Fortunately, campervan thefts are not as common as they might be. Security measures have considerably improved over the last decade or so and there are a plethora of secure parking areas available across the UK. In theory, campervan owners have never felt safer. However, over the last few days you may have seen a couple of worrying news stories concerning thefts of vintage campervans.
Last week a stolen van was involved in an accident in North Yorkshire; fortunately the van had been abandoned by the thieves and nobody was seriously injured. Equally, a vintage two-tone van was stolen in Kent just after Christmas. The police have been investigating both incidents and we’re yet to hear news of recovery.
Though only a small minority of campervan owners are ever affected by thefts, these incidents are worrying for owners and it shows that there are people with both the will and the expertise to break into an drive off with a van. It really goes to highlight the importance of the right campervan insurance policy which protects you from vehicle theft as well as contents and accident cover.
In particular, those who own vintage campervans could be at risk. Not only do vintage vehicles fetch a good deal more when they are eventually sold off – whether as vehicles or as spare parts – but they don’t tend to have the modern security mechanisms you’d expect on a newer model. It’s considerably easier for a thief to start an old VW Transporter without a key than it is to disrupt the computer systems of many later models.
Owners should be thinking about where they’re storing their campervans and how they can discourage thieves. Steering locks and central alarm systems can be retrofitted to vintage models and it’s often advantageous financially to do so.
Vintage campervans will always attract interest and though we’re fortunate enough to have many more security measures available to us that ever before, it’s important that owners are doing all they can to make use of them and to make theft as difficult as possible.
Though it’s only a week into the new year, the thought of getting some fresh air away from home is a very tempting prospect for a lot of campervan owners. Traditionally the months of January, February and March are very quiet for campervan travellers, but this year we could see an increase in the number of people taking trips away in the off-season.
The first thing that will tempt travellers is prices. Campsites are well aware of the dip in demand during the winter months and many close altogether, but those that remain open often lower their prices considerably. There is definitely a good deal to be had in popular tourist areas around the South-Coast, Devon, Cornwall, and in the north of the UK. A stiff winter breeze, dramatic seas and cosy nights could well attract those who were thinking of putting off a summer holiday for financial reasons.
Equally, the peace and quiet around the winter months will appeal to campervan owners this year. For a couple of years we have seen summer holidaymakers switching from budget but relatively more expensive European trips to UK holidays, and this has meant popular tourist areas have really suffered from overcrowding. Those who are looking to experience the countryside at its finest will be in for a treat during the quiet off-season.
This could, however, posit a danger for some campervan owners. Those on a limited mileage campervan insurance deal could well find themselves doing more miles than they are covered for if they’re travelling both in the off-season and during the summer. Though this isn’t a problem in itself, it does mean that some campervan owners will need to double check their policies and usually ring their campervan insurance provider to increase the scope of their insurance.
The off-season is certainly a tempting prospect for those in need of a light relief from the winter blues. At the end of the day, cheap prices, peaceful beaches, and good old British weather really do have their charms!
Motorhome and campervan insurance companies will be delighted with Government proposals that could see drivers who are caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 30mph forced into taking extended driving tests before they get their driving licences back.
The get tough approach to motorists who have a complete disregard for the law will also be applauded by mobile home owners across the UK. Although each and every motorist in the UK will admit to having crept over the speed limit unconsciously from time to time, transgressing by over 30mph cannot be defended and doesn’t happen by accident. A driver travelling at 100mph on the motorway for instance is well aware of the fact he is travelling over 70mph.
The proposals by the Department of Transport (DfT) will see the great majority of drivers who receive a ban for a single speeding transgression now be treated in a similar fashion to those who lost their licence due to drink driving, dangerous driving and causing death by dangerous driving. Incredibly 9,000 drivers received a ban because of a single speeding offence last year, which usually indicated they were travelling more than 30 mph over the posted limit. It is thought the new proposal will also mean some drivers convicted of careless driving will receive the same treatment.
It is a brave step by the DfT because at the moment only a little over 5,000 offenders are compelled to take extended tests before they got their licence back, and each of these have been banned for a minimum of 56 days. The proposal will easily double the figure and will probably make the roads safer for the rest of us. The errant drivers will also be hit in the pocket as the extended driving test which takes approximately double the forty minutes of a conventional test also costs double the usual fee, £124 instead of £62.
Also under the same set of proposals drivers may be refused the option of a second blood test at a police station after failing a roadside breathalyser and the DfT is considering an option to confiscate the vehicles of drivers who are convicted of a drink driving offence for a second time.
A couple of intrepid campervan travellers who returned back to the UK earlier this year have detailed the minutiae of their trip so well it is inspiring other campervan fans to try the same.
Adam and Sophie set off from the UK in April 2011 and returned in March 2012, their blog of the trip and subsequent postings of the details has attracted many would be adventurers to the website wanting more of the detailed information the couple have volunteered.
The couple travelled over 23,000 miles on their trip and visited 21 countries although they only managed to stop in 18 of them. They reckon they travelled an average of 78 miles per day and managed to average just over 33 miles per gallon for the whole journey. They listed the number of days Adam drove (170) the number of days Sophie took the wheel (19) and the number of days they shared duties (20) the rest of the 334 days they were away they obviously didn’t move. They paid to use 19 road tolls, 14 ferries, 4 tunnels and 5 vignettes. The total cost of the whole journey worked out to £9,570.19 or £28.83 a day, this did not however, include the cost of their campervan insurance which was £500.
The couple were proud to say they had managed to travel the length and breadth of Europe for slightly over £29 each a day and noted that they bought food from 115 supermarkets or food stores ate out for lunch most days but went out for an evening meal on 101 days, yes the detail was that good!. They also inform us they spent only 115 nights in parks where they had to pay a fee and in fact overnight fees amounted to just 5% of their total expenditure.
It is certainly not a trip that every mobile home owner could undertake, work restrictions ruling it out for most people, but the couple’s website is full of questions from people who have been inspired by their trip and the remarkably little cost involved.
Campervan enthusiasts will be delighted with the news that a UK company has come up with a solution for that eternal problem with campervans… space to sleep.
Although it will never, ever put off a true enthusiast there is no doubt that most campers are a bit cramped when it comes to saying goodnight. Well a UK company have launched a new product on the market called the Doubleback which will truly put the cramped space issue to bed. Built on a modern Volkswagen T5 Transporter van, the Doubleback still clings on to the soft extending tent roof that enables campers to stand upright, but it’s been further equipped for camping duties with an extending pod that adds an extra two metres of living space inside. The pod is somewhat similar to a second skin on the inside of the VW. A slick motorized action allows the skin to slide out from the back of the campervan like a modern day Thunderbird craft.
Although the pod itself only weighs 150kgs it can take almost triple its own weight. The interior of the pod is equipped with a large bed, but it can be folded down so the space can be also used for other activities.
Robin Kerr has tried it out and was impressed saying: “It really does make a big difference, with having two kids we were seriously thinking of buying a motorhome even though we love the whole VW campervan scene. It is expensive, well over fifty grand but it allows us to retain our love affair with campervans.”
In fact the van comes in at £55,000 and if you can afford the price then you will easily afford the campervan insurance to go with it, but remember to check with your provider about the extras that come with this campervan and make sure you get the appropriate cover.
Campervan enthusiasts who visit Cornwall this year may find entry into West Cornwall’s busy tourist towns a little easier as councillors and locals try to determine the best area for a transport interchange facility.
Councillors have been pinning their hopes on a plot of land at St Erth just off the A30 which is central to St Ives, Penzance, Hayle and Camborne but villagers in the small hamlet are not convinced proposed plans are safe. Cornwall council have already earmarked the land to become a 750 space car park with park and ride facilities for all the major tourist traps in the area. All the groundwork and planning permission has been granted and a meeting last week should have rubber stamped the deal. However, villagers from St Erth who were present at the council meeting managed to persuade the councillors to postpone any decision until they make a site visit.
Cheryl Macleod, speaking on behalf of the St Erth Residents Association, said “I was pleased that the councillors listened to us and they seemed to have done their homework and were aware of the issues. Two of the car parks would be accessed via the narrow road to the village where it passes under a small railway bridge and the bridge is already used by more than 100 lorries a day visiting a sewage plant and a waste site in the village. A site visit is preferable to a decision because we think that anyone who sees that bridge will understand the dangers. I am pleased with a site visit because I think the site will speak for itself.”
There is no doubt that a park and ride scheme would ease congestion in the small narrow lanes in West Cornwall but Campervan drivers should check their campervan insurance cover before using any park and ride schemes.