The golden days of the British “staycation”, or family holiday with the caravan in tow or even just a simple camping trip, used to mean trips to the sea during the summer and log-cabin getaways in the winter. It was once fashionable to vacation within the country, but that fell out of favour with cheap air travel and increasing desires to see the world.
The British staycation is back, as high gas prices and the airfare hikes that come with ballooning oil costs have made travel to foreign countries prohibitively expensive. The U.K.’s Camping and Caravanning Club reported a 50% rise in occupancy over Easter weekend 2012. The summertime always brings a big boon to vacationing, and the CCC reports 30% greater reservations this year.
As does the CCC, The Caravan Club operates caravanning sites nationwide and offers lots of perks to its members. The community has grown to over 1 million members and operates 200 caravanning sites around the British Isles.
A successful caravanning trip starts with choosing the right caravan insurance. Whether you have a touring model or use your caravan as a residence, insurance is necessary to protect your investment. It is also the law. Good caravan insurance, which includes coverage for “static” or unmoving caravans, often includes discounts for members of clubs like the CCC or Caravan Club.
Favourite destinations include Scotland, coastal regions like Devon and Cornwall, and the Lake District, all loved for their miles of beautiful countryside.
Some prefer camping to caravanning for the simple, often forgotten pleasure of being at one with nature. The British Isles are filled with places with miles of wonderful coastline or countryside as far as the eye can see, and a simple, frugal camping trip can save thousands over more-expensive vacations like a cruise or flying to a foreign country. You also minimize your environmental impact.
Think of all the gallons of fuel used to power an aeroplane or cruise ship. Think of all the waste created by big resort destinations. But planning a nature-filled staycation camping weekend you can do something good for the planet and get closer to nature for your next family outing. There’s nothing like a tent, a grill, a fishing pole, you and your family to lift up spirits tired of the work-a-day lifestyle.
The downside is, of course, the tendency of U.K. weather to rain, and rain all the time. This makes an otherwise fine camping trip turn into a muddy proposition. Caravanning provides comfort even in times of wet weather, as your rolling living room will protect you from the elements and bring the pampering pleasure of a home on wheels. Modern models feature cutting-edge game systems, internet connectivity, toilets and showers, multiple bunks, leather-upholstered furniture and so much more. Even budget staycationers will be able to find a model that meets their needs and price range.
For those looking for something a little more luxurious, the nation’s many 5-star-level resort hotels can be just as pampering as an exotic foreign locale, except without the exorbitant airfare. British holiday camps including favourites like Pontin’s and Butlins have recorded a big increase in bookings as well, offering a nice medium between price and features. Such camps offer cruise-like services for staycationers worthy of a world-class resort, without ever having to leave England.