What should we travel Australia in?  Caravan, camper trailer, tent or something else?

The question of "What should we travel Australia in?" Caravan, camper trailer, tent or other suggestions, comes up constantly. And of course it is a great question as you will need it to suit your requirements and of course all of our requirements are different. 

Other TAWKers are always happy to give their thoughts and below are different snippets and answers that they have given over the last year or so to the question of whether to travel in a caravan, camper trailer, tent, bus or something else.


We also asked for our TAWKers pictures of their caravans, camper trailer, tent or what ever they had chosen - we were overwhelmed with the response! We have many the photos here too for you to get a good visual of what others are doing.

So is it to be a Caravan, camper trailer, tent or something else for you?


The following are answers and thoughts from other TAWKers (names omitted to protect privacy) to help you.....

  • I love the space our Jayco Expanda Pop Top caravan has. I could not imagine living in a camper trailer or a tent. We have 4 kids. Packing away depends how long we had stopped for. It's 10 - 15 min usually (if everything has already been packed away inside the van). It's so easy to pack away, one of us could do it.
  • We started with a tent, then went to a Jayco Dove caravan trailer and now have a full sized family caravan. A lot of our decision was based on the age of our kids. We just wanted quick and fast. Some days it still isn't fast enough!
  • You want to be off the ground, and be able to cook and 'live' in all weather conditions, not have 3 kids sitting up off the flooded ground on your bed whilst you brave the elements to cook dinner.. I initially looked at a camper trailer, then ended up with an old 14ft pop top caravan instead. They are easy to pack up, especially compared to waiting for a canvas tent / camper trailers to dry in winter to avoid mold.
  • If you're going for a while, moving regularly and you have young children, I would suggest whatever requires the least time and effort to set up. Also think about heating/cooling and mosquitoes.
  • When living on the road long term, things DO go wrong, having a hard solid roof over my head and being up off the ground is just something that I now consider a necessity.  So caravan for us.
  • Go with the best you can afford. We are 6 months into our 9 month trip in camper trailer and whilst it's nice and big and for the most part we have enjoyed it, it is a lot to setup and pack away. The canvas and poles are the cheaper end and will just about last us. If we were going any longer, it would have to be a pop up. We stay mostly in caravan parks and make the most of the facilities.

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What should we travel Australia in?  Caravan, camper trailer, tent or something else?

  • Think about where you plan on staying. That can make a big difference, especially when it comes to storage. We did 100% free / bush camps, so having the space to prepare / eat / clean up meals is more of a challenge then you'd imagine with a larger tribe, even inside the van!
  • We have an Outback Expanda pop top with kids 11, 8 & 2. Having 2 separate tables in the van is great for doing school work & is a saviour when it's raining. It's a manageable towing size yet when folded out is quite big. At times I wish we had a full van to minimise the packing up but it really isn't too bad.
  • I reckon choose either caravan or off road camper trailer. The pop top slide out bed style are good but about the same or longer setup as camper trailer for long term travel and you have less places to take them. A caravan will go less places but significantly less setup so bit of a tradeoff. We have done tent with trailer, pop top and camper trailer. Tents are fine but its nice being up off the ground, especially in wet weather. You could also consider rooftop tents.
  • We've done the lap in a pop top, now doing it in a full family van. Much easier now to pull over, grab something from the fridge and boil some water on the stove for a quick cuppa.
  • We love our full van, it's an off-road and we haven't had any issues with it yet, been away 10 months so far. Great to have your own bathroom and washing machine.
  • We have an off road van caravan, but only because we are travelling indefinitely and it's our home. I think if we had planned to do a 1 year big lap we would have been happy with a camper. It's a personal preference and depends a bit how long you'll be on the road.
  • I started our trip with a full caravan and 4 kids. I was happy to switch to a camper trailer within a month of being on the road but I didn't get a chance. Caravans can limit your ability to go places but they are very comfy. Just need to work out what works for you and your family.
  • Definitely caravan. Those little creature comforts come in handy....especially if you have a sick little one like we do today.
  • We live in our camper trailer. Down sides are more setup/pack down and prolonged wet weather can be challenging. Up sides are; you have a home that will go most places a 4wd will go, less weight to tow and you will be doing most of your living outside, meaning your life will feel more connected.
  • We've squashed a family of 4 into a Vista crossover - will go anywhere a camper trailer will go but without the canvas and set up time.
  • We opted for a caravan and have taken it everywhere so far. But we also stop for work (3-6 months at a time) and the extra space, security and bathroom are really handy then. We aren't avid 4 wheel drivers but enjoy the back roads, just drive to the conditions.
  • You just need to think about all the places you cant go in a caravan, that you can in a trailer, and decide what it is you want to experience. Obvious pros and cons for both. We have a forward fold trailer, we love it. Very quick to set up, and where you can get it  - amazing!
  • Pop tops are good but for more of a permanent setup maybe a full caravan would be better. However, full off road could be difficult, don't bother up the cape unless you get a camper trailer. Might be best to focus on the van that suits take a tent for off road stints.
  • I recommend a Jayco Expander Outback, half way between full van and a camper and went just about everywhere. Sometimes we left the van and took camping gear for the real rough spots. We had 2 kids and all loved it as it's got the best of both worlds.
  • Having owned both a Jayco Swan and now a Jayco pop top caravan, I would go for the pop top. It's really easy to set up and pack up no having to push the sides in and fold cupboards down. I also think you can pack more in the caravan and the bonus of being able to stop anywhere and have a cup of tea without unpacking anything.
  • Waiting for a sunny day for a camper trailer to dry so you can pack it up, or to try keep the mold off because it's wet is not the most fun you'll have if you chose to travel in a camper trailer. For me, the time that it takes to setup, the ability to live happily and to pack up and relocate in really bad weather made my mind up and had me buy a pop top caravan.
  • We had a camper trailer and every time we set it up we'd think "this is the same as a tent to set up" It  took us at least an hour. So we brought a Jayco Flamingo outback (pop up & out). Never looked back. It's up in 10 minutes. So if you can afford it definitely go a pop up & stay clear of the camper trailer. 
  • Our camper is amazing!! Pull up to basic setup in 3 minutes!! Love it!!
    We also have small children and have not found issues yet.  Can go lots of places that full vans cannot.

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