I am going to make a bold statement here: caravan holidays are the best type of holiday. They are also disgracefully underrated.
A beautiful hybrid of camping and resort holidays, a caravan stay has all the perks of camping (natural surroundings, budget-friendly, uninterrupted quality time) without any risky squat-and-pee situations when your bladder wakes you at 2am.
Caravan holidays have always been popular with families and older couples, but they are usually overlooked by young people in favour of beach holidays or exotic trips abroad.
It’s time to dispel the myth that caravan holidays are for the old or the boring. Prepare yourself, Millennials, to be enlightened and ultimately converted to the joys of caravanning.
Want to do something different for your birthday next year?
Over-due a relaxing weekend with the besties?
Need some alone time with your partner?
Or, perhaps more accurately after months of being stuck at home, alone time away from your partner?
Before you start fighting over the cheapest Ryanair flights for 2021, consider the possibilities closer to home. There are lots of reasons why caravan holidays are a great choice for any occasion, but here are my top ten.
1: They are great value for money
Thanks to our friend Corona, these are thrifty times for many of us. Luckily caravan holidays are budget-friendly; in fact you can book seven nights in a standard 4-bed caravan for less than £400.
I challenge anyone to find me a decent seaside hotel for that price. (The key word here is ‘decent’ – if there’s a sign above the door boasting that the hotel has ‘colour TV’ or ‘hot and cold water’, it doesn’t count.) And let’s not forget, cheaper accommodation means more money to spend on the essentials: booze.
That being said, if you do feel like treating yourself, there’s plenty of ways to bring a little luxury to your stay. It’s 2020 baby, which means flat screen TVs, en-suite bathrooms and private barbecue areas are all available at caravan parks. You can pay extra for a larger living space to make cosy evenings more comfortable or upgrade to a caravan with an iPod docking station and even a hot tub.
2: A great choice for all ages (and the four-legged)
A caravan holiday can work for the whole family. There’s activities to occupy children during the day, while adults can enjoy a drink and socialise at an on-site bar in the evenings. A caravan stay is also perfect for people looking for a more laid-back holiday (a.k.a perpetually tired women in their late 20s such as myself) with time to relax.
Furry friends don’t have to miss out on the fun, with dog-friendly caravans at many parks, and neither do your friends who struggle to get time off work! Most places in England are within driving distance, so why not invite them to join you for the day at the nearest beach?
3: Bad weather won’t ruin your holiday
While rain on holidays abroad could stop you from visiting all those famous landmarks you wanted to see, it isn’t nearly as disastrous when you’re staying in a caravan park with on-site entertainment and restaurants.
There’s also plenty to do inside your actual caravan, just make sure you plan ahead. Remember to pack board games or a games console for hours of fun on a rainy day, and as caravans are self-catering, you can stock up on as much booze as you like and keep day drinking as your back-up plan.
4: Everything you need is on-site
Caravan parks have all the facilities you need onsite – it’s not too different from Centreparcs really, but without the eye-watering price tag. There’s swimming pools with water slides (come on, you’re never too old), evening discos, game arcades and indoor soft play, as well as restaurants and a shop.
Larger caravan companies such as Haven offer extra activities at an additional cost, including adventure aerial courses, crazy golf, segways, archery and football coaching. Creative workshops and indoor sports may also be available, depending on the time of year.
5: Visit the beach and local attractions nearby
Most caravan parks are situated near the beach and tourist towns. Who doesn’t enjoy a trip to the British seaside?
Some of my favourite childhood memories are from our family trips to Hunstanton in Norfolk, where we stayed in my great uncle’s caravan every summer. I will always remember walks to the ice cream parlour on the shore and the saltiness of sea air and chips fresh from the fryer. Nothing beats the taste of seaside fish and chips.
Whether you prefer Skegness or feel that Cornwall is more your scene, you can book a caravan holiday at any popular beach destination across the UK. As well as walking or driving to the beach, you can also explore the shops and attractions in the local town or venture further into the countryside on bike or foot.
6: Take it at your own pace
One of my personal favourite things about caravan holidays is you aren’t obliged to sight-see. Whenever I go abroad, I always feel guilty if my daily itinerary isn’t crammed with activity. Travelling to another country is often expensive so it makes sense that we would want to get our money’s worth, but holidays should also be about having time to relax and unwind.
If you do end up booking a caravan holiday, make sure you take a nap at some point during your stay. Caravans are the best place for mid-afternoon nap. You might be in a single bed rather than a king size, and the room might be stuffier than what you’re used to back home, but trust me when I say naps elsewhere just cannot compare. Pro tip: they also work wonders on a hangover.
7: Supporting local businesses
When this pandemic is finally over, the economy will likely take a lot of time to recover. Choosing to holiday in England means you will be putting money back into the local economy. Independent businesses, from gift shops to cafes and restaurants, will feel the impact of Covid-19 the hardest and the support of British holidaymakers will be crucial to ensuring their survival. Shop local and holiday at home!
8: No faffing around with foreign currency or lingo
There are a few rare individuals who relish the challenge of conversing with locals on their holiday to Italy, but I’m sure most of us wouldn’t list struggling to order lunch at a pizzeria as the highlight of our holiday.
Trying to mentally convert foreign currency so you can figure out if those sunglasses you want to buy are a rip-off (FYI, they probably are) is also a giant pain in the ass.
Book a holiday in this country instead and save yourself the stress. The business owners speak English and you can pay for your pizza with that tenner you found at the bottom of your bag. Easy peasy!
9: Less travel stress
No arriving at the airport two hours before flight departure, no worrying about exceeding the baggage allowance or leaving liquids in your hand luggage, and no need to stress about getting from the airport to your accommodation in a foreign country.
With a caravan holiday, it can be as simple as chucking your belongings in the boot of your car and following the Sat Nav to your destination.
10: More quality time together
When you’re holidaying abroad in a new and exciting place that you may never return to, it’s easy to get swept up by the compulsive urge to ‘see everything’. You can end up spending more time rushing from one tourist landmark to the next than actually enjoying time with your friends or family, and may find you return to work more stressed than when you left.
Caravan holidays remove all the distractions and leave you with what a holiday should be about – quality time with the people you love the most.
Are you a fan of caravans? Do you have any favourite memories from caravan holidays? Let me know in the comments. And while you’re waiting for travel restrictions to be lifted, don’t forget the importance of self-care – it might not be a holiday, but a well-timed face mask or walk in nature can still lift your mood when you need it the most.