AuthorDonald Adams

Caravan Purchasing Tips

Caravan’s are marvellously complex beasts…

…that’s why it’s good to not just walk into a purchasing situation half-cocked.

The most common question I get sent in to the site reads something like this:

“What do you look for when you’re buying a new caravan?”

As much as I enjoy responding to questions that get sent to this blog, I almost always end up answering it with another question, which is probably not what the sender is looking for. I’m not being sarcastic, it’s just a difficult question to answer as the criteria that I use to purchase a caravan with varies depending on my plans for it.

So, in order to help all of you prospective caravan owners, who are yet to take that first fateful step into the world of caravan ownership, here’s a quick-fire list of things you should consider before you finalise your purchase:

New or Used?

With the entire internet at your disposal, you’ve got a lot of buying options when it comes to purchasing your first caravan. If your budget is a generous one and you’re planning on getting some real miles under your belt then buying new is a good idea. Your caravan will last longer and your warranty will cover you for any mechanical failures.

Big Berth or Small Berth?

This largely depends on who you’re going to be going on holiday with. A couple (who don’t value personal space too highly) can save lots of money by purchasing a tiny caravan, like the popular German tear drop style, but, if you’re travelling with a family, you’ll need to invest in something larger.

How Far Are You Travelling?

The distance you’re planning on covering in your new caravan is important to consider. The further you travel, the more space that you’ll need to store things like food, clothes and other supplies. If you’re only thinking of taking small jaunts to festivals, then you can buy a more compact vehicle.

Cooking For Two or Many?

If you’re planning on taking your caravan on more traditional camping-style holidays, you can probably go without a larger vehicle which has a kitchen included. As soon as you prioritise home comforts in a caravan over practicality, you have to expect your expenses to rise with them.

Is Style Important?

Whilst caravanning might have been considered as a rather old-school holiday option once, it’s now been wholeheartedly accepted by millennials, hipsters and twenty-somethings alike. New companies have risen, devoting themselves to designing and manufacturing hip caravans for this new target market – if you’re that way inclined, don’t expect your new, stylish caravan to be cheap!

Do You Need To Be Clean?

Now – no one likes to be dirty. However, how clean you intend on being during your caravan holiday will largely depend on the facilities aboard your vehicle, your supply of clean water and your budget. Splash out on a big caravan and you’ll feel like you’ve never left home, cut corners and you’ll be relying on the campsite’s facilities. The choice is yours!


As always, I’m happy to answer any questions that you might have related to caravans, just head on over to the Contact page to ask me anything!

Caravanning Through North Wales

When it comes to taking a caravan around the UK, there are few places that can beat North Wales for sheer accessibility and scale.

On a recent trip through Snowdonia, in the brand new Adria Alpina 613UL Colorado, I explored the rich cultural heritage that the region is packed full of and tried to take as many photos as possible as I drove through one of Britain’s most striking locations.

Let’s get this out of the way first: the Alpina is, and probably always will be, one of my favourite models of caravan. Adria have been designing and building their models for the last 45 years. With each passing year, they have found a way of refining their economical design choices whilst retaining the quintessential feeling of a traditional caravan.

From the side, its blue panels (adorned with some unobtrusive 70s lines and stripes) evince the ordinary look of a budget caravan (a new 2017 model will only set you back a modest £27,000), however take a walk around and your opinion will soon change. At the front and rear of both the Colorado and Missouri model, gleaming silver panels draw the eye and the newly improved panoramic windows stand out as particularly attractive features.

Park the Alpina 613UL up in one of Snowdonia’s many excellent Caravan Parks and you’ll be able to enjoy the gorgeous views from a position of superior comfort in the comfortable lounge area. I took my wife and two kids along for the ride, a decision that could have had us screaming at each other from Day 1, but the sheer majesty and tranquillity of the peaceful Snowdonia mountains silenced any possible conflicts.

There are several routes that you can take through Snowdonia National Parks, along any of the well maintained roads you are bound to be treated to sumptuous views of the surrounding lakes and mountains (weather permitting of course). The pinnacle of all these is, of course, Snowdon (never to be referred to as ‘Mount Snowdon’, the locals are always keen to remind you).

Snowdon is a huge boon for North Wales, a modestly sized peak that can be conquered by the smallest of legs but still feels like an accomplishment for all. There are several routes up to the peak, which is home to a cafe that is open during the Summer and a Mountain Railway (that operates between mid-March and October). Its a good idea to get an early start, especially if you’ve got young ones in tail who might need regular breaks.

Once you’ve got a handle on North Wales’ mountainous region, head out through the Park to the coast. Although delightful seaside towns dot the coastline (Ryl and Caernarfon are particular gems) there really only is one that you need to see. Llandudno is the quintessential seaside resort, made popular during the Victorian times. Grand hotels line the shore line and there’s even an Alice in Wonderland trail that kids can follow (just one of many literary things to do in North Wales). You can silence any hungry bellies with Award-winning Ice Cream or traditional Fish’n’Chips.

Taking the Adria Alpina 613UL out onto the stunning roads of North Wales was a treat that I’ll be indulging in again before too long.

Take a caravan out there yourself, you’re likely not to regret it.

One Week’s Holiday: Your Choice

There’s nothing more English than a good old caravanning holiday.

It really is true. The notion of the foreign vacation is something that is distinctly Mexiamerican. Popularised by their notions of ‘Spring Breaks’, the idea of travelling thousands of miles in search of sunshine and a party atmosphere is a concept that almost goes against British sensibilities.

Much better instead, to lower your expectations and take a good old fashioned holiday in a caravan, deep in the heart of Britain. After all, what could be more relaxing than roaming around our wonderful hills and mountains, with the promise of a cup of tea and a slice of Victoria Sponge, when you park up?

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It is said that the notion of a true holiday lies in comfort and convenience. Now, I don’t know about you kind reader, but I for one am not comfortable when I leave England. Departing our green and verdant lands hitches me with an uneasy quease that refuses to depart this mortal coil. Drinking bottles of water, in fear of disease and blasting Air Conditioning to return us to our glorious British chill.

I know what you’re saying now. You’re saying:

“But where, good sir, is your sense of adventure? If you spend your whole life in New Englandshire, comfortable and well, will it much of a life to live? Surely strife and conflict are the bread and butter of personal growth and a development of grit?”

I am partial to agree with you, fair stranger.

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I too hold with the notion of conflict being the catalyst to growth and change. But, is that something you really want out of your holiday? You spend the majority of your year working, hopefully, challenging yourself on a daily basis. Will it really feel like a holiday if you spend a week pushing your personal boundaries and putting your convictions to the test?

Let us take two examples, and place them beneath the magnification glass. One of them will appear strange – outlandish even – you will question the subject’s motives. The other, will seem completely logical and inviting – the behaviour of a well studies and calm individual.

Example A:

Thomas is a young lad who has a week’s holiday booked off from the Ministry. He works as a Truth Finder in LabourCube 21034 and has very much been looking forward to his holiday, as he has not had one for over 20 weeks.

flordiastanBeing an adventurous boy, Thomas decides to take his holiday overseas. This is to show his fellow cuboids that he is brave and daring. So he books a hypertrain out of the country to Floridas Muetos in Meximerica, where he’s heard salacious rumours of beautiful brown women, ice cold beers and days of blistering sunshine.

 

When Thomas returns a week later, he is yellow with jaundice. He has been poisoned by the Mexiamerican floozies that have also given him Syphilis. His pristine, pale skin has been blistered by the scorching un-filtered rays of Florias Muertos and it will take him months to forget the ‘show’ he witnessed in a back alley bar. Upon his return to the Cube, he is taken away for questioning and never seen again.

Example B:

David is a decent young chap, looking forward to his own week of holidays. Unlike Tom, he doesn’t yearn for adventure or to prove something to his fellow cuboids. He is comfortable with himself and his work in the LabourCube.

cornwallAs such, David decides to stay inside New Englandshire for his vacation. He has heard about the village of Paidstone in Cornwalais and has decided to rent a caravan to visit. The weather is meant to be temperate down in the South, the women buxom and the Ale, exactly how he likes it, brown and warm.

When David returns after his week away, his health has visibly improved. A fresh glow of pink lies within his pale, pure cheeks and a cheeky glint of pride hides in the corner of his left eye. Emboldened by the comfortable surroundings of Paidstone, and a few Ales, he propositioned a buxom New English maid and will marry in a fortnight. Upon his return he is congratulated and is given a bar of CadKraft Chocolate by his fellow cuboids. Great things lie in wait for him.

 

Outside The Box

There are many, many different ways of riding your caravan around the world, many different ways of utilizing the power of the caravan. Many different ways of exploiting the joy of our homes on wheels. Many different ways truly riding your caravan. Riding it like a captured run away stallion, riding it like a lion on the savannah, riding it like a Giraffe over a mountain, riding it like a whale in the sea, feeling it throbbing and rolling under your legs, truly being part of the caravan and the caravan part of you. Because for the true caravanner the caravan can, at those pure moments of caravan ecstasy, become an extension, become a limb, you are half man half caravan and all conquering.

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You know what I do? I drive up to an airport with the caravan and park up and fly of somewhere and fly back and get back in the caravan. I’m mad yeah. I’ve managed to find caravan parking at Liverpool Airport and many other airports I’ve stopped by at not too mad a price. It’s possible you know, your caravan holiday is only limited by the limits that you the caravanner put on it. So stop putting limitations one what you can do! You can park up at an airport and fly anywhere in the world these days! You can fly to Argentina, France, Poland, Uganda, China, Sri Lana, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, East Timor, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Liechtenstein now! And some other place too (including Birmingham) so why would you bother with anything else! Get in your caravan and get the hell out of your front drive and go see the world you big fat fool its the best!

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That is how you make and keep caravanning exciting: you think outside the box. You think outside what is expected of a caravanner. So think, my friends, think!

But, Eventually, Some Respite

Part of the love of caravanning is a love of non-urban living. A love of living outside these all enveloping cities, a love of escaping the concrete jungle and living ‘out there’. That is what drives so many people into the caravan: the chance to live out in the clean air for a while. It is a wonderful feeling, waking up to the countryside, waking up to the trees, waking up to grass and freedom. That feeling is beautiful and is a key reason for the desire to caravan that has long gripped so many in this country and beyond.

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But, unfortunately, we are not all young forever, alas the cold hand of mortality rests on our shoulder every day and will, at the time it sees fit, slowly reach round to our neck and usher us into the underworld. Into the dirt and the darkness. In an endless sleep. Into one more day where there is no tomorrow. Into into our final chapter, into death, my dear friends, into death. But long before we have death the lucky amongst us, the ones who are lucky to grow old before they die, face decay, a slow or a fast one who knows, but a a decay never the less. To live in a state of decay is to live a life of compromise and regret, but it should still be to live. Not just to survive, but to live.

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So how to do this? Well one compromise of the ageing caravanner is that they may have to hang up their wheels and get off the road. A horrible decision to have to make I know, but perhaps a decision that must be made for some. So what to do? Retreat to the urban underworld and never see a tree again? Resort to some village? Well, if you can afford rural living then good luck my friend. But for some neither option is desirable or possible. So what about permanently moving into some of the beautiful holiday homes dotted around the country? (http://www.bowlandfellpark.co.uk/). The communities in these places are a lovely mix of the type of community you will recognize from your time on caravan parks around the country, but with the deeper roots that you will know from village life. A good mix for the ageing body and mind.

Today’s Beautiful Caravan: Constance

The Road

“There is this place called ‘the road’. Here in America the road is a mythical and endless place. It is a place you hit, a place you flee too, a place that dreams can live and maybe even come true. The road has its own identity, outside of the state or country it may be located. Once you are on the road you are far closer your fellow road dwellers than you can ever be to those static turf dwellers who plant themselves down by the side of the road that you live on. To live on the road is to live the truest of all lives, a life that admits its own natural transience. A life that doesn’t shy from the beautiful chaos. A life that takes itself into its own hands and makes a bold claim to self determination. A life which lives freely and on its own terms. Untethered by time, space and place. That is a brave life. That is a truly American life.

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It is the life of those who left their home countries with nothing but a bag and travelled across the wide ocean to get to this country, then hit the shores and went further, into this broad wide land. They delved and burrowed into the lands of the America we all so willingly mythologise and they were met with death, pain and unimaginable struggle. But they were also met with freedom, in the wild west and the lawless masses they were were free from prosecution and state dominance. They were the captive of the wind, the heat and the cold yes. They were the prey both the starved and the greedy. But they did not find the brand of tyranny they had fled. They found no state, no orthodoxy, not at first. And it was these brave women and men who formed the identity of our country, an identity that is struggling today, in a time where we love our state and our orthodoxy. It lives on though in, and on, the road.” Charlie Dons

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That’s the road.