Caravans are the Marmite of the holiday world. You either love them or hate them and passions run high on either side of the debate. Whilst motorhomes are undeniably cool caravans have garnered a rather less fortunate image, at least in the UK.
The British Caravan Enthusiast
Most people’s issues with caravans stem either from their propensity to slow down the traffic, which they certainly do, or from their associations with older British holiday makers for whom two weeks in Scarborough is a major adventure. Of course caravan enthusiasts are a more diverse bunch than that I should think and these modest sized boxes do have their advantages. Travelling with your own accommodation is a definite plus and anyone who has tried to rent a static caravan in Britain will know that they don’t come cheap. Actually you could buy a caravan for the price of a summer stay at some sites or indeed a holiday at the Ritz! I was once quoted such an enormous price for a stay in Dorset that a two week safari in Botswana was a realistic alternative!
A Bad Press
I understand the appeal of a caravan but I have stopped short of actually wanting to buy one. Perhaps I suffer from an ingrained prejudice regarding that elderly camper thing or maybe I should blame Top Gear. Jeremy Clarkson and co have certainly given caravans a hard time in recent series and seem to take great delight in blowing them up, smashing them to pieces and ridiculing their owners. As Top Gear is one of the most popular shows on British television their efforts have surely contributed to any negative feelings about caravans that pervade the British population.
Caravans have come to represent the image of the hardy British holidaymaker stuck in a boggy field sheltering from the rain under their awning. I have only stayed in a caravan once, other than a static, and that was on a trip to Venice which isn’t anything like going to Scarborough. There wasn’t a boggy field in sight or any rain to speak of and the whole experience was rather enjoyable. However, I flew to Venice to meet up with family and so missed the 900 mile journey that was required to get the Caravan to the Adriatic. I am not sure that I could endure 900 miles dragging a caravan at low speed when all I really want to do is arrive.
The British San Tropez?
Perhaps caravans are indeed still mainly the preserve of the elderly because they are retired and therefore are the only people who have the time to get where they are going with a caravan and to maintain the vehicle. Nobody else can afford the time to crawl across Europe which in turn is why so many people head for Scarborough. It may not be San Tropez but you can get there in a day, even with a caravan in tow. I am not sure that I would want to bother though!
Article by Sally Stacey