Tourer Versus Static Holiday Home
Pros and Cons of Buying a Static Mobile Home on a Holiday Park
The photograph above shows the Willerby Brockenhurst, a low/mid-priced brand-new static currently on sale at a Great Yarmouth holiday park at £46,744.
I have an axe to grind and I want you to know that from the outset. Basically, I believe the holiday parks rip you off.
That said, let's first have a look at static Park Homes. They are without doubt beautiful, spacious and a real home away from home. Most now have central heating and double glazing, so they are warm and cosy, even in winter. However, they are static. After a year or two, visiting the same site every weekend can become tiresome to say the least, and not only that, you will be missing out on all the other beautiful places that the British Isles and the rest of Europe have to offer.
And then again, owning your own mobile home on a holiday park allows you to set off whenever you like, with just an overnight bag and bit of food shopping, knowing that everything is there, ready and waiting for you, just as you left it. You can even leave a selection of weekend clothes there if you wish.
These are some of the important points, good and bad, that you need to keep in mind:
- Your neighbours will be your neighbours for years to come and you are likely to make some very good friends (or god forbid enemies) over the years.
- You will be able to let your mobile home out to help towards site fees. However, this will involve removing and replacing all of your personal possessions before and after each let, which kind of takes the shine off and removes most of the spontaneity. Moreover, the popular letting weeks are the same weeks that you are likely to be wanting to take your own family away.
- Ask yourself what you are going to do if, for any reason, you have to sell up quickly. Selling a park home is by no means a simple affair unless the site owners are willing to buy it back for a pittance. You may suddenly find yourself losing tens of thousands of pounds and you can't simply unplug it and take it home with you (unless you have a large yard to store it.)
- Unsited mobile homes are worth a fraction of the price you will have paid for them.
Before you sign that mobile home contract please read my article so that you are fully aware of all the implications. I would also strongly suggest you consider the option of a touring caravan. They can be seasonally sited, which will give you most of the benefits of a mobile without the potential problems.
The Touring Caravan
The photograph above shows the Buccaneer Cruiser currently available through the Eldis Dealer network at £32,194.
This is a beautiful double glazed tourer, with full heating system, onboard toilet and shower, fixed bed, fridge/freezer, full size cooker and even it's own solar power panel enabling you to go off grid whenever you wish. Buccaneer caravans are produced by Eldis Caravans Ltd. and I believe they are one of the best British made caravans available but have a top of the range price. Other brand new British built caravans are available from around £16,000. So lets have a look at the pros and cons:
- You can go away whenever you like, wherever you like. Many tourer owners spend as much time away in the winter as they do in the summer. I know plenty of retired owners who spend the entire winter in Spain.
- It is easy to take your tourer across to Europe and find a whole new world to explore. Next year I will be going for three months - visiting France, Monaco, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Switzerland and Serbia.
- If you are touring, you pay site fees only for the nights you spend on park. Typically from just £12 per night up to about £35 per night in high season on a holiday park with all mod cons close to the sea.
- If you don't have space at home to store your tourer, there are many storage sites across the UK charging between £150 and £350 per year.
- There are also seasonal pitches available throughout the UK and the price of a seasonal touring pitch is considerably less than you would pay for a static pitch. Here is a very comprehensive list, at ukcampsite.co.uk, of suitable sites throughout the UK and Europe. Seasonally siting your caravan is an excellent alternative to purchasing a static. You get access to all the same facilities, can leave your belongings in your caravan and just turn up whenever you like. Seasonal touring pitches are considerably cheaper than a static pitch. Expect to pay between £1,200 and £2,500 depending on the park and location.
- You will meet lots of new friends! Touring people are on the whole a friendly and helpful bunch. For instance, my daughters and I are all under 5ft. 2" and even with the caravan steps we have a problem reaching the awning rail. I cannot remember single occasion where we have not been offered help with the task!
- The used touring caravan market in the UK is excellent. If you need to, you will be able to sell to whomever you like, whenever you like and they hold their price really well. For instance I purchased a 5 year old caravan in 2011 for £6,000 from a private seller. Everything, from the knives and forks, to a huge awning were included. I have seasonally sited it for 3 years, and have toured with it for two years. I am now thinking about getting a slightly newer model, in preparation for our Europe adventure, and so have checked out prices on Ebay. It turns out I could probably still get very close to £5,000 for it. Not bad considering the fun we have had with it.
- You don't need to get a brand new one! I have seen families pitch up next to us with vans 20 years old and more. Do you think that they enjoy themselves any less than the person with a brand new one? Probably not to be honest and although we all love anything shiny and new you should be able to purchase a perfectly nice, serviceable van from about £1,500 and I promise no-one will think any the less of you.
- You are going to need a towing vehicle carefully matched to the weight of your caravan. I will go into this more in my next article, which will be aimed at anyone considering buying their first tourer.
- Whilst there is no rule that you have to an awning, your caravanning experience will be greatly enhanced, and they can more than double the space available to you. They can be purchased from £100 for a used porch awning to £1500 for a top of the range inflatable one.
- Not everyone likes towing (although this can be overcome with seasonal siting).
- You can spend up to two hours setting up when you arrive on site. It all depends how proficient you are and what type of awning you have. The new air awnings can be up and pegged out in just 20 minutes.
- You may need to take a towing proficiency test. Again, I will go into all the regulations in my next blog.
- You will need to insure your caravan and service it regularly.
- Beware - TOURING IS ADDICTIVE!
I hope you will leave a comment if you have found the article helpful. Look forward to hearing from you. Happy caravanning!