Last Updated: 25/10/2018
Many of you will already be familiar with the term "glamping", which has seen luxury and glamour injected in the art of camping. This means that sleeping on cold, hard floors and cooking on an open fire are things of the past, unless you like that sort of thing of course. The modern camper can now enjoy all the wonders of the great outdoors in complete style and luxury, whether that’s indulging in spacious bell tents or investing in the latest camping gadgets.
However, it’s isn’t just camping that’s having a renaissance, as the thriving caravanning world is also seeing a rise in popularity and a makeover. More and more people are taking to the roads with a caravan in tow rather than jetting off on a plane and that’s all because modern caravanning has changed. It’s now more than just portable homes and affordable holidays. Like everything else the modern caravan has evolved and modernised to deliver sleek and chic designs both inside and out, with a plethora of mod-cons to keep you in complete comfort and luxury on your holiday.
On top of this they still offer a much cheaper accommodation alternative with the freedom of the open road to go wherever you choose; and if you own the caravan you can choose to go away any time you please, not just at specific times of the year.
Glamavanning - Caravanning revamped
Now, in the past the caravanning community hasn’t necessarily had the most exciting image, being associated with the older generation and caravan parks full of pokey caravans with questionable facilities, but this is all changing. Like camping, caravanning has now become one of the coolest new ways to travel - even celebrities like Dame Helen Mirren, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jamie Oliver are being dubbed caravan converts or "glamavanners".
It’s not hard to see where the attraction is with caravans - they provide flexible accommodation that you can tow anywhere, and a well-designed interior to maximise space inside, such as flexible living areas, panoramic windows and clever storage. Team that with an abundance of mod-cons and you’ll have the ideal home from home. From chemical toilets, showers and air conditioning, to a fully-equipped kitchen, good-sized fridges, TV and portable Wi-Fi, glamavanning provides everything you need while you’re away, so you can take all the luxuries of home out on the road with you.
All the technology and considerations in revamped modern caravan design makes sure there’s no need to worry about the facilities where you’re planning to pitch up. Even with basic models, you’ll find an extensive range of kit on board that will allow you to cope for any eventuality, whether you’re staying on a caravan park or heading off the beaten track somewhere more remote.
Having said that if you are planning on staying at a caravan site, you’ll be surprised at what many of them offer these days. The caravan parks of old that were often lacking in facilities and amenities, have been updated into multi-purpose holiday parks, with many offering restaurants, bars, shops, luxury facilities, swimming pools, children’s play areas, on-site entertainment, excursions, spas and much more. While the beauty of a caravan holiday is to travel around and see the sights, with so many luxuries and facilities available you could easily pitch up for a week or two and find plenty to do on just one site.
The Key to Happy Glamavanning
If you’re sold on the idea of a glamavanning holiday and want to try it yourself, there’s a few key things to take into consideration before you head out on the road. Just like any other holiday, planning and preparation play a vital role in ensuring its success; and heading out on a caravanning holiday unprepared could mean you won’t get the maximum enjoyment out of it.
Be Smart - Take Advantage of Modern Technology
For a lot of people the idea of a holiday is to get away from it all, switch off and disconnect from the real world, which is a wonderful thing, but with glamavanning this doesn’t mean you have to go off the grid entirely. Modern caravans already come equipped with a great deal of technology to make life easier, but you can pimp up your ride considerably with extra gadgets that will make life in your caravan even sweeter and more enjoyable.
For example, investing in an up-to-date Sat Nav system is definitely a good idea that will make getting to and from your desired location straightforward and simple. If you get lost, manoeuvring a caravan if you make a wrong term is no easy feat - even for seasoned caravan veterans.
You can also equip your caravan with nifty gadgets like portable Wi-Fi modems that keep you in constant communication with the outside world and allow you to stream live TV if you can’t live without it. There’s also a number of smartphone apps that can help you level your caravan correctly, let you know how much water is in your tank, whether your battery life is running low and even keep you alerted if your fridge door comes open while you’re on the move.
Power Up - Don't Underestimate Your Battery Needs
Speaking of batteries, this is definitely an area that needs close attention. Although a lot of caravan sites will provide an electric hook that can power your fridge, TV, water heater and a whole lot more while you’re static, it’s a good idea to also invest in a quality caravan battery too. Leisure or caravan batteries are specifically designed to give prolonged power for equipment on board caravans so making sure you have the right one to suit your caravan and power needs is essential to maintaining power.
Many new caravans don’t come with a leisure battery as standard, so make sure if you are buying or renting a caravan that it is equipped with a well-charged battery before you hit the road. This will not only give you an alternative power source should you wish to pitch up somewhere without a mains power supply, but it can also be used in transit to keep your electrical appliances running such as fridges, so food doesn’t get spoiled and wasted.
Keep Learning - Practice The Fine Art of Towing
Another important aspect of happy glamavanning is master the art of towing. Regardless of whether you’re a highly competent driver or not, the difference between driving a normal vehicle and one towing a caravan is significant and shouldn’t be underestimated. Understanding these differences is essential to safety and will make towing a less stressful towing experience, enabling you to relax and enjoy your holiday.
Firstly you need to ensure you have the correct legal requirements in place to tow your caravan - the "Towing with a car" GOV.UK site is a good place to start and covers information such as driving licence rules and weight and width limits.
Once you've covered the legal requirements you need to learn the correct and safe way to hook-up your caravan and secure it when you’re pitching up, as well as how to park it. As much as watching you struggle to manoeuvre your caravan into a tight spot will amuse on-lookers, it certainly won’t amuse you or your fellow caravan companions. Thus getting handle on it beforehand without an audience will ensure your holiday doesn’t get off to a trying start.
To help with this you can get professional tuition, but also investing in parking aids such as reversing cameras will make a big difference to your visibility.
Plan Ahead - Map Your Route in Advance
The whole concept of a caravan holiday is to give you freedom and flexibility to go wherever the mood takes you, which can be to a caravan park or a remote destination. However, before you start planning your holiday routes, it’s important to do a little planning and research to make sure where you want to go is suitable for your caravan.
Depending on the size of your caravan, you may find that heading off onto small dirt roads to hard-to-reach locations may be a challenge - the bigger your caravan, the heavier it is and the harder it will be to navigate these kinds of roads.
Furthermore, don’t underestimate the length of time it may take to get to places. Travelling with a caravan is considerably slower than in a car, so be realistic with where you want to visit, as the last thing you want is to spend more time driving to get somewhere than actually enjoying it.
Taking all of these elements into account before you dive into the glamourous world of modern caravanning, should help to make your introduction to glamavanning a smooth and relaxing experience.
Whether you’re taking the plunge and investing in your own caravan or you fancy a test drive with a rental first, one thing is for sure - glamavanning is one of the coolest new ways to travel. You’ll have glamour and luxuries on the go, with the freedom of the open road at your feet.