Alan's Blog



A Holiday Home of Your Own

Many folks dream of owning a holiday home but for most it remains a dream and the reality is that for most people it is a financial impossibility. Isn't that sad?

Dream no more! During our travels we've met many people who have adapted their dream to make the impossible, possible.

How would you like a second home in the Jungfrau area of Switzerland? Not a millionaire? Not a problem.

There are many thousands of people who aren't millionaires and yet they have a second home in the sun – or in the mountains for skiing – or whatever and wherever takes your fancy. All on a shoe-string budget.

Want to join them? You can…..

Take Mr. and Mrs. R for example. These are folks whom we met during our holiday tour in France and Switzerland. Yes, Mr. and Mrs. R are real people; not people who we've invented.

Mr. and Mrs. R have a second home – a holiday home if you like - in a valley in the Jungfrau area of Switzerland.

Mr. and Mrs. R are an ordinary couple who decided they wanted a second home in Switzerland and set about achieving their aim on a very limited budget.

The first step is to decide where you want to have your home. Here, we are now talking not in bricks and mortar terms but in using a caravan site. Talk to the owners of the site and tell them that you would like a pitch full time for year-round use. Ask the cost of a year's rental and you'll be surprised how inexpensive it is. Mr. and Mrs. R pay about £1500/year for site rental. This is cheaper than a seasonal pitch in the UK and you can use it all year, unlike in the UK where you can't use it for a certain number of weeks (usually about 6 weeks).

Having agreed terms and conditions with the site owner you can buy your second-hand caravan for just a few thousand pounds – let's say £5000. Make sure you check it for damp and, before you use it, get it completely re-sealed and get everything serviced and checked out. This should cost you less than £1000.

Once you've got your caravan sorted out, take it to the site and onto the pitch. A good idea at this stage is to obtain a foul weather / snow roof which can be obtained for less than £2000 – or make your own shelter for your caravan.  In the case of Mr. and Mrs. R, when they agreed terms with the site owner there was a scrap caravan on site – and a little wooden 'house' they could have for £800. They agreed to get rid of the scrap caravan as the 'wooden house' was worth far more than the cost of getting rid of the caravan. You can see all this in the photographs. A firm was brought in to construct the snow roof and hey-presto they now have their second home where they spend their summer holidays in the sunshine and go skiing at Easter. Other members of the family also use this 'home' so it does great service and all just for, say, less than £10,000. Of course, you could spend less money (or more!) on this project, depending on your budget, by purchasing a cheaper caravan and building a simple snow shelter yourself. If you built one that is merely a roof on four legs over the top of the caravan (instead of being fixed to the caravan) you could still use the caravan as a tourer and get the best of both worlds.

Another way to look at this is to compare the cost of using a touring site on holiday with the cost of staying on a pitch all year. Lets suppose a touring pitch costs you £25 to £30 per night whilst you're on holiday (many cost a great deal more). That soon adds up to a tidy sum over a period of some weeks. You can rent a year-round pitch for less than £2000 per year - as little as £5 to £6 per night. Dependent on your site costs I suggest you could recover your 'touring' money if you stay in your 'holiday home' for as little as 8 to 12 weeks per year. Not only you, but your entire family could utilise this and share the fees and expenses. In addition, by keeping your caravan on a site year round you can save a huge amount in fuel costs compared to towing your caravan everywhere - or you could buy cheap flights to the nearest airport to your caravan and rent a small car whenever you need one.

Isn't that a bargain?


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