You’re probably only too familiar with the scene: the caravan is packed, hitched up, and you’ve barely travelled to the end of the road before one of the kids cries out from the back seat that they’re going to be sick. Or, in some cases, maybe your front seat passenger, an adult, says they feel nauseous.
Travel sickness, car sickness, or what some experts call simply motion sickness is far more common than you might think – and not something suffered only by young children. A story in the Express newspaper on the 17th of June 2018, for example, revealed that the nausea associated with travel sickness is experienced by around two-thirds of the population, with one-third of those affected actually throwing up.
Apart from the queasiness and vomiting, sufferers may also exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
- cold sweats;
- pale skin; and
- a more than usually watering mouth.
The NHS advises that the causes of motion sickness arise from the confusing messages received by your brain when the balance organs, in your inner ear, conflict with the movements that your eyes are seeing – the confused messages simply make you feel unwell.
Mitigating the effects
There are ways of mitigating the effects of motion sickness and these include:
- reducing the amount of motion you feel by sitting in a front seat of the car – though this is clearly inadvisable for young children;
- keeping your eyes on a fixed point ahead – such as the horizon;
- increasing the amount of fresh air you are breathing by opening a window;
- with your eyes closed, taking slow breaths and concentrate on your breathing;
- breaking the journey for a walk or a drink of water in the fresh air;
- avoiding alcohol or a heavy meal before getting into the car; and
- distracting children by singing, listening to music or chatting to take their minds off how they are feeling.
There are a number of homoeopathic remedies you may try, but the science behind them is rather inconclusive, even though they seem to work for some people if not others. These include:
- acupressure wristbands – these have a small knob or button on the inside which presses on the Pericardium 6 or Nei Guan point in your wrist, and you may try the sensation for yourself by taking your three middle fingers and pressing them down on the inside of your wrist, when your index finger will then locate the P6 spot;
- root ginger – which you can chew on or eat in a biscuit, drink in an infusion of tea or take as a tablet or capsule, suggests Saga magazine. Again, the science behind using this – a centuries-old remedy for settling upset stomachs – is inconclusive, but seems to work for many people;
- drugs – there are any number of over-the-counter remedies found in your local chemists and most of them are based on the groups of medicines called antihistamines or hyoscines.
While car or motion sickness is not a serious illness, it is really horrible for sufferers – so much so that they may try and avoid long car or boat journeys.
So, before any trips, look at different remedies available and try them out in the weeks leading up to the journey – do some “test” runs.
Finally, before you actually embark on your journey, make sure you build in time for plenty of short stops; that you pack sweets for the sufferers to suck on and lots of bottled water; and, that have a supply of plastic bags ready (the latter for “just in case”).
Your holiday may be over, but at least you have your photographs to remind you of the places you have visited and the things you have done.
So, what’s the secret to taking great photographs on your caravan adventures? Here are a few tips:
- given the state of modern technology, it’s perfectly possible to take great photographs with your smartphone – you don’t especially need any fancy SLR digital camera, but it might help;
- either way, be sure that you’re familiar with just how it works – as the website Picture Correct suggests, that might mean studying the operating manual in one hand and your phone or camera in the other;
- simple shots are often the most effective;
- that is likely to be the case even with a fancy digital camera, but even more so if you are using your smartphone – if you limit your photograph to just a single subject, you’ve a better chance of creating a strong composition, advises the iPhone Photography School;
- perhaps the biggest secret to taking great photos is to frame them correctly;
- that means making sure that you’ve not cut off a hand, arm or leg of one of the subjects – still less their head, of course;
- allow sufficient headroom, but try to make your composition more interesting by keeping your subject slightly off-centre;
- especially when taking landscape scenes, get used to making the most of the picture’s depth by drawing your viewer’s eye right into the scene you’ve captured;
- this also involves your understanding of the concept of the depth of field of a photograph – when using a camera, for example, learn how changing the exposure (“F”-stop) and adjusting the focus, helps to widen or reduce the depth of field;
- be aware how lighting and the angle of the sun can change the whole mood and atmosphere of your photograph;
- for most purposes, you want the sun on your back, so that you are not shooting directly into the light, but at the same time avoid making your subjects have to squint into strong sunlight;
- but back-lit subjects may be just as effective and some great effects may be had by shooting completely dark subjects, with them appearing in silhouette only;
- the outdoor life of the caravanner means that you’ll be using almost exclusively natural light, so be prepared to come back at a later hour when conditions suit the picture you intend to capture;
- but at the same time always try to keep your phone or camera to hand – you’ll not want to miss any action shots or fleeting impressions;
- know that not every photograph is going to be your masterpiece but be prepared to strike gold every once in a while.
These tips may help to make your memories of any caravan outing that much sweeter – and well-taken photographs are more likely to impress your friends and those back home.
Are you all prepared for the new caravanning season ahead? Banking on another blistering summer under English skies? Or are you playing safer by taking your caravan abroad?
Either way, here is some of the latest caravan news from home and abroad.
Spain’s caravans of love
They might not feature your standard touring caravan, but Spain has hit on a novel way of breathing new life into the steadily depopulating villages in parts of its remote countryside, described on the BBC’s World Service on the 28th of February 2019.
The so-called “caravans of love” are, in fact, coach parties – mainly of women – bound for dinner-dances and a little romantic company for the single men who continue to make their living in the farms and homesteads of the interior.
It’s a lonely life for many of these men and the promise of some company every once in a while, – or longer, if they play their cards right – might be all that it takes to bring back a sense of community to these otherwise lonely villagers.
If you are planning a touring holiday with your caravan in Spain, take a detour to one of these depopulated villages yourself – who knows, you might be striking up new lifelong friendships there.
Felmoor Holiday Park submits plans to extend site
It already boasts 13 pitches for touring caravans, static holiday homes and timber chalets – together with the necessary toilet and utility blocks – and now Felmoor Holiday Park in the north of Northumberland has recently won planning permission for a further 24 holiday lodges and 10 more static caravans.
The successful planning application also included provision for the related site access roads and the construction of a miniature golf course, reported Chronicle Live on the 14th of February.
You can find Felmoor Holiday Park at Bockenfield, near Felton, in the north of the county.
Caravan sales booming in Germany
If you’ve ever pitched up at a site in the country, you’ll probably know that Germans love their caravans.
That much has been confirmed by the fifth year running in which new sales of caravans and motorhomes have seen a marked surge. A total of with 24,327 new caravans and 48,859 motorhomes were sold in Germany during 2018, said the Camping and Caravanning Club in its Magazine article of the 27th of February.
Caravan sales in Germany have increased steadily over the past five years, with 2018 seeing a 7.2% increase over the previous 12 months, making it the best year since 2001.
Although Germany has a bigger population than the UK caravans and motorhomes appear to be considerably more popular amongst our neighbours than at home. Little wonder, therefore, that German manufacturers are stepping up production capabilities and looking forward to another bumper sales year in 2019.
Take a look at these Nordic-style luxury holiday lodges with incredible Snowdon views
Reminding you so much of a typical Nordic cabin, you almost expect to see vistas of the Norwegian fjords from the doorstep. In fact, what you’ll get are even more beautiful views of Mount Snowdon across the Menai Straits that separate North Wales from the island of Anglesey.
An article in Wales Online on the 18th of February included a virtual tour of these elegant and luxurious three-bedroom, Nordic-style lodges built within the up-market, gated community of Plas Coch Coastal Country Retreat on Anglesey.
The contemporary interior design speaks volumes of subtle Scandinavian inspiration, with plenty of timber-clad walls, vaulted ceilings and wooden roof beams.
The sumptuous décor and furnishings offer a luxurious interior, but it doesn’t stop there – from your own private decked terrace you can gaze out across the water to the whole of the Snowdonia range on the horizon.
The only drawback? The agents remain presently tight-lipped, but prices are estimated by those in the know to be around £500,000 for one of these unique holiday homes.
Helping to give our readers the latest developments on all things caravans and caravanning, here is a sneak peak at the latest news.
As we gear up for a new season, it might help to stay abreast of developments – especially those close to home or in other parts of the country to which you are headed.
£1.5m makeover for Dovercourt Caravan Park
After its acquisition by the major chain, Holiday Parks, and a £1.5 million refurbishment, you’ll likely want to visit the new Dovercourt Caravan Park when it open for the touring season on the 12th of April.
Hardstanding pitches all come with electric hook-up and the many site amenities include, modernised shower blocks, an outdoor swimming pool (open between the 3rd of May and the 30th of September), a remodelled clubhouse (which hosts entertainment acts on certain nights of the week), an all-weather sports arena, shop, children’s adventure play area, and mini-golf course.
Woman fined after fly tipping old caravan
If your old caravan has seen better days and is now on its last legs, don’t break the law – as one Gateshead woman did – by leaving it to rot on the street, recounts Gateshead Council in a press release dated the 21st of January 2019.
To make matters much worse, the culprit in this case crammed the abandoned caravan with mountains of discarded junk and rubbish instead of taking it all to the tip.
Needless to say, the courts took a dim view of the attempt to get rid of the unwanted items and fined the woman a total of nearly £1,500 for fly-tipping.
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the first British commercial caravan designed to be towed by a car
History buffs amongst you might have known it already, but this year marks the 100th anniversary of the very first commercially manufactured British caravan designed to be towed by a car – reported the Mirror newspaper on the 17th of January.
The 9ft long and 5ft 7in wide touring caravan was the brainchild of Eccles Motor Transport in Birmingham. It came fitted out with two berths, a primus stove for cooking, and a wardrobe. Although very basic by today’s standards, the small towing caravan was surprisingly heavy – a timber shell lined with still heavier woods such as mahogany.
In 1919 this basic tourer cost £100 – that’s around £5,000 in today’s money.
New campsite at Rother Valley opening date announced
If you are headed to the north of England this season, you might want to try out a new camping and caravan site in the picturesque Rother Valley Country Park near Sheffield.
Rotherham Business News on the 5th of February announced the grand opening in April of a new £3.7 million site within the Country Park, with a capacity for 129 touring caravan and motorhome pitches and 34 tents.
Named the Waleswood Caravan & Camping Park, the site also boasts purpose-designed shower and toilet facilities, a shop, reception, café and bar for visitors, together with a well-equipped children’s play area.
What do you need to know when buying static caravan insurance?
On the one hand, one caravan insurance policy might seem pretty much like any other, so you may wonder why bother comparing static caravan insurance?
After all, given the amount of money that you probably spent on your static caravan, you’re likely to simply buy the best static caravan insurance policy.
But, of course, there may be no such thing as one best policy.
What represents the best static caravan insurance for you may be very different to what someone else may consider to be the best for them. While you may consider yourself to be a fairly typical caravan owner, just a quick look round any site may confirm very quickly just how different people and their caravans can be.
That means, some policies may be more suitable for you than others.
Beware the policies offered by your static caravan park
If you are convinced that the best static caravan insurance is too relative a term, you might opt for what appears to be the most straight forward and convenient – a policy offered by the management of the park on which your static caravan is situated.
Indeed, you might have felt pressured in the past to buy your caravan insurance cover from the site owner. If you are very lucky, that offer might approximate to satisfactory static caravan insurance for your own situation – but in reality, the chances of that happening may be very slight indeed.
Remember that, in most cases, you are not obliged to take your site owner’s own insurance. You are free to shop around for the static caravan cover. The site owner may ask for proof that you have arranged your own static home insurance and may charge a nominal fee to see the paperwork. Even with that fee taken in to account, however, shopping around for the cover (using a service such as ours), you could still save money.
If you compare static caravan insurance and select a policy that you feel offers you the best static caravan insurance, then you may still end up with a more cost-attractive solution than buying from the site owner – even taking their fee into account.
What you need to know when comparing static caravan insurance quotes
So, you’ve decided to give the site’s offer of an insurance package a miss and to make your own selection – what do you need to know?
First, keep firmly in the back of your mind that having a static caravan is, for many people, a dream as well as a substantial investment. That investment and dream could both be at risk though unless you have appropriate static caravan insurance.
In one sense, buying this type of cover is easy. Buying cover that’s suitable though is entirely different.
So, here are some top tips on making your choice of suitable static home insurance:
- don’t get confused over insurance types! Static and towed caravan insurance are two quite different genres of policy and they’re not interchangeable;
- ditto for static and park home cover. A static caravan is one you occupy for typically a few weeks each year when on holiday or for other recreational purposes. It is not a caravan-type dwelling where you live permanently, which would typically be called and insured as a ‘park home’;
- if you plan to let others use your caravan for holiday purposes and are charging for that, your use of your static is no longer defined as ‘personal recreation’. There is a significant legal and insurance difference between letting someone use your caravan as a favour (e.g. a family member) and letting it out for holiday purposes and income generation. In order to keep continuity of cover and protect your interests, please discuss any such plans with your insurance provider before you start;
- some policies may require you to empty your static of major furnishing items during the closed season. Be clear if that’s the case with a policy you’re considering and whether or not you could comply;
- you may find more extensive advice and options if you discuss your overall position with an experienced and specialist provider of static caravan insurance – such as ourselves – rather than a generalist;
- look carefully at the ‘new for old’ replacement provisions. Some policies might offer that irrespective of whether or not you purchased the caravan from new, but some may not do so if there have been previous owners before your purchase;
- it’s always a good idea to have a hefty sum for liability insurance cover. If somebody’s injured by your static and they believe it to be due to your negligence, then they may sue. If they win, the awards against you could be staggeringly high;
- if you’re a member of a recognised caravan club, then it might make sense to look for a policy provider who will recognise that through discounts. Why discounts? It’s because some insurers will interpret your club membership as a sign of responsibility on your part and as a result, a lower chance of problems and claims arising;
- read any exclusions carefully as well as associated conditions. For example, some policies may require that your site is supervised 24x7x365. That’s fine if your site is so supervised but if it shuts in winter, you may find you’re in breach of your policy’s conditions and that might put your cover at risk;
- it’s worth checking for discounts for the use of security equipment too. Some policies may stipulate certain mandatory security requirements such as the use of alarms but not all will offer discounts if you use other voluntary security upgrades.
Specific considerations when buying static caravan insurance
You’ve put in the work to compare static caravan insurance, but there are certain specific areas of any policy that bear closer consideration:
- whenever you are arranging insurance, the value of the insured item is an important consideration – and static caravan insurance is no different;
- the total sum insured represents the maximum amount the insurer pays out in the event of a total loss (if the caravan is consumed by fire, for example);
- when deciding that total sum, therefore, you might want to take into account the cost of replacing your caravan;
- depending on the policy you choose, this might be its current market value, or replacement as new – the latter is available from us for caravans up to 5 years old (regardless of the number of previous owners);
Risk of flooding
- during many British winters, flooding – from swollen rivers or rising tides – may cause widespread damage and caravan parks are likely to be especially vulnerable;
- for that reason, our static caravan insurance policies here at Cover4Caravans reflect the postcode of the park on which it is pitched, so that discounts may be made if yours is in a flood-free area;
- you might check on the vulnerability of your particular caravan park by searching the Environment Agency’s map of threats of flooding from rivers and the sea;
Public liability insurance
- we have already mentioned the general need for public liability insurance as the owner of a static caravan and the owners and managers of the park or resort accommodating your caravan are almost certain to have asked for proof that you have suitable cover;
- this element of cover is designed to ensure that fair and adequate compensation is received by visitors to the park, your neighbours there, or other members of the public who have suffered an injury or had their property damaged through some negligence on your part as the owner of the static caravan;
- public liability claims such as this may assume very significant proportions and it is usual, therefore, for cover to be provided against claims of at least £1 million – and sometimes as much as £2 million;
Out of season precautions
- many parks for static caravans close down for at least part of the winter season – and this might be a time when yours is especially vulnerable to break-ins, theft or damaged caused by electrical or gas faults or the escape of water;
- when arranging your static caravan insurance cover, therefore, you might want to establish what additional security measures your insurer demands during this closed season – and whether, for example, your premiums are discounted at all if the site has taken particular security measures, such as CCTV or manned patrols of the site;
- you may also be expected to take certain common sense precautions when leaving your caravan empty and unoccupied for any length of time – including the disconnection of all electrical and gas services and draining down the water from heating, kitchen and bathroom systems.
Cheap static caravan insurance
You compare static caravan insurance, but at the end of the day decide that you are really after cheap static caravan insurance – is that the way to go?
Whenever you are thinking about ways in which you might save money on insurance, it is important to consider just what type and level of insurance you need (what you expect the insurance to protect), the extent to which any given policy meets those requirements, and the value for money which is offered through the insurance providing that protection at the quoted rate.
The principle remains just as true when arranging static caravan insurance, so that insurance which does the job you want it to do, the product you choose and the value for money that it represents are all likely to be more important considerations than price alone.
From this starting position, however, it is still possible to secure good value from the cover you need and yet also save money on what you are paying for your static caravan insurance:
- just as with many other forms of insurance, cover for your static caravan is likely to be influenced by the use to which it is put;
- one of the opportunities taken up by many owners of such holiday homes, for example, is to let it out to paying guests when you are not using it yourself;
- since insurers may consider the risk of loss or damage to increase when your holiday home is temporarily let to tenants, your insurance premiums may rise accordingly;
- by the same token, you are likely to save on the cost of the cover you arrange if you have no intention of letting it;
- one of the most certain ways of saving money on your static caravan insurance is to ensure that you take full advantage of any discounts offered by the insurance provider.
In short, it is possible to achieve the twin objectives of securing the insurance you need for your static caravan whilst also enjoying great value for money – and still save money on the cost of your cover.
Always ask questions!
If you’re someone who’s not fully comfortable with insurance principles, someone who is experienced with caravan insurance will usually be only too happy to talk you through the basics you need to think about – and the many years’ of experience and expertise we have built up here at Cover4Caravans puts us in just the position to answer your questions.
So, always ask us the questions – and our pledge is to find you the static caravan insurance appropriate to your own needs and circumstances, at a competitive price.