It’s been a long time coming but with the UK currently in the midst of mini heat-wave now is the perfect time for motorhomes to emerge from storage. But with many of Britain’s most dedicated caravanners having already planned their trips, time is running out to book your summer holiday.
We’ve outlined a selection of the best motorhome spots in the UK for anyone still looking to book a trip a summer.
We all know that if you get a motorhome owner talking about their last trip or their dream getaway, they’ll talk for days! For the motorhome community, the freedom and convenience that a motorhome gives you is really second to none and it’s hard to understand why more people haven’t tacked on to the joy of camping. However, over the last few years we’ve seen motorhome rental companies really trying to broaden the appeal of motorhomes.
One particular market which is looking lucrative is the youth market. University students and school leavers are incredibly international these days and are always keen to travel. A motorhome is a considerably more sociable way of doing so traditional backpacking, and, with the right motorhome insurance policy it can even be more cost effective. Exotic destinations such as Australia, New Zealand and even parts of Asia are much more accessible by motorhome.
Age, of course, does restrict the sort of vehicle you’re able to drive and for the most part young drivers are only allowed to drive campervans or, in some countries, small motorhomes without a license upgrade. These are, however, usually very easy to get hold of and many young people are starting to take the tests to upgrade their license.
Equally, rental companies are starting to think about more family friendly additions to their motorhome packages. Child seats and handy things like cots or high chairs are the sort of additions that turn motorhome travel from a problem into a reality, and we’re seeing more and more motorhome rental companies really getting stuck in when it comes to accommodating for families.
It’s great to see active efforts to broaden the appeal of motorhome holidays being made and it’s even better to see different groups and all sorts of new people who you wouldn’t have expected showing up at campsites and enjoying the motorhome life.
Motorhome owners have always been attracted to the ideas of wild camping and self-sufficiency and this particular type of camping is very attractive to a lot of those who purchase motorhomes. The freedom to travel where you like and spend time as you please is really something that only a motorhome or campervan enables you to do and it’s quite probably one of the top reasons people buy motorhomes at all.
In popular motorhome areas such as the UK, mainland Europe and places like Australia and New Zealand, however, motorhomes camping in the wild are becoming a problem. The sheer volume of motorhome traffic that these areas attract is becoming problematic and can be a danger to local residents or the environment, particularly in places like national parks or nature reserves.
As such, local authorities are starting to bring in rules about where and how campers are allowed to camp, particularly in busy motorhome areas. The rules, however, are often inconsistently applied and can be incredibly confusing to follow, particularly if you’re travelling between different countries. Such disputes have been the cause of motorhome insurance claims and motorhome owners have also been issued heavy fines for contravening the regulations.
However, a part of the problem does come from motorhome owners themselves. In New Zealand in particular, many motorhome tourists fail to respect the local environment and often leave litter or waste where they shouldn’t. This is something seen all over the world by a very small minority of motorhome owners, but it has causes issues amongst tourists and local residents.
At the moment we’re seeing motorhome travel increasing in popularity and motorhomes, at the same time, are getting bigger and more sophisticated. This is putting the pressure on councils and authorities to act and regulate and we’re in a difficult period where the practical concerns of motorhome owners haven’t yet been ironed out. However, if authorities and the motorhome communities work together to come to amiable solutions, we should see things improving in the near future.
If you ask any motorhome owner why they enjoy spending their holidays in a motorhome, somewhere not too far down their list will be the idea that motorhome travel is cheap. Once the original cost of the motorhome is suffered, motorhome owners are more or less free to travel wherever they please, reliant only on the price of fuel, the odd campsite and the standard cost of living. The image of the typical budget camper comes right from this idea, but it’s not the only way to travel by motorhome: luxury camping is most certainly on the up.
With strong influence from the USA, many motorhome manufacturers are starting to branch out into high-end luxury models. Most European manufacturers have a model that is above £75,000 featured in their brochures and, of course, with the price tag comes a serious motorhome insurance policy. There are brands such as the famous Niesmann-Bischoff which are dedicated to luxury motorhomes and are driving a market for quality, high end camping.
From the other side of the deal, campsites are starting to become very serious about what they’re offering to customers. Many across Europe are investing huge amounts in improving their facilities and plenty now offer farmhouse-style breakfasts, on-site restaurants and even things like spas and massage parlours are popping up at modern campsites.
As they generally a little money to spend, this particular type of motorhome holiday appeals to older motorhome users who still enjoy the freedom of the open road but are less worried about fixing awnings in the rain or sharing a bathroom with teenage travellers! There is most certainly serious demand going into the luxury motorhome market and it’s here to stay for the future.
However appealing luxury camping may be to some, it’s just not to others. What we’re starting to see is real diversity in what campsites offer and how different places are finding different niches to appeal to.
If you think back only ten or fifteen years, motorhome camping was about exploration and the unknown: it was about good quality maps and a bit of luck. However these days there’s no need to have any fear as you go off into the great outdoors as there is so much technology around to help you on your way.
The sat-nav remains an essential item for motorhome owners and there are few who can do without them. Interactive, up-to date information is essential for avoiding traffic, picking the most efficient route, and also avoiding roads that motorhomes don’t belong on. A harmless green line on a map doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of the road but a sat-nav can and it can help you avoid a difficult situation.
Equally, the smartphone has been of great use to those who like to make their camping decisions as they go. New apps are available to help campers find sites quickly and easily and it’s often possible to check availability before you turn up. This sort of technology has brought motorhomes to the masses and is helping to attract more and more first time motorhome owners each year.
On top of all of this, the administrative hassle of buying a used motorhome has been slashed by technology. It’s now possible to find and review a motorhome online, make an offer over the phone, and collect your motorhome when you’re ready to drive off. Most motorhome insurance quotes are now renewed and offered online, making the process of trading incredibly easy indeed.
Though a lot of people like to use their motorhome to get away from the constant bombardment of emails and from using a laptop, there’s no doubt that so much technology exists to help motorhome owners get by and make the most of the time they have away.
To those in the known, campervans and motorhomes have always been cool, but it’s fair to say that the target market for camping products have always been quite niche. Equally, the market has evolved a number of specialist manufacturers and brands that pride themselves on timeless quality rather than fashion.
However, over the last few years camping seems to be coming back into mainstream fashion and reclaiming the mass appeal it had many years ago.
Developments in motorhome technology have meant that a campsite is now more luxurious than many budget hotels. Not only can you sleep in your own bed every night, but you can use a full range of cooking facilities and kitchen gadgets and you have the flexibility to take each day as it comes. A quality, spacious motorhome coupled with a good motorhome insurance policy is something many holidaymakers have found really suits their lifestyle.
On top of this, top high street brands have been getting in on the act and a change in consumer tastes towards high quality, lasting pieces has really livened the appeal of camping. There’s not much cooler for winter days than a pair of high-fashion wellies, a dark green quilted jacket and a snug knitted jumper. Camping and fashion go hand in hand at the moment and this is bring the appeal of life on the road to new markets.
Undoubtedly a change in incomes has brought about a re-evaluation of the types of holidays consumers are after. We’ve not yet seen the full effects of the economic crisis but with severe job losses an almost daily occurrence, we’re sure to see more and more families reevaluating their holidays and reclaiming a bit of time with the ones they love.
Cool camping encapsulates a mood in 2013 and, with any luck, this will encourage more and more people to get out there, enjoy a new motorhome and spend a bit of cash in UK campsites.