As the end of the year approaches, the thought of buying a campervan, caravan, motorhome, or trailer tent might not necessarily be at the forefront of your mind. However, according to a survey by the NCC, leisure vehicle sales have hit the roof this year. Clearly, many people have been buying their new home on wheels including younger buyers who made up 34% of new sales. New UK caravan registrations increased by 20%, whilst used caravan checks were up by 50% compared to last year. This is not just a British phenomenon. RV dealerships in the US also reported an 30% increase in new buyers.
So why have so many people decided that 2020 has been the right year to buy their first leisure vehicle, and could it be the right time for you?
One reason for so many newbies this year could have been as a result of the rise in “staycations”. Many new buyers might have felt that holidaying in their own home from home was a much safer bet than having to fly or quarantine. Of course, once you’ve bought your new home on wheels, no one else needs to use your kitchen or bathroom, reducing your holiday risk considerably. On top of this, the space which campsites must maintain between units for fire regulations means that you are naturally going to be socially distancing by several metres anyway.
In fact, if you try a “Certified Location” site as a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, you won’t have to share your outside space with many other couples or families. In some cases, if you go off peak, you could even find you’ve got the whole place to yourself. One of our most memorable stays was at a site near a vineyard near Wroxeter. We shared a huge field with one other couple and a bunch of llamas, all for the princely sum of £15!
This leads us on nicely to…
Cheaper holidays = going away more
Apart from the initial price of your chosen new home on wheels, your outlay will be minimal, leaving you to enjoy a plethora of cheap nights away. You’ll have a choice of different places to stay too, from smaller sites to more expensive “all singing and all dancing” venues with spas, swimming pools and even sports centres on tap.
At the cheapest end are “Certified Locations” which you can access as a Caravan and Motorhome Club member. Their prices start from as little as £5 a night, enabling you to go away more often and more safely. There are plenty of more expensive CL’s too, offering plenty of facilities nearby and onsite to suit everyone.
There are heaps of sites to explore which cater for different tastes. You can choose a site with a multitude of fishing lakes such as Clays Touring Park in Wrexham or Pearl Lake Country Holiday Park in Herefordshire. For those who want a little exclusivity, you could try one of the 43 “Tranquil Parks” sites across the UK which only allow adults. If you fancy something even more exciting, why not try Duinrell Park in the Netherlands which not only has its own waterpark with 21 different water slides on site, but its own fairground too?
Joining a community
It goes without saying that once you own a leisure vehicle, you belong to a community of like-minded folk who love exploring the great outdoors. There are many ways to get support and build friendships if you want to, through forums and rallies, (which are mostly virtual at the moment due to Covid-19).
You’re also in good hands if you are a first timer and a tad unsure about how to reverse, level your new home on wheels, or just want some general advice about buying something new. We’ve met many lovely people onsite who have helped us or answered questions when we’ve needed guidance. The most touching moment for me was when we turned up at a small site in Dorset with a breakdown truck after a rather harrowing journey involving our car breaking down. We were met by a couple in a campervan whose first words were “We’ve just put the kettle on. Do you want a brew?” I could have hugged them on the spot! If you would rather enjoy your holiday without talking to your neighbours though, that’s fine too. There are plenty of peaceful sites across the UK.
So which leisure vehicle should you go for? This might be a huge investment, meaning that it’s important to think about what suits your needs. Both of the main clubs in the UK have guides and support to help you make the right decision about buying a new leisure vehicle. In my next blog, we’ll take a whistle stop tour of some of the key things to consider before you buy.
Whatever you decide to do, good luck, and if you’re not sure whether or not to go for it, remember…
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”Mark Twain