Buying Tips

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Caravan Buying Tips


Purchasing a caravan is an exciting time, however it is important to consider the options so that you know what is available.

At Premier Caravans we aim to satisfy, so here are some things for you to consider. These will enable you to make a decision as to whether we have something available that would suit, or whether you want to speak to us about importing you a caravan.

You need to think about how you plan to use your caravan and therefore which aspects are more important to you.


European caravans are very similar in width size but come in a number of different lengths.  The most common size is around 20ft. The longer the length, the more you might have to think about buying a twin axle as opposed to a single axle.  A longer van would certainly give you more space, but would be a little more difficult to tow. You also need to think about the size of the area it will be stored, or the size of the ‘sites’ you are likely to be staying at. If you are planning on keeping the caravan at a permanent site for any length of time you might not be worried about the towing aspect and the space inside the caravan may be more important to you.  However, if you are planning on doing a lot of travelling with your caravan and unlikely to stay at the same spot for long, you might want a shorter, lighter caravan which is easier to tow.

You also need to think about what ‘berth’ size you would like.  If there are only two of you, a common scenario is that you still might prefer to go for a 4 berth so that it gives you the flexibility of  a permanent bed set up at one end, and a seating area at the other.  The most common berth sizes are 2/4/5 berth, but if you are a larger family we can look into the availability of six berths where you can add ‘bedroom’ space with a full awning.

Remember that the length of the caravan will dictate how long the beds are, or the size of the bathroom too.


Many people have a specific layout in mind when searching for a caravan as there is a large number of variations available, but some are happy with a number of different options. The choice is usually a lounge area that is either ‘Galley’ style, ‘U’ shaped or ‘L’ Shaped. With the other seating/bedding area it will normally be either in the middle of the caravan or the rear. You can also choose whether to go for a bathroom in the middle of the van which will often be more compact but allows for more seating room at the rear of the van and more light because of a large rear window. Or, your preference might be for a rear bathroom which are often larger.


Like many other vehicles, caravans can come in hundreds of different models, some of which will have a superior specification. This might show itself in the standard of upholstery, cupboard handles, light fixtures, kitchen specification, or might be that they have one or more Heki rooflights instead of air vents in the ceiling.

Self Containment

The majority of European caravans are supplied with external waste water and fresh water tanks that are easy to move around.

However, if you would like to purchase a self contained caravan with the relevant Self Containment Certificate, speak to us about organizing this for you.

Certified Self Containment is maintaining and certifying your motor caravan in accordance with the New Zealand Standard for Self Containment of Motor Caravans and Caravans, NZS 5465:2001. A self containment vehicle is designed to completely meet the ablutionary and sanitary needs of the occupants (including water for drinking and cooking) for a minimum of three days without requiring any external services or discharging any waste.

Waste water is collected in holding tanks then disposed of via a dump station. Dump stations are connected to reticulated sewerage or septic tank systems, therefore the treatments used in the waste water must be approved toilet chemicals or treatments that do not affect the operation of these systems.

See for more details


All European caravans are purpose built by bespoke businesses. If a van is well maintained to the manufacturer’s recommendations it can last you a lifetime. Many vans that are over 10 years old that have been well looked after, can look almost as good as new.  The age of the caravan you go for will often be dictated by budget and the other Aspects we have discussed.


There are often ‘extras’ available that can either be included in the purchase price of the caravan or purchased separately. Some of these extras would include an Awning (porch, side or full), TV/DVD Unit, aerials, locking devices etc.  An Awning is a worthy extra to consider as this can add a large amount of living space which can be used as an extra bedroom where needed.