So you’ve decided to take the plunge and invest in a trailer. You’ve heard so many great things about them and you want to join the party, so to speak. You crave the freedom that having a trailer will bring, and you can’t stop imagining the adventures you may have. Let’s face it, owning a trailer opens up a wealth of opportunities and allows extensive travel by having essentially a ‘house’ on wheels which makes it very attractive and financially viable for anyone wishing to escape for a getaway, whether business, or pleasure.
According to aarp.org motorhome and trailer sales have soared recently. it is a relatively safe way to travel in these strange times. They allow people to get out of the house and away for a break, whilst limiting the worry of Covid19 being an unwelcome visitor. Families don’t have to mix in hotels, restaurants or enclosed spaces as most trailers come complete with everything you need. This allows for natural social distancing as no mixing is needed.
If you are unsure about whether a trailer is right for you, there are many companies that offer a rental service, so you can try before you buy. Good to keep in mind if you want the reassurance you are making the right decision.
If you are 100% sure it is an investment you want to make, and as excited as you may feel about the prospect of all the places it could take you, you need to gather as much information as possible to ensure you make the right choice. So let’s consider some details of exactly what you need to know.
Budget/ new or used
Firstly, and most importantly, you need to decide what your budget is, and if there is any compromise within it. Obviously trailers have a wide price range and, depending on whether you buy new or second hand, will vary in condition.
As is the case with buying cars, if you decide to buy a second hand trailer you may have to be prepared to spend a bit of money fixing it up to make sure that it is safe and roadworthy. This may be a daunting prospect or a great project to get your teeth into. Whatever your personal preference, do your research so you know exactly what you’re doing and have a clear idea of what would need fixing.
If you decide to purchase a second hand trailer be sure to go in armed and knowledgeable with what you need to check. For example at the very least, check:
- Rust and cracks
- Tyres and wheels
If you aren’t clued up on the mechanics of vehicles, perhaps take someone with you who is, as they may identify a problem you may overlook.
If you are buying new, shop around and compare. Decide what features will suit your needs and decide on any ‘must haves’ in your new trailer. Some companies offer fully customizable trailers, while Caravan Woods recommend choosing exactly what you want in terms of ‘features, comforts and amenities’, that way you won’t waste money and effort on things you don’t need, and you will be confident that everything you require is included in your purchase.
Checking out the legal requirements of travelling with a trailer is vital before purchase and travel. If you are driving across America it is important to note that each state may have different laws when it comes to travelling with a trailer. For example the speed limit in California on a freeway is 55mph for any vehicle pulling a trailer whereas in New Hampshire it is 45mph. In the UK, the speed limit for towing a trailer is 60 mph on a motorway, but this may change depending on road conditions or roadworks. There are also weight restrictions to think of when using a trailer so again, make sure you have all the information you need.
It is imperative you decide the exact type of trailer you need for your travelling. You can choose:
- Conventional trailer
- Truck camper
- Teardrop trailer
- Hard top pop up trailer
- Retro trailer
- Airstream trailer
- 5th wheel trailer
It’s good to do some extensive research on these as they all have different features, unless of course you decide to opt for the customized trailer as mentioned earlier. For example, if you choose a truck camper, what you gain in compactness, you lose in space. If you are planning a solo trip around an island, perfect! If you plan on bringing your whole family not the best choice.
If you choose an Airstream trailer you choose a great quality, excellent brand, easy to tow, and great for the whole family, but it will be hard on the pocket. Airstreams are great trailers, but very pricey.
Conventional trailers are the largest option and great if you want to feel ‘home from home’. They are heavy and will require an appropriate vehicle to tow them, but generally they are a great choice with budget options available.
Right for your car
So, you may have overlooked this ‘small’ detail. But not any car can pull a trailer. So if you have a Renault Twizy hatchback, you’re not going to be getting far! If you are buying a new car too, then great, you can ensure it is fit for purpose, but if the trailer is the only thing you wanted to fork out money for, then make sure you do all the necessary checks. The overall winner of the 2019 tow car awards was the Volkswagen Arteon. It does all the jobs it needs to brilliantly when it comes to pulling a trailer. A tow car needs good stability, which means that the heavier the car, the better the performance. It is worth checking out the website to compare car performance. There are other factors too, such as how well the suspension works when heavily loaded.
So, there are many things to consider before you embark on this thrilling journey. It is also good to note that trailers hold their value better than motorhomes over a 15 year period, so If you research and make the right choice, a trailer can bring you many years of joy and memories. Happy travelling!