tourer when under tow.)

Join a Club
For tourer parks, travel, information and technical advice, it's worth joining one of the clubs serving those who own tourers – The Caravan Club or The Camping and Caravanning Club.


Copyright 2015 NCC