A caravan holiday is a great way to spend less on your holiday and is an easy option for those who need a fun and hassle-free getaway. Children love caravans too, so it’s an excellent choice for families.
- Why a caravan holiday?
- Where to begin and how much it will cost
- Buying your own caravan
- Buy second hand
- Insuring you caravan
Renting a caravan is often much cheaper than staying in a hotel or even renting a cottage.
For example, Park Holiday packages start from just £69. On top of that they offer FLEXI-DINE which allows you to get breakfast and a two course dinner for under £12.30 a day!
You may envisage a caravan holiday being very basic and not providing you will all the comforts and amenities that you are used to. However most caravans are equipped with modern up-to-date fittings and, depending on where you stay, may also be fully knitted out with everything you need including kitchen utensils, a cooker and a fridge. Haven’s range of caravans begin at the Standard level which offer features such as a 32″ TV in the lounge, double glazing and central heating!
On top of this, caravan holidays provide a form of flexibility that many other getaways do not. Many caravan owners are happy for you to bring your pets along so you don’t have to worry about getting someone to look after them. Most parks accept up to two dogs per caravan and often have fantastic walking routes to explore.
Plus there are caravan parks not just all over the UK, but all over Europe, so there is plenty of scope as to where you can go. Although, of course, you will have to bear in mind the travel costs if you’re thinking of going somewhere distant.
There are many big name holiday park websites that you can search to find a good deal such as Haven and Park Resorts. If you’re looking to go somewhere a little different or have a specific area you would like to go to then you can search sites like UK Caravans 4 Hire and pitchup.com.
The cost of renting a caravan depends on the quality of the caravan, the location and the time of year you want to rent it.
Even during high season, during the busiest period, caravans rarely cost over £600 a week and most tend to be between £200-£400. While caravans are self-catered and many parks boast facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts and play areas, you will have to remember that the cost of eating, travel and entertainment must be considered on top of the price of accommodation.
Rather than renting a caravan there is always the possibility of buying one of your own. You might think it would make sense to have your own caravan which you can use at any time and rent out the rest of the year. In fact, Park Holidays offers free static caravans for those who want one, which sounds like a really good deal. However, whilst it might be tempting to get yourself a new caravan if you can afford one, we would recommend against it.
The additional costs soon rack up, though. As the owner of the ‘free’ caravan you would be responsible for pitch fees that average around £3,000 a year, about £250 a year for water and rates, around £300 a year for gas and electricity, and you would also have to pay for Caravan Holiday Home insurance which costs between £200-300 a year. All in all you could be looking at £3,850 a year for your free holiday home!
If you are thinking about paying for a new caravan (which can easily cost upwards of £20,000) then be aware that caravans depreciate in value extremely quickly. It could easily be losing thousands of pounds a year, although exactly how fast it will depreciate depends on the model.
As a caravan owner you will also be at the mercy of the park owners so make sure you research carefully before signing any contracts.
- You will have to pay their pitching fee,
- you may well only be allowed to have a caravan under a certain age in the park
- and, when the time comes to sell, the park owner may want to sell the caravan for you and receive some commission. Whilst you can refuse this arrangement, the park owner can refuse to keep the caravan on their park site which will make it considerably more difficult to sell as other park sites may not accept it either.
- You will absolutely need to be paying for caravan insurance as well and it is worth using a comparison site to find the best deal available.
There is the possibility to get some of your money back by renting out your caravan but there are a lot of other caravan owners doing the same thing, which is why caravan holidays are so cheap. Some park sites are also closed at some points of the year and you won’t be able to rent it out at that time (which also rubs salt in the wound when you consider the costs you are paying).
If you buy a tourer caravan you’ll have more flexibility where you can leave it and you likely won’t run up the same costs that you would at a holiday park site. You will, however, need somewhere to store it and some local councils won’t allow you to leave it on your driveway.
If you are going to buy a caravan we recommend you buy second hand (£4,000+ for a touring caravan, more for a static). The caravan won’t depreciate so much in value once you’ve bought it and there will be less of a loss if you find out caravan holidays aren’t for you.
To search for a caravan to buy you could begin by browsing the caravan autotrader website. Remember, some park sites won’t allow older caravans (usually caravans older than 10 years).
Again, research thoroughly before buying to make sure you are getting the used caravan at a fair price.
Make sure you take into consideration all the potential costs before you splash out because renting once a year may well be a lot easier and less costly than having your own caravan.
While it is not a legal requirement that you get your caravan insured, sometimes even the best planned holiday can throw up unexpected problems.
For static caravans, insurance protects the vehicle itself, as well as its parking lot. It is important to ensure that you have transit insurance so that when you move your caravan, it is also then covered against accident, damage or theft.
For touring caravans, while you car insurance may cover you for towing, it is unlikely to protect you in the event of a problem. The rules on towing are different depending on when you passed your driving test. For example, if you passed your test before 1 January 1997, you are able to tow up to 8.25 tonnes maximum authorised mass (MAM). However, if you passed your test after that, the amount that you are legally allowed to tow is smaller.
Regardless of the type of caravan that you have, it is important to ensure that its contents are insured. However, be careful not to double up on insurance as it can make claiming difficult and cause extra stress.
Some insurance companies offer discounts on their packages if you improve the security of your caravan. Some simple measures include keeping your valuables out of view, but others such as the installation of a Thatcham-approved alarm are valuable investments. Another way to sneak a discount is to join clubs such as The Camping and Caravanning Club as members get exclusive benefits such as Arrival breakdown cover and access to a forum of likeminded holidaymakers.
For more help with your caravan insurance, get a quote here.