Over a million people take a caravan holiday every year in the UK, with 800,000 of those fully signed-up members of the Caravan Club.
Before the advent of cheap air travel and accommodation that costs less than a taxi ride into town, caravan holidays were all the rage in the UK. Each year, hundreds of thousands of families, friends and couples flocked to their seaside resort of choice, ready to enjoy the unique charms of Britain’s seaside holidays in their own slice of heaven on wheels.
Since budget airlines hit the scene, however, the world has got a lot smaller: one can take a trip over to Spain for around £100, while even far-flung destinations such as Japan and South Africa are serviced by regular flights. In the pursuit for new cultural experiences and warmer climes, the caravan holiday has been left behind.
Or has it? Recent statistics suggest that over a million people still embark on caravan holidays each year in the UK, with 800,000 of those fully signed-up members of the Caravan Club. Is it possible that we’re experiencing a caravan renaissance?
Back in the glory days of the caravan holiday, the most a person could reasonably expect from a caravan was a banquette sofa, a tiny bed and a small kitchen area. Caravans had the essentials, and that was about it. In some cases, they didn’t even have the essentials either.
Fast forward to 2013 and new caravans are more like large self catering holiday homes on wheels. Not only do you get the essentials, but you get TVs, fully functioning ovens and microwaves, built-in DVD players, fridge-freezers and more space than most terraced houses. Caravans have essentially become hotel rooms on wheels, which might explain some of their renewed appeal.
It’s not just the interior which is increasingly appealing to caravaneers either. The old beige and grey caravans of yore have been ousted in favour of chrome-plated dream machines such as the Knaus C Liner, which shares more in common aesthetically with a luxury car than a caravan.
An Investment For (almost) Life
Even if you weren’t to invest in one of the new breeds of super caravans, buying a caravan is essentially booking yourself a holiday for life. Caravans are an investment, not just in an automobile, but also future holidays. The amount of money you’ll save on hotel rooms will more than justify the cost of the van in the long run.
Caravans also a killer selling point that hotels rooms can’t offer; personalisation. A caravan is uniquely yours and provides you with the freedom to express yourself however you wish; this could something as lavish as decking out an old VW camper in tie-dye or something as simple as adding a bit of paint to the walls of the interior.
The Romance Of Freedom
Undoubtedly the most appealing aspect of taking a caravan holiday is the potential freedom on offer. Holidays are supposed to be an escape from the day-to-day grind of schedules and spreadsheets, yet catching flights and living in a hotel for a week can be just as stressful.
With a caravan, you can hit the road and do whatever you like – provided you pay for a pitch, of course. If you fancy driving to Scotland, you can do it. France? No problem. No other kind of holiday offers the unique freedom of caravanning.
Saving The Environment
Airlines have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years due to the amount of carbon emitting by air travel. This has led to an increase in the taxes airlines have to pay, an increase that has inevitably been passed on to customers. Flying – it’s environmentally unfriendly and expensive!
Caravans can’t claim to be the most eco-friendly of holidays either, but the carbon emitted over the course of a journey is far less than the emissions of a plane. Once you’ve parked up, the amount of electricity and gas you use will probably pale in comparison to the amount you’d use in a hotel where both utilities are essentially ‘on tap’. Caravan manufacturers are increasingly fitting out their models with energy efficient appliances too.
Have caravan holidays become cooler? Perhaps not. But there is undoubtedly a lot of reasons to consider taking one anyway, regardless of whether your holiday choice is trendy or not. So, why not skip the flights next year and hit the road for a caravan adventure instead?