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The 1930’s couple who took a motorhome trip to the Sahara and more caravan news …

The days are growing ever shorter and winter is setting in, so why not snuggle down with a cup of coffee and catch up on the latest caravan news here …

The 1930’s couple who took a motorhome trip to the Sahara

Do you think you travel far and wide in your adventures with your caravan? A series of charming photographs published by the Nottingham Post on the 23rd of October might knock your outings into a cocked hat.

They illustrate the expedition to the Sahara undertaken by a Mr and Mrs Fuller back in the 1930s – when the Great Depression kept many other couples rooted in the gloom of the UK.

In a Chevrolet Eccles motor caravan – the original motorhome – they travelled a staggering 2,300 miles from Dover to the Sahara.

In 1934, when the couple made the trip, Eccles motor caravans had only just started production at the factory in Birmingham. You needed to be quite well-off to afford one – many of the buyers were titled people – and orders were generally custom-built.

The Fullers’ adventure was before the many metalled roads that now mark most of that route, of course – although being from a somewhat wealthy class of caravanner, they took along their housemaid from England.

Councillors to discuss caravan park extension

Plans to extend a caravan site in Mearns, Aberdeen, have met with a mixed reception, according to the Mearns Leader on the 28th of October.

The local planning authority is considering proposals by Cloak Caravan Park near Catterline to extend the site by an additional 17 spaces for static caravans, each with parking for two cars, and connections to the mains water supply. The increase would see the number of caravan pitches increase by around 50%.

Representations about the planning application are equally divided for and against – with the latter complaining about increased traffic noise and dangers to pedestrians on local roads.

Police investigate claims over caravan bookings

A caravan holiday booking agent is currently under investigation by Police Scotland.

It is alleged that the person responsible accepted thousands of pounds in booking fees from hopeful holidaymakers in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, but failed to pass on the takings to Craig Tara, Aberdeenshire.

In a report on the 19th of October, the BBC reported that those who had made such bookings have been turning up at the site to find their caravans locked or already double-booked.

It is believed that more than 60 people have reported the unofficial booking agent to Police Scotland or the UK’s main centre for fraud and cybercrime, Action Fraud.

Plans for more static caravans at Colchester Holiday Park

In another story underlining the wide appeal of static caravan holidays, a caravan park in Essex is looking to substantially reduce the number of its touring caravan and camping pitches, substituting them for static caravans, according to reports in the Daily Gazette and Essex County Standard on the 29th of October.

Colchester Holiday Park currently has planning permission for 221 touring caravans and just 42 static caravans. The current application is to change this to a total of 85 static caravans and just 50 pitches for touring caravans and tents.

Opponents of the application bemoan the potential drift away from holiday and tourism use of the park towards residential purposes, although planning officials have noted the likely reduction in traffic noise and congestion in surrounding areas following any switch towards static caravans.

Energy-saving tips for caravanners

Though it’s probably for others to decide whether climate change has yet reached emergency proportions, most of us want to do our best to conserve energy – and find that we’re also saving money into the bargain.

Never people to be left behind when it comes to the latest trends and developments, caravanners too can play their part in saving energy while still indulging the comforts and outdoor leisure of their favourite pastime.

One of our earlier blogs has already discussed the essential eco-friendliness of caravans and caravanning – and to partner that discussion, here are a few more energy-saving tips:

Wind turbines

  • you’ve seen those giant blades slowly rotating on some hilltop wind farm or out of sea, but had you imagined that the very same principles can also power your caravan needs;
  • scaled-down versions of wind turbines are made by UK manufacturers Marlec and Leading Edge;
  • these “small” or “micro” wind turbines are eminently portable, can be set up in minutes, and yet are also designed to withstand the most blustery conditions;
  • hook it up to the battery charger onboard your caravan and you immediately make savings on the cost of fuel, save more on the campsite’s electric hook-up fees, and know that you are helping to keep your caravan’s battery in top condition;

Solar panels

  • also borrowing from commercial applications, scaled-down versions of the solar panels you might have on your roof at home offer an alternative source of power for charging your caravan’s onboard battery;
  • these portable solar panels specifically designed for caravans typically generate 60w, 80w or 120w, depending on their size;
  • whether you are topping up your battery through wind power or solar panels, though, you can save electricity consumption simply by using stick-on LED lights to illuminate night-time trips to the bathroom, within wardrobes or above the kitchen sink;

Gas consumption

  • those cylinders of liquid gas you always need to carry onboard your caravan have a lot of work to do – you might be using gas for space heating, hot water and even to power the fridge;
  • it’s probably over doing things, therefore, also to use a gas barbeque, so save some of your precious bottled gas by simply switching to a charcoal-fired barbeque – and discover that it’s probably more fun too;
  • as far as hot water is concerned, it’s worth keeping the onboard tank always topped up, rather than running water in from the outside supply – the heat already inside your caravan is going to help keep the water in the tank already a little bit warm, so the gas doesn’t need to heat a tank of cold water;

Save water with a power shower head

  • of course – in the winter months in particular – you’ll want to take advantage of the nice warm shower your caravan is likely to offer but might also worry about the cost of heating all that hot water;
  • if you install a power shower head – hand-held ones are available too – you increase the water pressure and, so, feel the need to use less of it;
  • some manufacturers claim that an ionic, power shower head may increase water pressure up to 200 times and reduce the volume of water needed for showering by 30%.

Energy-saving in your caravan – it saves you money while also helping you to play your part in helping to protect the environment.

What is it REALLY like to run a holiday park?

Have you ever been on a caravanning trip, and wondered what it is like to run a holiday park? Do you look at the idyllic surroundings and think: “I’d love to do this”?

Here we speak to Abbie Dudley, Assistant Manager of Office & Facilities at the beautiful Cakes & Ale Holiday Park on the Suffolk coast.  She tells us what it is really like running a site. Abbie says …

Running a holiday park is unlike any other job I’ve ever had. It is so many jobs, all rolled into one and tied up with a pretty bow!

Every day is different, and we are lucky enough to have so many returning customers, so it’s nice to have a chat and catch up when they visit.

Keeping up to date and our customers informed

My job has changed dramatically over the past 4 years, to keep up with the ever-evolving habits of UK staycationers.

These days, so much time is spent online – posting on our social media pages to keep our customers up to date and, putting together blog posts on topics of interest for our customers and those searching online for answers to industry-relevant queries.

We put a lot of effort into sharing helpful information – we are quite well educated in the camping and caravanning world, so we like to share what we can. It is a constant challenge to ensure that we keep up with the latest industry news and to relay the interesting points to our customers. 

We enjoy knowing all of our potential customers have received the best, impartial and factual information before deciding to purchase a Holiday Home. Well informed customers make for happy customers!

I take it as a compliment if people assume that working here is easy

People tend to think that it must be like being on holiday, or that we must get bored over the winter when the touring field closes. In all honesty, I take it as a compliment if people assume that working here is easy. If they only see enough to think it must be a breeze, then we have done our job well enough to hide all the work and effort it takes to keep this place ticking over!

Cakes and Ale is primarily a family-run business, and we are a relatively small team, but we are all very passionate about what we do. We aim to offer the perfect environment for our guests to relax and unwind in our haven of peace and tranquillity.

Just seeing that we have enabled memories to be made and dreams to come true, that is real job satisfaction and makes all of the behind the scenes work worthwhile.

Cakes and Ale (the name came from the books by William Somerset Maugham and are synonymous with the good life!) is a family and dog-friendly site with holiday homes and an adults-only tourer and camping area. To find out more, visit: https://www.cakesandale.co.uk/ or pop over to the site’s Facebook page here.

How to compare caravan insurance

At Cover4Caravans, we help you compare caravan insurance online enabling you to find the most cost-effective and appropriate insurance quote. So, if you’re carrying out a caravan or static home insurance comparison – whether using our service or not – what do you need to consider?

Price isn’t everything

Firstly, when getting an insurance quote, it’s important not to focus exclusively on the advertised price. Of course, it’s natural for this to catch your eye, but it can be misleading.

When you start comparing caravan insurance, the price may be far from the first thing to consider. The reasoning is simple – it doesn’t tell you what you’re getting for the money. A cheap caravan insurance policy may only offer limited cover, for example, when compared to slightly more expensive cover that provides elements of protection that you need.

That is why you should always compare insurance policies – to ensure you’re getting the cover you need at a realistic price.

Making a comparison

When getting a quote for tourer or static caravan insurance, the basics should include understanding:

  • what the insurance cover entails including what elements of protection come as standard and what don’t – this may vary among caravan insurance providers;
  • what optional extras are available;
  • the exclusions – certain items or circumstances that are excluded from the cover. Part of this will also be the qualifying conditions. These usually relate to restrictions on where your caravan can or cannot be parked when it’s not in use or when you store it. And, for static homes, what you need to do when it is unoccupied for an extended period (e.g. over the winter);
  • the insurance policy excess;
  • whether any discounts are available.

What does caravan insurance cover?

There are usually standard features provided in any caravan insurance policy. As these can vary widely from one insurance provider to another, it’s essential to compare insurance. Our policies at Cover4Caravans, for example, typically include:

  • protection against storm damage;
  • theft of the caravan;
  • third party liability;
  • contents insurance cover if required;
  • free Continental cover up to 240 days per annum for tourers;
  • plus, much more!

New for old replacement

When you compare insurance or get a quote for your caravan, check what the new for old replacement terms are. There is often a maximum age of the caravan qualifying for such replacement, and these vary among providers. In the event of loss, we will replace your tourer or static aged up to five years old, regardless of the number of previous owners. (Not all policies provide this).

Optional extras

While standard policy features provide the backbone of your insurance, you may have the option to tailor the coverage further to meet your needs and requirements.

These extras might include:

  • insurance cover for your awning;
  • the provision of alternative accommodation if your caravan is stolen, lost or damaged while you’re touring in it;
  • the ability to protect your no claims discount; etc.

Terms, conditions and exclusions

You may expect to find these in any policy. It’s advisable to read them carefully as part of your caravan insurance comparison.

Some of these exclusions and conditions may be more demanding than others and have a significant effect on whether you’re able to make a successful claim.

Please feel free to ‘phone us on 01702 606301 if you are unsure of any aspect of your insurance for caravan cover.

Discounts

Here at Cover4Caravans, we offer attractive discounts (up to 15%) on your caravan insurance premiums if you arrange secure storage at a site registered with the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA). There are around 500 locations nationwide and each is rated according to a scale of three different levels of security.

We also offer discounts for members of recognised caravan clubs and for security devices such as Phantom Tracker, too.

Valuation

Once you have found the most suitable caravan insurance policy for you, don’t forget to pay attention to the valuation of your ‘van.

An accurate and realistic assessment of your caravan is essential for establishing the total sum that needs insuring. This is the basis for comparing levels of compensation for loss or damage.

So, if you’ve recently upgraded your static home – e.g. you’ve put in a new kitchen – you may need to increase the sum insured on your static caravans insurance to reflect this.

How we can help

You can feel confident you are in good hands. We are a long-established business registered in England and Wales, and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

If you’re unsure of any aspect of any caravan policy, please ‘phone us on 01702 606301 – we’d be delighted to help.

Our objective isn’t necessarily to find you the cheapest caravans insurance available. Instead, it’s about outlining the options that are most cost-effective to suit your specific needs. We do this via our panel of specialist caravan insurance providers – leaving you free to cherry-pick the insurance that most meets your requirements.

It’s worth remembering that nobody is ever interested in the price they’ve paid for their policy in the event they need to make a claim. They want the peace of mind of knowing that what they are claiming for is covered.

We believe that considering insurance when you’re making a claim is too late. We’re here to help you compare and find an appropriate policy, to begin with.

At Cover4Caravans, we make that comparison more manageable for you by searching and comparing quotes on your behalf.

We look to reach a balanced set of conclusions.

As said above, this can be a complex task, and it’s certainly time-consuming. We hope these quick tips are useful. If you lack the required expertise and/or the time to do it thoroughly, then we can help. Please call us to discuss your options, or get free, no-obligation caravan insurance quotes online.

The Show, a “caravan hotel”, bid for year-round caravan park in County Durham, and more

Just when you thought the caravanning season was coming to a close and all further activity would lie dormant for a while, we bring you some of the latest tidbits of news that keeps us focused on the pastime’s ever-changing horizons.

Here is just a taster of some of the headlines to keep the winter blues at bay.

The Motorhome and Caravan Show

For anyone with even an inkling of interest in caravanning, this is probably “the Show” of the year.

As usual, the Motorhome and Caravan Show takes place at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) near Birmingham from the 15th to the 20th of October.

To give some idea of the sheer scale of this annual jamboree, the Show fills 10 of the NEC’s massive halls, with literally thousands of exhibitors – and, of course, the chance to get up close and personal with the new caravans and motorhomes that will be appearing in 2020.

Vacant bank in Hastings set to become country’s first ‘caravan hotel’

Do you ever find it strange when you have to swap your caravan for a hotel bedroom?

Now you can enjoy both experiences at once – overnight in a caravan that is pitched inside a hotel. It’s a concept that has given birth to the country’s first “caravan hotel”, which is planned to have seven caravans which guests can rent in the redeveloped HSBC bank in Hastings, according to a story in Kent Live on the 27th of September.

Each caravan has been refitted to provide a luxury double bedroom – although the galleys and cooking facilities have been removed to avoid fire risks – providing accommodation for guests in what is described as a boutique hotel.

Development plans have been submitted to Hastings Borough Council and borrow from a concept already in use at the Hüttenpalast Hotel in Berlin.

Planning permission sought for County Durham caravan park

Meanwhile, at the other end of the country in County Durham, planning permission is being sought for a more conventional expansion of services and facilities for caravanners, said the Northern Echo on the 25th of September.

The owners of the Holebeck Touring Park, in Wolsingham have resubmitted a planning application which now seeks permission for their 54 touring caravan pitches to be open all year-round, including the winter months.

An earlier application – also made with the intention of stabilising the financial peaks and troughs of their business – had sought to increase the number of touring pitches to 97. That application was turned down by the planning authorities who expressed concern about the potential impact on the landscape and added congestion on neighbouring roads.

Kind caravan site boss offers free holidays to those affected by Thomas Cook closure

The owner of Filey Bay Caravans on the North Yorkshire coast has been so affected by the plight of would-be holidaymakers losing out through the collapse of travel firm Thomas Cook that he is offering free holidays in static caravans on the site.

Reporting the generosity of Richard Brown, on the 25th of September the Scarborough News, explained that Filey Bay has 130 caravans onsite and that current bookings are few and far between during September and October. There are ample vacancies for short breaks for families affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook.

The plight of the disappointed holidaymakers is only too poignant for Richard Brown who had himself booked a family holiday with the company in the coming weeks.