Many people like myself, long to pack up and get away for a weekend, leaving all the stresses of life behind to take time out with the family or simply for a quiet weekend away fishing or relaxing in a different setting rather than home, but in reality does this ever happen?
Holidays are becoming ever more expensive and if you have a family and pets as I do, holidays involve a great deal of planning and preparation.
I have tried a great many holidays from villas in Spain to cottages in Cornwall, lakeside lodges in Gloucester all of these more than perfect holidays but planning had to commence months in advance. A few years ago I tried caravanning for the first time, not something which had appealed to me previously, however I decided to give it ago, we were in a fortunate position whereby a friend lent us a luxurious caravan to try, and I was amazed. The interior was beautiful, comfy sofas and lounge area with TV, dining area, well equipped kitchen and plenty of room for 6 people to sleep. At the time we borrowed the caravan we were in the process of extending the family home, the caravan provided us with more creature comforts than the house did.
We loaded up the van and off we set to Thetford for a weekend, we loved it, we tried it again the following summer and took a caravan to Ireland, this time we hired a caravan with an awning, booked the ferry and set off. Fantastic holiday, not the greatest of weather but with the awning we had plenty of space to hang wet clothes to store dirty shoes and still have plenty of room to store leisure equipment such as bikes whilst keeping the interior of the van dry, clean and clutter free. What an easy way to holiday.
When we came home we decided to look into buying a caravan, assessing the pros and cons and expenses involved. We visited many camping and caravanning centres offering new and used caravans for sale, all the caravans we viewed had good decor, and to be perfectly honest the used caravans offered much the same as the new ones, except for at a fraction of the price.
Another bonus was the fact we could take our dog on holiday with us, instead of leaving her soulful in kennels somewhere and avoiding kennel costs. We found so many good camping and caravanning sites around the British Isles, coastal resorts to lakeside retreats, and the cost of hiring a plot with electric and water was not too costly either, most welcoming pets, and only requiring minimal notice for booking, and more adventurous options of holidaying in Europe. We could take our bikes with us for exploring the local area, but once pitched still had our car to sight see or travel further a field, we had the option of self catering or eating at clubhouses on site or going out to dinner where we chose. It provided a great sense of freedom and our kids enjoyed it too, especially making friends with other children on the campsites.
We are now looking to buy, whether we end up with a new or used caravan those dreams of just packing up and getting away are not that far away after all!
So when you weigh up the pros and cons sure there are extra costs, such as caravan insurance, making your vehicle ready to tow a caravan etc but we have found that in the long run, if you are the type of person who enjoys the outdoors, freedom and holidays with or without the kids then caravanning is well worth looking into as a possibility.
Shaun Parker provides a personal account about caravanning, hitching up and holidaying. Find more out about new and used caravans from Homestead Caravans.