How to Cut the Costs of Caravanning – and get Better Value from your Caravan
Caravanning is now seriously expensive; and I'm not just talking about the cost of purchasing your caravan and its maintenance and running costs. I'm talking about site fees. Even on club sites (Caravan and Motorhome Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club) the fees, particularly during school holidays and other peak times, are astronomical. For us two adults and one child it routinely costs more than £30/night which is far too much money for parking a caravan in a field! JP and were staying on a club site recently (Grace being away for a few days) and when she came to join us for the last two nights, we were charged more than £23 just for her brief stay. Caravan site fees frequently cost more than a hotel room. I mentioned this to one of the site wardens where we stayed recently and she said that much of the costs were because people using the sites want more and more facilities and, in addition, the cost of running the sites is ever increasing because of the legislative demands of higher and higher standards of Health and Safety and Environmental regulations. One ridiculous example of this is that staff aren’t allowed to spray weed-killer where needed; a licensed company has to be contracted to do the work. In addition, every piece of electrical equipment with a plug on it has to be PAT tested every year and all the site electrical installation has to be tested by a licensed company. Also, there now has to be a treatment plant to deal with sewage effluent instead of it just being drained into the local sewer pipe. Most sites now have at least 4 wardens (including assistant wardens) so they need to be paid and, starting earlier this year, new pension requirements also have to be met which adds to the staff overhead cost.
However, I digress. How can you save money on site costs?
The main answer to this question is, like many such money saving questions, shop around.
1) There are a number of ways to do this, one of which is to plan ahead on-line using websites such as https://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/ which is a brilliant source of information. If you are going into Europe, there are many web sites you can look at including an off-shoot of the above: https://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/county.asp?region=Overseas.
Although this page is mainly for caravanners, many folks now use camper vans or motorhomes in which case this website may be of interest: https://www.campercontact.com/en
2) Attend caravan rallies. You may have to join a club to take advantage of these arrangements. Both of the clubs previously mentioned arrange rallies as do other clubs. Rallies are of limited duration and usually only offer basic facilities depending on the site used. Rallies are arranged throughout the UK and Europe.
3) Another money saver, particularly if you are a member of the clubs is to use their Certificated Locations / Certificated Sites which have only 5 pitches and (usually) very basic facilities – there are also many of these sites that are not part of the aforementioned clubs and these can be located at: https://www.pitchup.com
4) Obtain an ACSI card - https://www.acsi.eu/en/home/l2-n144/ and: https://www.campingcard.co.uk/ or through your caravanning club. This provides a discount card for out of peak season caravanners throughout Europe (including the UK).
5) To maximise the return on your investment in purchasing a caravan, use it out of season (also see 4 above). By this, I mean use it all the year round. If you have sufficient time available, spend the winter in your caravan in the sunshine of Morocco for next to nothing
I hope this page will have given you some ideas for saving a bundle of cash, however, caravanning is certainly not an option for a cheap holiday. Times have changed massively since caravans were first introduced to the British public and the costs have also gone through the roof since those days. The spirit of caravanning has long since given up the ghost!
All comments on my blog should be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org