If you read my post on buying a static caravan, you’ll know how much we love them, but there are some disadvantages to consider before making the big purchase decision.
Let’s take a first-hand look at the pros and cons of owning a fixed caravan…
Pros to owning a static caravan
You feel like you’re on holiday
The best thing about static caravans is that you have the opportunity to take many mini-vacations. During the warm summer months we visit our caravan most weekends and honestly it feels like we’re on holiday every weekend!
If it’s cold or raining I don’t go as much, but throughout the season I go probably 70% of the weekends.
We all properly switch off, relax and have some lovely time together as a family. We also have other family and close friends joining us in the caravan, and we end up spending more time with them in the caravan than at home!
You leave your life admin at home
My favorite part of being in a caravan is that I get to leave all the administrators at home. Cleaning, laundry, organizing, scheduling, shopping, and endless to-do lists. All this is put on pause while we are in the caravan.
Being able to leave your belongings in your caravan makes weekends away so easy
Our static caravan is on the coast so we keep lots of outdoor clothes, beach clothes and wetsuits there. Toiletries, towels, children’s toys, etc are all there too, so there’s little need to pack anything when you leave. It’s great to be able to travel light with a family of five and not have to worry about forgetting anything! We also have all the amenities to make you feel comfortable at home, including my child’s favorite blanket, my favorite candle, slippers, and comfy clothes. It’s all about the little things that really help me relax.
Getting to know the area really makes it feel like a second home
Visiting a new place is exciting, but you don’t want to go to a place where you know all the best places to eat and drink, know how to get around, and already have a list of your favorite things to see and do is really fun. There is no need to do any research and no need to waste your first few days getting to know the area.
Leaving food and drink in the fridge and freezer makes it even easier to get away
Not everyone leaves their fridge/freezer turned on, but we do. It’s lovely to arrive on a Friday night and have a bottle of prosecco chilled in the fridge. The cupboards are stocked and the freezer is stocked with your favorite foods. I usually take the milk and other perishables we need to eat out of the fridge at home, but everything else is there, waiting for us.
You can add personal touches like flowers in your garden, decorate your caravan and add your photos and trinkets
After owning the van for three years, it was finally time to start decorating it. Most caravans these days are decorated in a neutral way that everyone likes, but I’m now looking forward to adding some personality to our caravan. All of the furniture is very nice and functional, but not all of it is suitable for a growing family. We plan to add a triple bed in the second bedroom and eventually change the sofa to a large corner sofa bed. Our caravan came with a sofa bed, but it was too small for a couple to share comfortably.
We also plan to plant some nice flowers outside and would like to purchase some new garden furniture for our deck. Some people even go all out and create gorgeous gardens with flower pots all over the place, completely decorating their interiors. I’d like to add some color to the walls, but I’m not that brave!
You can leave equipment like fishing rods, bikes, scooters, surf boards, kayaks, boats etc.
Static caravanning is also a great opportunity to start a new hobby that you wouldn’t normally do. I bought a stand up paddle board. Sam often goes fishing and plans to buy a boat. Our kids also love bodyboarding, but I don’t think they would have gotten into it if we weren’t always involved in caravans.
We also store baby items such as strollers, high chairs, bouncers, and bottle sterilizers, so it’s very convenient!
It was our first weekend back in the caravan after the first lockdown of 2020…
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It’s simple living at its finest
I think it’s really interesting that we all strive to have more in our lives. More money, bigger house, better cars, more stuff, more gadgets, more toys, more and more. And we want to get away from it all and live simply, without the distractions and stress of all the ‘stuff’.
One of my favorite things about our caravan is the simplicity of life there. Our van is large enough to be comfortable, but it’s still a small space so we can’t bring too much clothes or food. Children can’t have too many toys, and we can’t allow them to become cluttered. If you don’t, you’ll literally fall over each other.
But I love this. Life feels calm, simple, and easy. You don’t have to think about what to have for dinner because you only have one choice. There’s only regular Freeview and the Wi-Fi isn’t great, so you don’t have to worry about what to wear or what to watch on TV. Even if your van gets dirty, you can clean it from top to bottom in 30 minutes without having to do laundry or other chores. We just relax and enjoy being together without all the hassles and stresses of modern life.
how to simplify your life
You can bring guests and allow family to use your static caravan
Unlike renting a holiday home, you are free to bring guests in your static caravan. (During the Covid-19 pandemic we are unable to invite guests to our site, but under normal circumstances this is not a problem.)
It’s always nice to have people over and show off the caravan lifestyle. But it’s a little small for us! Some sites allow tents to be set up for guests to camp. Many fixed caravan sites also have campsites nearby, so if you don’t have space, you can ask a friend to camp nearby and spend the day with you.
Getting to know your neighbours and feeling a sense of community around your caravan is lovely.
This is one benefit I didn’t really think about, but I love getting to know my neighbors. I talk to my neighbors in my caravan more than I do to my neighbors at home!
If you use it regularly, it’s great value for money.
To be honest, you don’t even need to use it that regularly to get your money’s worth. A weekend away for a family of five costs around £500, so it really only takes her six weeks in the caravan to cover the annual site fee. It’s open from March to October, so it’s definitely a great deal!
There’s nothing stopping you using it for the entire season (ours is March-October)
Some people spend most of the summer in a static caravan, which may become their home base in the UK. We will be spending most of our summer vacation in a caravan, so it will be a full 6 weeks!
A static caravan could be an additional income stream
Depending on where you are holding your caravan, you may be able to rent a caravan. I know a lot of people who do this and rent just enough to cover all costs, effectively getting a caravan for free!
There’s very little maintenance
One of the really nice things about owning a static caravan on top of your holiday home is that it requires very little maintenance. It’s a small space so it’s easy to keep it clean and you don’t have to do any gardening otherwise. Since you won’t be keeping your caravan permanently fixed, it’s unlikely that you’ll need many repairs.
The boiler actually had to be replaced. We bought our static caravan second-hand and the previous owner hardly used it and did not take care of the boiler. Luckily my partner Sam is a gas engineer so it wasn’t a big deal for us, but it could be an issue for others.
If you need to replace your boiler, ask your local engineer as there are often plumbers/gas engineers who service many van boilers on the same premises. Find out for yourself and read many reviews like the Ideal Logic combi C30 review.
It makes you appreciate your own home more
Maybe it’s just me, but part of the fun of going away every weekend is also coming home after a wonderful weekend. I love my weekends at Abersock, but I also love coming back on a Sunday afternoon to my spacious home.
I know it sounds contradictory when I say how much I love the simple life, but I actually want to escape from all the “modern busyness” of being at home. But the reason I really appreciate it is because it’s a novelty and I know I can go home.
This is a video of an average day in our caravan…
Cons to owning a static caravan
Of course, the main drawback is the price. Fixed caravans aren’t cheap, and what’s more, they don’t last forever. Some static caravan sites only allow you to keep your van for 10 years before you insist on purchasing a new one. And even if you sell your old caravan, you’re unlikely to make much of a profit. Prices vary widely and so do site charges, but owning a fixed caravan isn’t really a ‘cheap holiday’.
For example, the site fee for my site is just over £3,000. However, the prices at Havensite are quite expensive due to all the entertainment options, swimming pools, parks, activities, etc.
Rentals can have downfalls
If you are in an area where caravans are allowed to be rented out, you may end up with unwanted neighbors.
Personally, I hate arriving at my caravan on a Friday night and not knowing who is staying in the van next to me. That could be deer or chickens all weekend long and it could really change the feel of the place!
Each weekend away can be expensive
It’s easy to say that your caravan will pay for itself if you use it regularly, but you need to consider the fact that you’re likely to spend more money in your caravan than you would at home. There are costs for fuel, eating out, drinking parties, activities, and new hobbies. Even if you don’t actually do anything while you’re in a caravan, you’ll feel like you’re on vacation, buy good wine, buy delicious food, and spend more. In theory, we have very little money to spend on a caravan, but we always find ourselves spending a lot of money.
You end up with a double social life
Having a busy social life isn’t the end of the world, but it’s worth recognizing that you’ll end up having two social calendars. You may become close friends with other families in your caravan and participate in a variety of groups and activities during your busy social calendar. You may be torn between social events in your caravan and social events at home.
It was a sunny weekend in the van last year too…
Teenagers might not want to be away from their friends all the time
What I’m realizing is that when the kids get older, they may prefer to stay home and spend weekends with friends back home. We’re hoping it’ll be a few more years before the kids stop wanting to come, but we know it’s a possibility someday.
You’re stuck in one place
Returning to the same place is a great pleasure for some, but may be boring for others.
Would you rather have one holiday and two weekends away?
If you pay for a static caravan, you’ll probably be able to take one big holiday and a few weekends a year. You’ll have to weigh up which one you prefer.
You do need to ‘winter proof’ your caravan
If you’re not handy, there are people on your site offering this service who will do it for you. I’m not going to pretend to really know what this means because Sam does it all. You need to keep your pipes from freezing during the winter, so you’ll need to drain the water or add plenty of antifreeze to your pipes. You should also install moisture traps everywhere to prevent dampness in your caravan. Remove the couch cushions, prop the mattress up on its side, and take all your bedding with you for the winter. I’m thinking of buying a vacuum bag for bedding next year. Because shoving all the duvets and pillows into the house can be a bit of a pain!