The word ‘caravan’ conjures up different things for different people. Some might think of a gleaming futuristic-looking chrome Airstream model from 1950s USA while others might have a childhood memory of an intimate holiday in a field just outside Skegness. My most recent memory is of staying in various RV parks in Paso Robles.
In fact, today in the UK caravans are more popular than ever before if the booming membership numbers of the Caravan club are anything to go by.
Caravans and their close cousins ‘mobile homes’ have changed a great deal over the past few decades and today they offer a modern and fun way to travel around on holiday in the comfort of your own ‘home from home’.
All this means it could be time for you to start thinking about getting a caravan…
Of course there are many different things that might fall under the umbrella term of ‘caravan’. For those who are all about being on the road, flexibility and mobility are the watchwords for a touring caravan, motorhome or campervan. In some countries these different styles, designs and approaches are tagged as an ‘RV’ (recreational vehicle).
Another totally different approach comes in the form of a static caravan or park home which is fixed at a particular location.
Even within each separate realm of caravan holiday there is a great deal of diversity when it comes to size and sophistication. There is never a ‘one size fits all’ answer that can be easily applied to meet each individual dream wish list and you’ll need to select the option which is best for you.
The recent trend for celebrities boasting caravans and mobile homes show just how high costs can go when money is no object. Whether you choose a mobile or fixed location option, you’ll still be looking at a sizeable investment which may well come high up on the list of any other assets you own.
Partly the high costs come down to the equally high spec interiors that many new models of caravans can have. Wayne Hemingway, co-founder of Red or Dead and now one of the most influential designers in Britain across many different disciplines, is a lifelong enthusiast for caravans.
He sat on the judging panel for the Caravan Club’s 2007 centenary celebrations competition which had the aim of designing a completely new approach to his favourite way of enjoying a holiday.
The winner was the ‘Cargo S’ which was designed by Paul Burchill and Hervé Delaby. Essentially an elongated aerodynamic egg shape, the clever design extends its accommodation space by use of a sliding platform that can be employed once it is safely parked up.
Although the design excited many, won the competition and went so far as to have a prototype made by Bailey caravans of Bristol, it has never gone into full production or to market.
Hemingway himself highlighted the reason why when he explained:
“As soon as you improve the design, the price goes up, which tends to put off many people, because caravanning is not a posh pastime.”
The Caravan Club do have a second hand caravan marketplace, so don’t let all of this put you off!
However, the roll call of the rich and famous who extol the virtues of the caravan suggests that might all be changing.
Jay Kay, famous for his hits as Jamiroquai, recently purchased a Knaus C Liner which is a stunning motorhome design with leather seats, alloy wheels and metallic body. Well known for his top if the range car collection, Kay isn’t someone you would expect to own anything other than a luxury vehicle.
Sam North, manager of the International Caravan and Motorhome Show commented:
“It’s new launches like the C-Liner or the Airstream that are helping change the perception of motorhomes and opening up a whole new audience. It is no longer Carry on Camping, bad cabarets and tin boxes on wheels.”