Dan Cartwright has over 12 years of experience in the caravan and motorhome industry. He is a judge for a number of prestigious leisure vehicle awards and regularly heads off in his motorhome with his family. Every week, Dan shares his insights with the community. Here’s what he has to say this week.
As the evenings draw in, the weather gets worse and the supermarkets are (already) stocking overpriced party food, I’ve launched my annual quest to find the most leisure vehicle-related Christmas tree decorations… of which I have a lot.
Winter is fast approaching. A lot of publications in our industry are talking about how to winterise your leisure vehicle or get it ready for storage. In my opinion, the best way to prepare your caravan, motorhome or campervan for the winter is to keep using it.
So, if you can, try and utilise your vehicle instead of sticking it in the garage. At the end of the day, the cost of living crisis has made it so that heating a motorhome for a weekend would be cost-effective compared to doing the same to your house!
All jokes aside, there are plenty of cool things you can do in the winter that are actually easier than in the summer. Hopefully, this will give you a little inspiration when it comes to using your leisure vehicle throughout the colder months.
In the summer, this is almost impossible. If you work, everybody wants time off while the weather is good, so snatching even a day can be difficult. Also, site availability is a tricky problem which has been made even harder by the increase in leisure vehicle ownership in the UK over the last five years.
In the winter, you can be much more spontaneous. Head off on that long weekend, as your workplace will likely be fine with shorter notice, as not many of your colleagues will be booking time off, apart from the obvious Christmas period.
Try before you buy
All industry statistics indicate that leisure vehicle users enjoy more holidays than people who head to traditional hotels or resorts. Normally, we go on a couple of big trips each year and we love trying new places.
So, before committing to these longer journeys, why not utilise your van over the winter to go and test out some of the sites and areas you’ve got on your list of potential destinations? You’ll get to grips with the location and be able to figure out if you want to return on a sunny vacation.
Visit friends and family
I know lots of readers do this already, but if not, visiting friends and family in your leisure vehicle is a great way to ensure your own space to get away. Most times, they will have driveways and be happy to accommodate your caravan or motorhome, as it saves them having to make up the spare room or even move the kids out of theirs!
Return to your favourite summer spots
Ok, the weather will certainly be much worse, but you won’t get the crowds! Genuinely though, being able to walk into restaurants and attractions to gain a new perspective on those places is a fascinating experience. It’s interesting to see places you loved on a summer holiday, in a more natural, less touristic environment.
Create a new type of holiday for yourself
Rather than trying to recreate that summer leisure vehicle experience – doors open, spending entire afternoons on the campsite – think of a winter trip as a different type of break. Embrace eating in restaurants as opposed to barbecuing, getting cosy with movies and nights together in your van.
Look at the activities you enjoy, but don’t get to do on a summer holiday – going to the cinema, doing your Christmas shopping, indoor sports and so on. Transfer these to your winter experience. You’ll create fantastic memories and a brand new type of holiday that you can look forward to next year.
We’ll follow up soon for advice on travelling in the winter, but of course, be fully aware of road conditions and take note of weather forecasts before driving, particularly in high winds, ice and snow. But don’t let this deter you from finding a new way to love your leisure vehicle holidays!
Photo credit: Thirdman / Pexels