Should I buy a campervan or a travel trailer? Which is better?

You’ve come to the right place if you are looking for a compact home on wheels. There are many key differences between campervans and travel trailers. Which one you choose will depend on several factors.

A travel trailer needs a vehicle to transport it, while a campervan can be towed by its own vehicle. Travel trailers offer more space than campervans due to this.

In my travels I have rented campervans as well as travel trailers. Then, a few years back, I decided to buy my own trailer.

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This article will explain the differences between campervans & travel trailers, and help you choose which one to buy.

What is a Campervan?

A campervan, a Class B vehicle, is equipped with sleeping and living space. It often includes a bed, storage spaces, a kitchen and a bathroom. You can customize almost any van to be a campervan. However, the most popular options are those built with a VW, Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit base.

Because it is self-contained, a campervan offers a distinct advantage over a travel trailer. You don’t need to tow anything. This also means you will need to bring your home wherever you go, from camping to grocery store parking lots to everywhere in between.

The cost of a campervan will vary depending on its specifications. However, it is usually cheaper to build your own. These vans are easily affordable at between $30,000 and $100,000.

What is a Travel Trailer?

A travel trailer can be described as a container that can be towable and attached to another vehicle. Travel trailers are similar to a hardshell tent but have less space and are smaller than other types of vehicles. There are many sizes of travel trailers on the market. However, the idea behind these units is to provide a minimal space for sleeping and cooking.

You’ll find many travel trailers with a kitchen either inside or outside. Even though there are no standards, smaller trailers don’t have an inside bathroom.

  • Nearly all these trailers have power hookups, storage and air ventilation options.
  • Things to Consider Before You Make A Purchase


The size and weight of the options will determine whether campervans or travel trailers are more efficient. Campervans are generally slightly more fuel efficient than travel trailers.

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Towing a travel trailer can add up quickly. You can expect to get about 20mpg while diesel campervans typically get 18-25mpg. Both are not great on fuel but the additional output can be justified when you consider the reduced carbon footprint and savings due to camping.


A travel trailer is a great option for those who are on a tight budget but don’t have enough time or the know-how to make their own campervan. Although there are exceptions, fully-built campervans that are reliable and cost less than $100,000 can be expensive. They also require a lot of maintenance. Travel trailers are more affordable and require less maintenance.

The big caveat is that this assumes you have a vehicle with which to tow your travel caravan. If you don’t have a vehicle to tow your travel trailer with, you will need to add this cost to the price.

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Both options require insurance. It all depends on where you live and what your insurance company offers, but on average, a travel caravan will cost less to insure than a campervan.