With international travel a big no-no at the moment, more and more of us choose to take holidays closer to home. From Aberdeen to Cornwall, thousands of people take to the British countryside and coast rather than jetting off to sunnier climes and risking quarantine when they get back. With this in mind, it stands to reason that you might be considering whether the decision to buy a caravan would be a good one in the near future.
Caravan popularity has risen in recent months, as COVID-19 looks set to affect our holidays well into 2021. It’s no surprise why: making the decision to buy a caravan now is a great way to start your journey in exploring the good old British Isles.
Caravans have a bit of a sad rep, with many thinking they’re only for loners or people with too much time on their hands. They are, however, growing in popularity as people cotton on to the many benefits of owning a caravan!
- Freedom: You can travel where you like, when you like, without being reliant on planes or train schedules. You won’t have to spend time waiting around in stations or airports, either… doesn’t that sound tempting?
- Flexibility: Want to change your plans at the last minute? Whether it’s the time you’re away or the destination that you’re travelling to, if you’re in a caravan you’re not being forced to work to anyone else’s schedule.
- Home away from home: In a caravan, you can take your most essential items and biggest home comforts (Yorkshire Tea, anyone?) with you, without having to abandon things due to weight restrictions.
- Visiting friends: If you’re visiting friends or family with your caravan, you can be guaranteed your own space without having to book into an expensive hotel or crash on their (let’s face it) probably very uncomfortable sofa. Win win!
Convinced? Read on for some things that you should be aware of when you start looking to buy a caravan…
When it comes to buying a caravan, you want to do your research before you make a commitment. Here are a few tips to bear in mind when you go caravan shopping:
- Consider second hand. When you buy a caravan, second hand is a good option because it’s likely to hold its value a lot better than a brand new one. You’ll also be able to get your hands on it more quickly than you would a new model.
- Get the history. If you do go second hand, make sure you get as much history as you can before you make a commitment to buy the caravan. You want to know the exact age, how many miles it has done, and about the service warranty, proof of ownership, internal fittings and most recent service. Make sure you get answers on these things!
- Buy at Christmas. Yes, really. Dealers are at their busiest in the spring, ahead of the busy summer season, but if you start caravan shopping in winter you’ve got much more chance of finding a good deal.
- Work out your finances. When you’re thinking about how much to spend on a caravan, you should do some maths to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Work out the cost of the caravan itself, vs your usual spend on holidays multiplied by the number of years you expect to own it, and how many holidays you’ll take each year. Is this particular caravan a worthwhile investment? Only you can know the answer.
- Consider your options. How big do you want your caravan to be? Do you want more space, so that you can take other family members away with you? Would you prefer to buy a static caravan, in one place that you already know well, rather than one that you’ll take to multiple different places? Make sure you ask yourself all these questions.
- Consider popular models. Yes, they might look similar to everyone else’s. But there’s a reason why mid-range models are popular. Pick a caravan with popular appeal and you’re less likely to have issues replacing parts if things do go wrong.
Made the decision to buy a caravan? Great!
Now you’re a proud caravan owner, you’ll want some tips on how you can maximise your travels. As ever, we’re here to help.
- Plan your stops. Planning a long journey? Why not split up the driving and find somewhere to stay overnight? A quick Google can throw up a wealth of campsites where you can stay overnight, possibly meeting other caravan owners along the way.
- Be careful about your weight. Over-fill your caravan, and you might find that you’re using up more petrol than you’d like. The lighter you travel, the easier the journey will be on your engine. There’s more information on not overloading your caravan here.
- Always take a spare tyre. Not much more to say on this. It’s just common sense!
- Check your paperwork. That is, whether your driving license allows you to tow a caravan, and whether you need to get insurance in case something goes wrong. More on that here.
- Join the club. For lots of advice on how best to travel with your caravan, we’d recommend joining the Caravan Club. The club can help you to book a site to stay with your caravan, offer travel updates, give advice on COVID-19, and connect you with other caravaners with similar questions. It sounds like a no-brainer to us.
Have you decided to buy a caravan this year? We’d love to hear your plans. Let us know over on the forums.