If you read my post about buying a static caravan then you’ll know how much we love our van, but there are some cons to consider before making the big decision to buy one.
Let’s dive straight into the pros and cons of owning a static caravan…
Pros to owning a static caravan
You feel like you’re on holiday
The best thing about having a static caravan is the opportunity to have so many mini holidays! During the warm summer months we visit our caravan most weekends and it honestly feels like we go on holiday every single weekend!
We don’t go as much when it’s cold or wet but we probably go 70% of weekends for the entire season.
We all properly switch off and relax and have a lovely time as a family. We also have other family members and close friends with caravans near ours and we end up spending more time with our family at the caravan than we do at home!
You leave your life admin at home
My favourite thing about being at the caravan is leaving all the life admin at home. The cleaning, the washing, the organising, the scheduling, the shopping and the endless to-do list. This is all put on pause while we’re at the caravan.
Being able to leave your belongings in your caravan makes weekends away so easy
Our static caravan is by the coast so we leave lots of our outdoor clothes, beach clothes and wetsuits there. All of our toiletries, towels, kid’s toys etc stay there too so we barely need to pack anything when we leave. As a family of five, it’s amazing being able to travel light and not worry about forgetting anything! We also have all of our home comforts there like the kid’s favourite blankets, my favourite candles, our slippers and cosy clothes – all the little things that make you really relaxed.
Getting to know the area really makes it feel like a second home
It’s exciting visiting somewhere new but it’s really nice going somewhere you know all the best places to eat and drink, you know how to get around and already have a list of your favourite things to see and do. You don’t need to do any research and don’t waste the first few days away 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 arriving on a Friday evening to have a bottle of prosecco chilled in the fridge! The cupboards are also stocked and the freezer is filled with our favourite meals. I usually take milk and any other fresh food that needs eating from 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
We’ve had our van for three years now and it’s finally time to start decorating it. Most modern caravans are decorated in a neutral way that everyone will like but I’m excited to add some personality to ours now. The furniture is all really nice and functional but it doesn’t all suit our growing family. We’re adding a triple bunkbed into the second bedroom and we’ll eventually change to the sofa to a large corner sofa bed. Our caravan did come with a sofa bed but it’s too small for a couple to comfortably share.
I’m also planning to plant some lovely flowers outside and we want to get some new garden furniture for our decking. Some people go all out and have gorgeous gardens with flower pots everywhere and fully decorate the inside! I’d love to add some colour to the walls but I’m not sure I’m that brave!
You can leave equipment like fishing rods, bikes, scooters, surf boards, kayaks, boats etc.
Having a static caravan is also a really nice opportunity to start a new hobby you wouldn’t normally be able to. I’ve bought a stand up paddleboard, Sam goes fishing a lot and he plans to buy a boat. Our kids also love bodyboarding and I don’t think they would have got into it if we weren’t at our caravan all the time.
We even leave our baby equipment like pushchairs, a highchair, bouncers, a bottle steriliser etc which makes it so much easier!
This was our first weekend back at our caravan after the first lockdown in 2020…
It’s simple living at its finest
I find it really interesting that we all strive to have more in our lives. More money, bigger houses, better cars, more stuff, more gadgets, more toys, more, more more. And then we want to get away from all our stuff and live simply without the distractions and stress from all our ‘stuff’.
One thing I love about our caravan is that life there is simple. Our van is just big enough to be comfortable but it’s still a small space so we can’t take too many clothes or too much food. The kids can’t have too many toys and we simply can’t allow it to get cluttered and messy or we’d quite literally be falling over each other.
But I absolutely love this. Life feels calm, simple and easy. I don’t need to think about what to have for dinner because we only have one choice. There’s no pondering what to wear or what to watch on TV because we only have regular freeview and the wifi isn’t great. If the van gets messy then I can clean it from top to bottom in half an hour and there’s no laundry or chores to do while we’re there. We just relax and enjoy being together without all the hassles and stress of modern life.
You can bring guests and allow family to use your static caravan
Unlike renting a holiday cottage, you’re free to bring guests to your static caravan! (During the Covid-19 pandemic we’re unable to bring guests onto our site but under normal circumstances it’s fine.)
It’s always lovely to have people over and show off your caravan lifestyle. It is a little cramped for us though! Some sites will allow you to set up a tent to allow guests to camp and many static caravan sites will have campsites nearby so if you don’t have space, you can have friends camp nearby and then spend their days with you.
Getting to know your neighbours and feeling a sense of community around your caravan is lovely.
This is one of the pros I hadn’t really considered but I love knowing our neighbours. I chat to some of our caravan neighbours more than I chat to our neighbours 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 5 would cost about £500, so we’d really only need 6 weeks at the caravan to meet our annual site fees. As it’s open from March to October, we definitely get our money’s worth!
There’s nothing stopping you using it for the entire season (ours is March-October)
Some people stay at their static caravan for the majority of the summer, it might even be their main home in the UK. I plan to spend most of the summer holidays at the caravan so that’s 6 whole weeks!
A static caravan could be an additional income stream
Depending on the site your caravan is on, you may be able to rent your caravan out. I know lots of people who do this and rent it out just enough to cover all their costs, so they essentially get their caravan for free!
There’s very little maintenance
One of the really nice things about owning a static caravan over a holiday home is that there’s very little maintenance involved. It’s a small space so it’s easy to keep clean and, unless you choose to do so, you won’t need to do any gardening. You don’t keep static caravans forever so it’s unlikely you’ll need to do many repairs.
We actually did have to change our boiler. We bought our static caravan second hand and the previous owners barely used it and didn’t look after the boiler. Luckily, my partner, Sam, is a gas engineer so that wasn’t a big deal for us but it could be for other people.
If you need to replace your boiler, you’ll often find that there’s a plumber/gas engineer who will do boiler maintenance for lots of vans on the same site so ask around for the local engineer. Do your research and read lots of reviews such as the Ideal Logic combi C30 review.
It makes you appreciate your own home more
This one might just be me but one of the joys of going away every weekend is also coming home after a lovely weekend away. I love our weekends in Abersoch but I also love coming back on a Sunday afternoon and getting back to having a spacious house.
I know it sounds contradictory when I’ve just said how much I love the simple life and I actually like to escape from all the ‘modern busyness’ at home but, for me, I only really appreciate it because it’s a novelty and I know I can come home.
Here’s a video from an average day at our caravan…
Cons to owning a static caravan
Of course, the main con is the price. Static 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 insisting you purchase a new one – and it’s unlikely you’ll get much for an old caravan if you sell it on. Prices vary wildly and site fees do too but owning a static caravan isn’t really a ‘cheap holiday’.
Site fees on my site, for example, are just over £3,000. But Haven site fees are considerably higher because they have all of the entertainment options, swimming pools, parks, activities etc.
Rentals can have downfalls
If you are on a site where you’re allowed to rent out your caravan then you could end up with undesirable neighbours.
Personally, I wouldn’t like to arrive at my caravan on a Friday evening and not know who was staying in the van next to me. It could be a stag or hen do all weekend which would seriously change the vibe of the place!
Each weekend away can be expensive
While it’s easy to say ‘use your caravan regularly and you’ll get your money’s worth’, you need to consider the fact that you’ll probably spend more money at your caravan than you would at home. You’ve got the cost of your fuel, eating out, drinking out, activities and new hobbies. Even if we don’t actually do anything while we’re at our caravan, we still spend more because we feel like we’re on holiday so we buy nice wine and lovely food! In theory, you could spend very little at your caravan but we always find we spend a lot.
You end up with a double social life
Now it isn’t the end of the world to have a busy social life but it’s worth acknowledging that you kind of end up with two social calendars. You might become close friends with another family at your caravan and get involved with different groups and activities with a busy social calendar. You can sometimes feel torn between social events at your caravan and the ones at home.
This was another sunny weekend at the van last year…
Teenagers might not want to be away from their friends all the time
Something I’m aware of is that when our kids are older, they might prefer to stay at home and spend the weekend with their friends from home. We’re hoping we’ve got a fair few more years before the kids don’t want to come too but I know it’s a possibility at some point.
You’re stuck in one place
For some people, returning to the same place is an absolute joy, for other people it might get boring.
Would you rather have one holiday and two weekends away?
For the price of our static caravan, we could probably have one big holiday and a couple of weekends away each year. You need to weigh up which you’d prefer.
You do need to ‘winter proof’ your caravan
If you aren’t handy then there will be people offering this service on your site and will do it for you. I won’t pretend to really know what this involves because Sam does it all. You need to make sure the pipes won’t freeze over winter so you have to drain the water out or add a lot of antifreeze to the pipes. You also have to put moisture traps everywhere to stop your caravan getting damp. We remove the cushions from the sofas, stand the mattresses on their sides and bring all the bedding home with us for the winter. Next year I think we’ll get vacuum bags for the bedding because it’s a bit of a pain squeezing all of our duvets and pillows into our house!