Christmas is all about family, fun and free time; and while staying at home can appeal to some, the opportunity to discover somewhere new over the festive period can be one worth taking. After all – we spend enough time at home as it is!
While you are likely to be a fan of caravan holidays in the summer months, don’t discount the idea of a Christmas caravan break. It can tick all the boxes when it comes to offering a holiday with a difference, without sacrificing many of the festive traditions which we know and love. There’s also the opportunity to welcome the New Year in a fresh and exciting environment.
Caravan holidays are set for a million journey increase by the year 2030, according to the Caravan and Motorhome Club. And with additional research suggesting Brits are favouring ‘staycations’ following the weakening of the pound in the post-Brexit era, it is only a matter of time before more caravanners switch on to the benefits of a Christmas away – but before they do, discover the delights of this badly kept secret!
In this guide we examine the reasons why a caravan break over Christmas makes so much sense, reel off our check list of Christmas caravan essentials, take a look at some advice for towing in the snow, and get the official word on caravanning at Christmas. Enjoy!
Why take Christmas or New Year caravan break
Why tie yourself down to the same dinner table, the same local pub and the same surroundings over Christmas? With a Christmas caravan break, you have the freedom of idyllic settings all over the UK, such as (please excuse the shameless plug) our Love2Stay touring caravan site retreat, straddling the Welsh border in Shropshire. Spend less time in front of the box, and more time doing what you love the most; absorbing breath taking scenery and exploring local villages.
- Take your mod-cons with you
As you know, today’s caravan parks offer super-fast broadband, excellent TV reception and heated bathroom facilities including a set up for every day needs such as hair styling and baby changing. At Christmas, it means you miss out on none of the gossip from back home, can enjoy the old favourites on TV, and have all the facilities you need to prepare for the day ahead, or a night out.
- Time and space
Typically, touring pitches are a little less busy at Christmas than in the peak summer period, so if your idea of a relaxing festive period is putting your feet up and recharging, there might be no better time. You may have heard caravanners often comment on the jovial, community spirit throughout parks over Christmas, so there are also likely to be plenty of opportunities for socialising when it takes your fancy.
One of the downsides of the Christmas school holidays can be the amount of time which children can spend cooped up indoors. On a Christmas caravan break, you’ll take advantage of the outdoor play zones which of course, are likely to be a lot bigger than the back garden. And should we be blessed with a White Christmas, there is no end of fun in store outdoors in the snow!
- Budget-friendly rates
You can expect to bag a cheaper deal around Christmas, with lower pitching rates typically being offered in comparison to high season. Don’t leave your caravan languishing in a caravan storage facility – make the most of it by taking these opportunities to enjoy scenery and sites around the UK, at prices which mean you will have plenty left over to spend on a proper Christmas - with all the trimmings.
Christmas caravan checklist
If you are going to make your Christmas caravan break one to remember, preparation will be key. While you might be used to packing picnic baskets and frisbees for your caravan trips, winter planning demands another set of considerations. Here is our quick list of reminders and tips which can make your festive staycation a smooth operation:
- Do your present wrapping early – Christmas caravan breaks are your passport to an unrushed festive period with no rushing around, so set off with your presents fully wrapped and ready to go, leaving you to relax until the 25th arrives.
- Bring your warmest clothes – it might seem like a no brainer, but December can include some sunny days which are deceptively mild. You won’t admonish yourself for bringing an extra ‘hoodie’ which you don’t use, but you are likely to be annoyed should you forget warm garments you end up needing.
- Take extra blankets – the British weather is unpredictable at the best of times, so despite the enhanced insulation and equipment in the modern day caravan, ensure you are prepared should the temperatures unexpectedly plummet.
- Don’t forget your pet – many of the UK’s leading campsites are entirely pet friendly, and that goes for dogs. So you won’t have to leave your pooch to be looked after by a neighbour or friend over Christmas. Take them along for the ride, and some excellent walks.
- No slaving in the kitchen – while Christmas Day can often mean marathon cooking sessions when at home, it doesn’t need to be like that on a caravan break. Take advantage of the range of eateries which offer Christmas feasts, and leave your pinny hung up this year.
- Christmas on the barby? – if you insist on taking control of proceedings where Christmas dinner is concerned, you might wish to cook your turkey, chicken or goose on the barbecue, in the tradition of many in Australia and the US. You will save hob space, and might enjoy the flame grilled flavour as a nice alternative to oven cooked roasts. Just make sure you have enough gas to do the job.
- Make some mulled wine – opening the door of your caravan to take in some fresh December air, or relaxing outside, can be a treat in the countryside, but it can get a little nippy. So wrap up warm and treat yourself to some hot muld wine – there is surely no better winter beverage.
- Bring a tree! – many of the UK’s campsites will have their own Christmas tree proudly displayed over the festive period, but don’t let that stop you bringing your own mini version to ensure you don’t miss out on one of Christmas’s great traditions. In fact, caravanning at Christmas is a great excuse to pack a bag full of decorations to take on the road. You will find fellow caravanners display their own decorations, which add to the celebrative atmosphere during Christmas and New Year caravan breaks.
Tow with care: Travel advice for winter conditions
For all its perks, caravanning at Christmas does involve some specific precautions, not least on the winter roads. Control of a car can be lost when driving on ice, and towing a caravan gives even more reason to stay vigilant.
For a start, check that you have optimum tyre pressure before you set off – this can mean adjusting the pressure level to that which is specified within instructions provided by your manufacturer. With a view to avoiding interference with your car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS), you might wish to review your caravan brakes when it comes to driving on heavily iced roads, so that they react less powerfully.
In terms of luggage, aim for an even spread throughout the caravan, and remember to store big or heavy Christmas presents securely, preferably in the middle area of the vehicle. As a caravan owner, you are likely to recognise the importance of driving at a steady, consistent pace, preferably in a low gear. This is all the more pertinent in icy conditions, and any sudden braking should be considered a no-no.
The RAC has some further advice on towing a caravan here, while you can read up on caravan licence requirements on the government’s dedicated web page here.
NCC says go!
Finally, let’s get the official word on Christmas caravanning from the National Caravan Council. Their representative Louise Wood spoke to Love2Stay, and had the following words:
“Leisure vehicle holidays offer the freedom to go where you want, whenever you want. Many parks now have 10 or even 12-month licences, increasing the choice of places to stay across the UK. You can choose from parks with full-on entertainment and on-site eateries, or quiet scenic hideaways for your Yuletide break.
“In addition, manufacturers employ the latest technology to improve insulation and heating systems in touring caravans and motorhomes. Modern models have frequently been tested in cold chambers and really can be extremely comfortable year-round.
“So pack up your presents and deck the halls – well, living areas – ready to enjoy a bit of Christmas caravanning.”
Ready to arrange your Christmas caravan break? It’s time to get booking! Go to Love2Stay now to check our latest pitch availability.