A guide to caravan life.
When analysing the increase of caravan rentals or scrolling through floods of TikToks showing people exploring not-so-foreign lands with upbeat travel music, it’s clear to see that people in the UK are discovering the benefits of swapping air miles for road miles. Of course, this increase in domestic travel has been prompted by lockdown restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This type of holiday arguably didn’t get the recognition it deserves before the pandemic, so maybe every cloud does have a silver lining?
Booking a caravan is a great, convenient way to explore new places. But you may be on the fence: why would I choose to rent a caravan when I could just book a hotel?
Renting a caravan with friends or family introduces an element of adventure to a weekend getaway, from choosing what areas you are going to set up camp, to competing for the top bunk. Choosing to stay in a caravan also means that your trip away can be more flexible in terms of location or last-minute sleeping arrangements. For instance, changing camp locations due to a change of plans, or accommodating for an additional friend who wants to get involved.
If you are a person who loves the outdoors, has hobbies such as surfing, or just enjoy going off the beaten track, caravans provide a service to which hotels cannot compare. Caravan parks can take you further into nature where you can experience all the elements and be close to numerous activities, be it coastal areas for surfing, or mountainous areas for hikes. Once you come back from these activities, you and your group can enjoy getting warm, cooking together, and playing games like cards. Choosing to stay in a caravan makes for a more social holiday which is activity-based, and makes you appreciate little things, like cooking a meal with friends.
Not only does renting a caravan provide personal benefits, but local economies also get a boost from tourism. Little cafes or hire shops, who don't usually catch much footfall due to being outwith populated areas, really depend on tourism to support their business. In return, the extra revenue can be used to improve existing businesses and could also attract new business entrepreneurs. Making lives in rural parts of the UK more affluent and creating better facilities surrounding campsites, it's a win-win situation.
Essential things to remember:
Plan – Your group must have a plan of where you want to go. Although campsites are usually accommodating for last-minute changes, it’s good to have locations booked before setting off. Choosing your location should be paired with what activities you want to get up to, for example being close to the mountains you wish to climb. Additionally, planning rest stops and fuel stops make for a smoother journey to your destination.
Supplies – To prevent any last-minute stresses, it’s advisable to pick up a few items, such as washing up liquid, sponges, toilet roll, towels, Tupperware, and toiletries. Also, plates, pots, cutlery, and bedding may be needed depending on what hire company you go through, so it’s always useful to check this beforehand.
Food – Plan in advance how many meals you will be eating in local restaurants and how many you will be preparing in the caravan. Don’t forget about breakfast, especially if you plan on a sunrise trek!
Clothing – Dress for the weather! Whatever time of year, you are in Scotland... It is probably a good idea to take a warm, waterproof jacket. Packing too many clothes is better than packing too few clothes - always account for getting wet or muddy from activities. Additionally, if you plan on getting involved in various activities, try to remember key items. For example, a wetsuit for surfing or walking boots/waterproof trousers for hiking.
Entertainment – Take what you feel will keep you entertained during the times you do not have anything planned. Many caravans do come with a TV, therefore bringing DVDs could one way of passing the time. Also, various board games or a pack of cards are a great way to get everyone involved. It is also important to remember chargers for devices such as phones, cameras and laptops!
Attitude - Be considerate, leave camps how you found them, and most importantly, enjoy exploring the beautiful country you are lucky to live in!
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