Winter is over and the weather is getting (slightly) better. Millions of people in the UK will be looking forward to escaping their daily routines and settling into their luxurious break in the sun, however with currency fluctuations making some foreign holidays more expensive, there is another idea that is great fun, affordable and easily accessible: caravanning.
The notion that Caravans are expensive to purchase, with huge upfront costs can be off-putting for many people, however there are alternatives. Try hiring or borrowing one for the weekend, or resorting to AirBnB or Gumtree where thousands of caravan owners are willing to lend you theirs for a small sum, or even better, sell you one at a reduced price. You can even join the Camping and Caravanning Club, which has excellent tips and tricks as well as support groups for people who want to know about all things caravan.
The beauty with owning your own little home on wheels is that you are not limited to where you can stay. Boring view or noisy neighbours? Pack up and drive somewhere else.
Caravans are ideal for families, as the compact nature of caravans and motorhomes means the kids can’t sulk off to their bedrooms and play computer games, instead having to spend quality family time around the monopoly board. We have so much outstanding nature and beauty across our country just screaming to be explored – who needs a package holiday when staycations can offer easy access to the Great British Countryside.
Although there are some excellent places around the whole of the UK to pitch your ‘van, the South West offers some incredibly natural highlights, with areas of rugged coastlines, lush green hills and rolling moorland.
- Ayr Holiday Park, St Ives
- Treen Farm Campsite, Penzance
- Slapton Sands Camping and Caravanning Club, Devon
- Burnbake Campsite, Dorset
Once you have chosen a suitable campsite and managed to safely navigate your way along the South West’s famous country roads, it’s time to pick your spot and set up your caravan. This can be quite daunting for amateurs or beginners, and it makes sense to ensure that you’re familiar with the caravanning rules.
Don’t park too close to trees or overhanging foliage. Not only do you run the risk of a loose branch making its way through your thin aluminium roof, but you will have to keep cleaning moss and bird mess from your nice shiny caravan. Pick a nice flat area of ground, as this will stop and onions and apples from rolling off the handy fold-away table you spent ages getting straight in the first place.
Check for flood warnings and don’t pitch near rivers. Flash floods will turn your mobile home into a mobile submarine. Be careful when plugging into power outlets as well, especially if it’s raining and take extra care if using a gas stove for the cooking. Try and do this outside and away from the caravan, especially for barbecues.
Bear in mind that even though the car towing the caravan is insured, this doesn’t automatically extend to the caravan. Consider taking out dedicated caravan insurance for any specific mishaps, as towing does provide some significant additional challenges.
Even though these initial rules can be a bit daunting, the rewards from caravanning are extensive. Caravanning overall can be a fun and rewarding experience, with different campsites offering something slightly unique and individual. Following the basic health and safety tips, knowing the basic rules, and a bit of prior research on the campsite and the surrounding area can give you a much more satisfying vacation.