There are many types of self catering accommodation available for holidays in Victoria, but very few types come close to that of a new caravan. This article takes a look at five of the main reasons that static caravans are an ideal choice of accommodation for your next self catering holiday.
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- Pet Friendly If you have a dog then you will no doubt be aware of the high cost of putting your furry friend away in kennels whilst you go on holiday. It is not just the financial cost thought it is also the emotional cost of being separated from your pets. You will find that many static ‘vans that are available to hire will allow one or two pets to stay in them. There is frequently a charge for this but more often than not it is significantly less than kennel fees.
- Choice of Locations Caravan parks are situated all across the Victoria and as such you a sure to find a holiday park in the area that you want to visit. If you want to just escape for a weekend away there is bound to be a good selection of parks within a 50 mile radius of your home. From beachside caravans to caravans hidden in valleys there is certainly a holiday park to cater for everyone.
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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.
The main points are:
- Do not purchase the caravan without first speaking to park management. Remember, you are buying a caravan off the owner. You then need to know the conditions of having it remain on site at the park.
- Ask for a copy of the Occupation Agreement. It includes park rules, annual costs, inclusions and other details. It should be lengthy. If it is only 2-3 pages long, then it is possible that the agreement does not comply with the legislation concerning on site caravans. The Government Act in NSW concerning on site vans in Holiday Parks is: "Occupation Agreement. Holiday Parks. (Long Term Casual Occupation) Act 2002".
- Discuss future plans with park management. How long can you anticipate having your caravan at their park? Do they have plans to replace your caravan with a cabin in 1-3 years? If so, will you be asked to remove your caravan or will they relocate to another site within the park?
- Does the caravan comply with local council and park regulations? Discuss this with park management. Sometimes caravans may be sold because they don't comply so you may have to get this work done.
- Discuss what you can or can't do to your caravan. If you want to add a deck for example, you will need to ensure that it is within site boundaries. You may have to get approval to even paint your caravan.
- Check out other caravans for sale within the park and nearby parks. If there are many for sale, try and find out why? A good park should have a low turnover of caravans for sale.
- What is included in the sale? Some include all furniture. Take photos of the interior at the time of inspection if it does.
- Do your sums! If you are not going to use the caravan on a regular basis, it may be cheaper to stay in one of the park cabins rather than paying out all your money for a couple of weekends each year.
- Investigate the park further. Will it be crowded when you plan to stay? What type of clientele do they attract? Is it oriented towards children? Is it pet friendly? We suggest you stay in an on site cabin for a night or two to get a "feel" for the park.
- Does the asking price sound reasonable? It it is too much, don't be afraid to ask why. Compare its price to other caravans in the same or nearby parks.
The most important thing to realise is that you are generally buying from the person who owns title to that caravan. It may be towable (a requirement if the caravan is in a flood liable area) or it may be on stumps or "tied to the ground". You are not generally buying rights to the space it currently occupies, just the caravan itself. You then need to pay an annual fee to the management of the caravan park for the privilege of having your caravan on site. This fee and what it covers varies form park to park.
If you follow these ten steps, you will be far less likely to be disappointed with your purchase. Remember, you are not just buying a used caravan. You are investing in your spare time and holiday aspirations.