There’s nothing better than hitching up your touring caravan on a sunny afternoon and heading to the coast or countryside. A change of scene can do wonders for you, as you leave behind the daily grind and enjoy a simpler life. But some caravanners aren’t content with just the odd weekend or couple of weeks away. Instead they opt to abandon “conventional” living altogether, turning their backs on traditional bricks and mortar in favour of caravan dwelling on a permanent basis. So, do you think you could live full-time in a touring caravan?
The Pros and Cons
Selling up and moving into a touring caravan is certainly not for the faint-hearted, so let’s check out the pros and cons:
First off, think of all the money you will save by downsizing from your two-up, two-down semi to a compact and bijou touring caravan. Homeowners have so much to pay out for. Unless you are fortunate enough to own your home outright then you will be shelling out for a mortgage, or paying rent on a monthly basis to a landlord. Then there’s the other costs associated with running a home including utility bills and maintenance. Living in a touring caravan doesn’t come for free (you will still have to pay site fees, and costs associated with running and maintaining your little home on wheels), however, this will be far less than the cost of living in a house or flat.
Looking after a home can be a real pain, there are floors to clean, shelves to dust, toilets to scrub, beds to change, the list of chores seems to go on and on. Living in a touring caravan will drastically cut the amount of time you spend keeping your home spick and span – a smaller space means less to clean and less room for clutter. Your days of pushing around a vacuum are well and truly numbered! Instead you can spend your leisure time lounging, reading, sitting in the sunshine and enjoying a siesta whenever you please – bliss!
Fresh Air & Great Views
When you’ve lived in the same home for a few years the view can be tiresome, and residential streets can be a little uninspiring. Living in a touring caravan allows you the possibility of waking up every morning to green fields, majestic mountains, rugged coastlines, or even a sea view. Moving away from the bustle of the city could be just the tonic if you’re seeking a more peaceful way of life.
A Versatile Lifestyle
Providing you can find somewhere to park your touring caravan, you can travel wherever you please. Tour the UK, go and see all of those sights you’ve never had the chance to see before, or pack up your belongings and tow your caravan overseas to enjoy a spot of Mediterranean sunshine (a great option if you don’t fancy spending winter huddled in your caravan in the UK).
Sharing Your Space
If you are going to be living with your partner you should think about whether you can cope being in such close proximity to one another for long periods. Touring caravans don’t allow much in the way of free space, so you need to be super-comfortable with one another to make it work. It’s fine being cooped up together for a long weekend, but are you going to cope with sharing close quarters after a few months or years?
Lack of Space
Space is at a premium in a touring caravan, so you won’t be able to take all of your worldly goods with you. Therefore, you will need to have a huge clear-out and possibly find storage for certain items (you might have to ask friends and family to kindly lend you some space, or rent a storage locker). You will need to be super-organised and neat if you want to keep things in order (and fit everything in).
Lack of Facilities
As we are all aware, touring caravans aren’t designed to fit in dishwashers, washing machines, four poster beds and whirlpool baths! So, if there are certain creature comforts you can’t live without you might want to think long and hard before you commit to life in a touring caravan. Even the facilities they do come with, such as a fridge, might not be ideal for full-time living. Caravan fridges are on the small side, and the freezer is often only big enough to fit in a couple of ice-cube trays. The lack of laundry facilities means that you will have to hand-wash and line dry if it’s fine outside, otherwise you will be draping your undies over the shower etc. Alternatively, you will have to head to the nearest laundrette.
Lack of a Permanent Address
If you’re planning on heading off into the horizon with your touring caravan firmly hitched to your car, staying short-term on different sites and exploring the country (or even beyond), then you will find plenty of sites to accommodate you. If you’re considering a site that offers long-term pitches you might find it more difficult. Whether you choose to tour or find somewhere to stay long-term, you will still face the issue of not having a permanent address. If you can’t provide an address you might have problems in terms of receiving post, registering for doctors, voting, and securing insurance etc.
Where Can I Site My Caravan Permanently?
You have a couple of options, first off you could seek out a seasonal pitch on a caravan site. These vary in price, so it all depends on the location you are interested in, shop around to see what you can find for your money.
When you pay for a seasonal pitch you are securing rental for a certain number of months (again the duration varies from site to site, some offer eight months, some less, and some more). Some seasonal sites do offer twelve-month pitches, but you are only allowed to actually stay on site with your caravan for eleven months. You may have to leave, but the good news is that your caravan gets to stay there, safely stored until your return.
Alternatively, you could opt for doing as the name of your caravan suggests – go touring. Travelling around the country from site to site can be liberating, and allow you to visit as many places as you like. As a general rule you are allowed to spend up to twenty-eight days on one caravan site before moving on to another. Plan your route in advance to make sure you have somewhere to stay (especially in high-season), winter can be a problem – as some sites close, so make sure you locate a place to stay during that time.
If you’re feeling industrious you could even look into securing a job as an assistant warden, working for a company such as the Camping & Caravan Club often entitles you to a free pitch, with facilities thrown in. Plus, you get to mix with like-minded caravan enthusiasts all day long.
What Do Others Think About Living in a Touring Caravan?
People have their own reasons for choosing to live in a touring caravan 24/7. For some, it’s a financial decision, they simply cannot afford to stay in their current home, or they grow tired of paying the mortgage or rent and expenses associated with living in a house or flat. Some opt to move into a touring caravan whilst they save money for something they really want, such as a new home.
Others just like the sense of freedom associated with living in a touring caravan, the notion that you are not rooted to one spot can be very liberating. If you get bored in one place there’s nothing to really stop you from packing up and heading to a new destination. There’s a sense of simplifying your life, of saying goodbye to big bills, long commutes and trying to keep up with the Jones’. Moving into a touring caravan enables you to take stock, declutter and streamline, and make a fresh start, and that in itself can be very therapeutic.
Let’s take a look at a few people who have made the enormous decision to swap conventional living for a life in their touring caravan:
The Modern-Day Man Living in A Caravan!
Andrew Mellody lives in a caravan so he can help others.
Living in a caravan full time, Spain in Winter, UK in summer as camping and caravan site wardens.
How to Live in a Caravan, Motorhome or RV in the UK
Moving to live in a touring caravan permanently is a major lifestyle choice, and many have undertaken it in order to change their lives and follow their dreams. They may have aspirations of chasing sunnier skies, perhaps spending summer in one city or country, and winter in another. It’s certainly appealing, but if you’re tempted to swap the conventional for something a little more adventurous, we suggest you take some time out to consider if permanently living in a touring caravan is really for you!