Living In A Caravan in the UK
Living in a caravan may induce ideas of being poor, gypsies, travellers, jobless, lazy but we’re none of that and we have never met anyone who lives in their caravans who tick any of those boxes. It’s an alternative lifestyle that opens financial opportunity. We have met couples who have sold their house and are waiting for the perfect next home to come on the market so spend a summer or 2 in their caravan. We have met families who live in their caravan and rent their house out over summer to make an income. We have met individuals who live in a caravan over summer due to a campsite location being so close to a beautiful beach.
If you want to know more about alternative living for young people then read our article here.
What are the benefits of living in a caravan?
Living in a caravan gives you great freedom, you can up-sticks and move on whenever you like.
You learn to live compact with little storage so you have to be selective over how many clothes you really wear and do you need to keep all your Christmas magazines on you? It’s great to keep a clear mind living with the essentials.
You meet like-minded people and the caravan community have always got your back. Caravanners look after each other and are always willing to help when someone has a problem or needs something looking after for a bit. It’s a great community to be a part of.
You can travel and take everything including your kitchen sink. Home-from-home is an overused phrase in the holiday letting industry but taking a caravan around Europe, you literally are living in your home-from-home. And yes, you can get WiFi in a caravan.
You get outside more. With limited space, you utilise every inch of your pitch for BBQs, bonfires, yoga space, hula hooping, beer drinking. If it’s not raining, outside is the place to be. In fact, I’m writing this blog right now with a cup of tea, in the sun, slathered in suncream.
What are the negatives of living in a caravan?
Emptying your pee. Let’s get straight to the point, in the early days of caravan living and you’re getting to grips off your back splash waste, waste water and all other gruesome bits, you must not be surprised if you accidentally get a little pee back-splash on to your face. Wear marigolds. Transport your pee on a sack truck. Work at arms length.
No room to be untidy. Perhaps a positive but sometimes a negative, living in a small area all your belongings have a home and when they start creeping out and not getting put away, your living space quickly becomes unlivable. We are constantly tidying, hoovering, disinfecting the sides and keeping the caravan clean. Clean zone, clean mind.
It’s easy to get on top of each other. When living with your partner or your whole family in a caravan it is important that everyone talks about how they’re feeling. We don’t want to be in each others company all day and it’s important to ‘miss’ those you’re closest too. Always let your partner know if you need space, some quality you-time or if you need some extra affection. You can still feel lonely when living with someone in a small space.
Is it cheaper?
Our 7 month pitch in 2019 from 22nd March to 28th October (7 full months) cost us £2,200. That is £314.28 a month. Between 2, that is £157.14 a month. That includes water and electricity. We spend £35 on gas once every 6 weeks and then we buy food as normal. You have to buy toilet cleaner, elsan blue chemical and the toilet pink chemical, £12 from amazon, that lasts us a whole season. You may need to fix a tap, a hose, a light bulb that has never cost us more than £40 for some maintenance.
If you want to save money, choose the caravan lifestyle.
Does it get cold living in a caravan?
Like any home, without using the heater, in the winter the caravan will get cold. But the hot air heaters are very safe if you use it carefully. We have a plug in oil radiator that is safer and works quicker. Because the caravan is so small it heats up very quickly. Caravans are very cosy!
What to cook in a caravan?
See our Food page to find easy recipes you can cook in a caravan.
Ideally, when cooking you want to use as few pots and pans as possible, the more washing up, the more water you use, the more you have to fill up your water tank. It’s not a problem, but if you’re lazy (like me) you want to be conservative on water.
With a 4 burner gas hob, an oven, a grill and power points, you can cook almost anything in a caravan. You have to be creative with worktop space so this is where an awning comes in handy. Ensure you have a few plastic chopping boards to turn shelves, fridge work tops and chairs into chopping areas. If you have a lush 4 - 6 berth caravan you may not find chopping space as much of a challenge as our small Fairway 390 2 berth touring caravan and awning to fit. We don’t use a mircowave but depending on your diet style, you can power a microwave off the 16amp circuit in a caravan. A steamer, slow cooker and processor are also handy appliances but they all take up valuable space!
Refrigerator and freezer space is limited in a caravan so naturally you’ll find your diet changes and you’ll be King of tins.
How to wash clothes when living in caravan?
Caravan sites have a launderette that costs between £4 - £6 for a wash and a few more bob for a tumble dry. Utilise the sunshine and get an air dryer rack, it’s much more economical to use the sun as your dryer.
If you don’t want to spend money on washing then there’s always the classic sink option. Great for the socks and pants to get your essentials done. You’ll learn to live in jeans and t-shirts and drag out your clothes wearing until they get smelly.
Have bonfire clothes. Keep a jumper and pair of leggings in the awning so only 1 set gets smokey.
How to store stuff when living in a caravan?
An awning is the best place to store all the bits and bobs that clog up the caravan. We have our books, laundry, yoga mats, hoover, kettle and tinned food all stored in our awning.
Pallets, a power screwdriver and a crowbar. Store high because floor space makes your awning feel bigger, clean zone clean mind remember! Ask your campsite maintenance guy if he has any pallets you can use to build things then get building shelves. You don’t have to be a builder to screw some wood together but do reinforce corners and use thicker wood for supports. They don’t have to be neat, just supportive!
To store outside things, if your caravan is not right up against the back of your pitch you could store bikes, kayaks, wood, surfboards, spades and tools under some tarpaulin. It keeps them out of sight, out of your main living area but protected from the elements.
Do we need a big caravan?
You don’t NEED a big caravan. Depending on how may people are living in the caravan, you could get the minimum berth caravan, 2 people - 2 berth, 4 people - 4 berth and so on. We live in a 2 berth caravan, it is noticeably smaller than the other caravans on site but we don’t NEED a bigger one. The small 2 berth caravan is convenient to store on a driveway or tow around Europe on a tour.
A larger caravan gives you more space, but with that comes difficulty towing around tight corners, through small streets and storing. If you can’t fit your caravan on your front lawn or drive way you could find yourself spending £50 a month on caravan storage at a local lock up.
How long can I stay in my caravan on a seasonal pitch?
Even if you’ve booked a seasonal pitch, planning laws on land only allow a max of 28 consecutive nights until you have to spend some time away. 3 nights or so but it is dependent on the caravan site’s planning laws. This is fine for us, we have our festivals that take us away at weekends so we’re rarely onsite for more than 28 days.
Our lovely big blue van can squeeze a small double mattress in so that becomes our second home for the other weekends.
This may seem a pain but there are ways around it if you want to stay on the right side of the law. Caravanning is great but go extra organic and pitch up a tent for a few days in a nearby campsite. Change of views, change of facilities, change of neighbours. It’s a great excuse for a holiday! Besides, they say travel is good for your wellbeing!
Couch surf at your friends house. A few nights with pals will get you off the site over the few day period and you can thank your friends by cooking them dinner.
Find a residential site. They are rare to come by but there are residential sites you can pitch up at. Or find a private land owner. This is more who you know rather than what you know but if you can go under the radar and pitch up on some private land, you’re good to go!
When we become rich (ha ha) I’ll be sure to buy a lush bit of land with gorgeous views, fantastic facilities with 12 month all year round pitching for caravan dwellers no matter how many hoops I have to jump through. There’s enough of us that it should be accessible!