27/09/2017
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What's the best family touring caravan?

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Buying the best family touring caravan will provide your family with a passport of discovery to some of the most magical holiday destinations.

If you’re new to touring, then there are two fundamentals factors in choosing the right caravan which you must get right: The size of caravan you can safely tow and the number of people you expect to sleep in it.

Before visiting a dealer, work out what size/weight of caravan your current car will safely tow (using the 85% rule and our handy Towmatch tool) and which layout will work best for you.

Get these basics right, however, and everything else should slot easily into place.

What do I do first to buy the best family touring caravan?

Spend some time exploring layout diagrams of caravans for sale online, then visit a dealership or caravan show to see how these images translate into real life.

The sheer number of caravans on offer at a show can be overwhelming, so consider using your phone to take a short video of each preferred van interior and a snap of the specification board outside for later comparisons.

Armed with this extra information, you can create a shortlist and revisit all the caravans to see which one will work best for you.

With manufacturers sharing similar layouts, your final decision may be influenced by details such as shower size, heating type or the deal available.

Choosing a perfect family caravan: Berths

The first question is: Do you need 4, 5 or 6 berths? But it’s also worth considering whether you are going to be staying on large sites with good facilities or simpler sites, without showers and washing-up facilities.

Do you plan to cook in the caravan, or eat out most evenings? And do you mind making up a bed before turning in for the night, or do you just want to collapse into a comfy, ready-made bed at the end of the day?

The answers to these questions will steer your decision on which layout you will choose. If you are primarily planning to stay on well-equipped sites with good facilities, you might not see a large shower room as especially important.

Similarly, if you plan to eat out most nights, a spacious kitchen might not be a priority. But if you like to stay on small, ‘no frills’ sites with few facilities, a large shower room with a separate, step-in shower and a well-equipped kitchen could both be essential.

Choice of caravan layout: Room for the kids

While a fixed double bed may seem like a great idea for anyone craving a good night’s sleep if you have young children, wouldn’t a roomier lounge and perhaps a separate kids’ bedroom be a better use of the space?

All caravans involve some compromise, so it’s simply a case of drawing up a list of priorities, putting the most important aspects at the top and seeing how many boxes each layout ticks.

Choosing the best family touring caravan that sleeps four with a decent kitchen and somewhere for mum and dad to sit in comfort in the evenings might be just as important.

Similarly, a large end shower room will be a big advantage if you plan to stay on small sites or don’t like communal loos and showers.

The major caravan manufacturers tend to copy one another’s successful layouts, so you’ll get used to the most common variations, but you may come across the odd unusual layout on the used market, which is ideal for your specific needs.

Our choice of caravan for active families

As the kids get older, living space and storage become the key factors and the 6.3-metre long Sprite Quattro FB offers both by the bucket-load. And, despite being a twin-axle lightweight caravan it's easy enough to tow with many mid-range family cars.

Another major attraction of the Quattro is that there’s a large fixed bed at the back which affords mum and dad some privacy while the youngsters battle it out for the bunks further down the caravan.

Overall

There are plenty of family tourer options from all the caravan manufacturers. To get the best family touring caravan for you just be sure to do your research and think about the pros and cons before making any big decisions. That way you'll find the best layout for you that will stand the test of time on any holiday.

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