Who Else Wants A 20Ft Caravan With Ensuite?
Is there more thrilling and personal way to travel the countryside than going in style with a caravan or motor-home? You get the excitement of the open road while enjoying all the comforts of home. Some people enjoy a nice hotel room but you have to admit they lack a personal touch and you can’t take it with your at your next holiday lodges destination. The only complaint I’ve heard from people about caravans is the stereotypical 70’s décor image we all have. Thankfully, it is something which can be fixed.
Redesigning the interior of your caravan couldn’t be easier. The small amount of space means a minimal, clutter free style is probably the way to go. I prefer simple darks yet stylishly colors, especially in a carpet. Go for contemporary looks and colors that don’t need constant cleaning. Some people found vinyl flooring works great at some of the muddier holiday parks since it can be wiped clean in seconds.
When it comes to the kind of furniture, I would spend some extra money on items with multiple uses. This saves money in the long run and also gives you more room within the caravan. Recently, I just purchased a couch-bed which also contains storage space in the body so I can keep the bedding in during the daytime. It saves a great deal of room.
Caravans and Motorhomes
Caravans and motorhomes essentially let you go to many of the same places and do many of the same things, so a week's holiday to the Lake District or other UK destination will be fundamentally the same if you are looking at driving there, parking up and enjoying a week or so relaxing.
The big difference comes when you want to move around a bit more or simply 'park up and camp' in a more remote location, as this is where caravans and motorhomes really begin to act completely different. A motorhome gives you a greater amount of freedom to move from place to place and stay at a number of different locations within a relatively short space of time, whereas a caravan is better suited to being left in one location and used effectively as a holiday home for the duration of your stay.
Of course, don't forget that you can still explore the immediate area with the car you used to tow the caravan! In fact for many people this is the big advantage of caravans over motorhomes, the fact that you can unhitch the caravan and drive around in a more compact 'normal' car, rather than exploring in a larger motorhome. Some motorhomers do tow small cars such as 'smart cars' but generally this is only possible on larger, more expensive 'vans.
In summary, the decision boils down to how you intend to use the vehicle. If you simply want an affordable way to spend holidays in the UK and Europe then a caravan is a fantastic choice, and one which still gives you a huge choice of destinations to choose from. If however you want the freedom to be able to move campsite at short notice and spend time at a number of different locations during your holiday, or want to do a little more 'wild camping' whilst away, then a motorhome may be the better option for you.
New to Caravanning - Your Essentials Checklist
Whilst there are hundreds if not thousands of great products available to caravanners, no one wants to fork out a fortune for items they might not need or won't ever use, particularly if you have just paid for a new caravan. There are however a few essentials that will make your first caravanning trip easier, more enjoyable and altogether stress free - just the way it should be.
The first absolute essential is a portable water container for filling your fresh water tank when you first arrive on site. Often simply called an 'Aquaroll' after one of the leading products of this type (think 'Hoover' or 'Tanoy'), these are an absolute must for every caravanner as in case you hadn't noticed your home away from home is not plumbed in to the mains!
You will also need a step for getting in to the caravan door as steps aren't generally something which manufacturers supply, though if buying from a dealer these will often be included as part of a 'new starter kit'.
An awning isn't strictly an essential as some caravanners do go without, but with the offer of doubling your living space and greatly increasing your caravans usability, it's an item which most caravanners wouldn't do without. You can buy different types and sizes of awning, from a full length awning with large zipped doors, to a porch awning designed simply as an area to take off muddy boots before entering the van, so be sure to do your homework and choose the awning that's right for you and your caravan.
These items should make your first trip a little bit easier and more enjoyable, but there are hundreds of items which you may find you need over the years and will unwilling amass - just keep in mind that whatever you buy, you will have to carry with you! On the subject of weight, make sure that your caravan and its contents never exceed 85% of your cars total weight as this is the maximum ratio which is safe to tow. Of course it is advisable to be well underneath this to get the best control and safety when towing, plus much more better fuel consumption - and remember that the maximum towing weight detailed by your car manufacturer is the one you should never exceed, even if less than 85%.
Last, but certainly not least on your list of must haves, is a specialist insurance policy that covers your caravan and all your carefully chosen new equipment. Make sure that the total value you are insured for is enough to cover your caravan, awning and every item of equipment.