A Summer Holiday – On Four Wheels

Renting a camper van or motorhome for your summer break is a truly different experience to a holiday home stay. Clearly it’s much smaller, but the ‘wendy house’ feel is a lot of fun and being able to visit a number of places without packing and unpacking every time is a joy.

VW and small camper vans look cool and are easy to get around in. They are small inside though and don’t have toilet facilities. They work well in good weather and for a couple of nights, but much longer than that and you’ll be longing for a bit of social distancing!

If that’s all your budget will stretch to and there are more than two of you, make sure you get an awning for extra storage and living space.

A camper van is a van which has been converted to a living space. Being a van they have big doors at the side and back, meaning you can get more of a view and let the fresh air in. They are generally easy to drive and park and are ‘Tardis-like’ inside – you won’t believe how much can be squeezed in.

A motorhome is usually built on a van chassis, but the living space is purpose-built so it’s wider, taller and has more space for storage and facilities. On the downside, they only have a narrow single door in the living space so there’s more of a definition between inside and outside.

Caravans are inexpensive because there’s no motor but of course you’ll need a tow bar on your car, which you might not be so keen to do if you are just trying the experience for the first time. Driving and manoeuvring them takes a bit of practice too.

During the day you can stop in many open car parks near beaches and in forested areas. Wild camping – where you just park up and stay overnight – isn’t encouraged even if you have your own toilet facilities. Rather you should aim for one of these options:

The Caravan and Motorhome Club has an extensive network of club sites, see www.caravanclub.co.uk.

The smaller Camping and Caravanning Club offers a good selection of sites. See www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk.

Britstop (britstop.com) is a guide you have to buy (£31.60) and it lists stays at farm shops, country pubs, vineyards and many other interesting venues. However, many are likely to still be closed this summer.

As it’s likely to be a while before public venues are fully open, entertainment on your new holiday theme will resonate:

  • ‘Vanlifer’ Jenelle Eliana has built up a huge following on YouTube. She lives full-time in her van with a pet snake!
  • Book: How to Live in a Van and Travel.
  • Into the Wild is a moving film based on a true story of a young man who attempted to live independently in the wilds of Alaska.
  • Back on YouTube, watching van reviews and people doing self-build conversions may inspire you to make motorhoming a permanent fixture in your life.