Most travellers are enchanted by the idea of living a nomadic, gypsy lifestyle. The idea of selling up, quitting your job and other commitments and travelling wherever your mood takes you is undoubtedly a tempting one.
While filling a backpack and jetting off to Southeast Asia is certainly an option, there are other ways of living the traveller lifestyle closer to home. Caravanning is currently making a comeback – it’s no longer just the domain of retirees and Sunday drivers.
Stop in at any music festival or ‘new age’ gathering and it won’t be long before you see a caravan. The idea of living a nomadic lifestyle and travelling by caravan was popular with young people in the 1960s and it’s now seeing a revival with Generation Y (people in their 20s and 30s) who are enjoying the pleasures of simple, retro-style travel that doesn’t require a long haul flight.
If you’re interested in the idea of starting a caravan journey in the UK but you don’t know where to begin, the Caravan Club website is a great place to start. There are plenty of tips for where to go, choosing a caravan and safety advice and training courses.
Caravan touring ideas in the UK
There are thousands of caravan sites all over the UK, so wherever you’d like to travel, it’s pretty guaranteed that there’ll be somewhere you can settle down for the night close by.
The great thing about caravanning is that you essentially bring your home with you so there’s no need to worry about trying to pitch a tent in the pouring rain or pay for expensive hotel rooms. You can travel for as long or short a time as you wish and either stay in the UK or cross the channel into Europe and beyond – the possibilities really are limitless!
Caravan sites in the UK range from simple places to park up to sites with facilities including showers and toilets, fresh water, tv connections and drainage. Some sites also have holiday cottages within the grounds, which is great if you want to enjoy a holiday with friends who don’t have a caravan.
Staying somewhere surrounded by picturesque scenery or a popular tourist attraction is an obvious choice and so there are usually lots of options for caravan sites in these areas. Whether you prefer staying by the coast, near a big city or in more rural areas, you can plan your route to include caravan sites that suit you.
Choosing a caravan
The caravan you choose to tour with is an important part of the experience and if you’re thinking of buying a caravan, it’s wise to take time to do proper research and not rush your decision.
You’ll need to make sure that your car is capable of towing the caravan you buy, so make sure they’re compatible before you go any further in the buying process.
Apart from compatibility, you’ll also need to consider how much space you need (singles can get by in a much smaller caravan than a family of four). It’s best to aim for the smallest and lightest caravan that will suit your needs – remember you can always attach an awning to provide extra space when you pitch.
If you’re new to caravanning, it will help to try touring in a friend’s caravan first, or book a holiday in a permanent caravan site. This will help you to get an idea for things like kitchen layout and toilet and shower facilities.
A quick search on Pinterest demonstrates that gypsy style is definitely in at the moment. If you’re more interested in the romance of living a gypsy lifestyle, then you might want to kit out your caravan to provide a cosy and exotic retreat from your explorations
Gypsy style is all about mixing and matching when it comes to caravan décor. Think rich fabrics, lots of cushions, bright colours and an eclectic mix of bits and pieces. Vintage mismatched table wear looks great in a gypsy-style caravan and you can create a really romantic atmosphere by sitting outside in the evening wit cushions and tea light candles in jars.
You can buy gypsy-style caravans in the UK but you’ll probably be more comfortable in a modern caravan that’s just decorated in a gypsy style. If it all seems like too much effort, there are plenty of high street stores that have cottoned onto the trend for modern gypsy style and have plenty of fabrics and home wares ready for you to buy, without trawling vintage shops.