Image Credit: Love2Stay Touring Caravan Site, Shropshire
A touring caravan or motorhome gives you the freedom to get out and explore the UK whenever the fancy takes you. Many of us soon discover a caravan site or a part of the country that's special to us, and we go back time and time again. If there's a site we really love, then the next step might be to book a seasonal pitch.
You might have heard of seasonal caravan pitches but wondered exactly how they work and what the advantages are?
Let's take a quick look at seasonal pitches and why so many touring caravan owners love them.
Image credit: Fully Serviced Caravan Pitches at Love2Stay, Shropshire.
Seasonal touring pitches allow you to enjoy all the benefits of your caravan while cutting down on the amount of towing you have to do. They are pitches at a caravan site that are set aside for you to leave your caravan for months at a time. They give you a permanent spot on a site that you like, meaning you can drive to your caravan seasonal pitch with the minimum of hassle.
What are the pros and cons of a seasonal pitch?
There are a number of reasons why people love seasonal pitches.
• Less towing - Many people find towing a caravan difficult, but seasonal pitches reduce the amount of towing you have to do.
• Beat the Friday night rush - Towing a caravan through the Friday night traffic can be stressful.
• No setting up and packing away - You don't lose precious time sorting out the caravan when you arrive, and having to pack up early to get away on time at the end of your stay.
• A permanent holiday site - It's a cheaper way to have a permanent holiday site than purchasing a static caravan.
• Cheaper than a touring pitch - If you're a regular visitor to a site, it can work out cheaper than paying for a regular touring pitch.
• Leave your belongings on-site - You can leave clothes, non-perishable foods and other items on-site from week to week.
* Fully serviced caravan pitches - Many sites offer fully-serviced pitches, meaning you can set up waste and water on-site, giving you a greater level of convenience and comfort.
However, there are a few potential downsides.
* Lose the variety - For many people, the joy of owning a caravan is the opportunity to explore different places in the UK and beyond.
* Pitch location - Sometimes seasonal pitches aren't always in the best locations on a site.
* Empty caravans - You might find that the caravans next door to you are empty and shuttered up, losing some of the social aspects of being on-site.
Can you choose your own pitch?
It all depends on the caravan site. Some owners like to keep seasonal pitches in a particular corner of the site; others will mix them in with touring pitches. If the site is large and has a number of seasonal pitches, you're more likely to have greater choice. The size of your unit will also impact on the choice of pitch. Talk to your site owner to find out more information about their policy.
What are the typical seasonal touring pitch prices, and how often do you need to use your caravan for it to be worthwhile?
Prices for seasonal caravan pitches can differ widely from site to site. The more popular the area the site is located in, the more you will have to pay.
On average, fees of around £2,000 per annum should be expected. If site fees were around £20 a night, then you would need to use your seasonal pitch for 100 nights to recoup your fees.
However, it's also worth considering reduced costs associated with not having to tow your caravan as often, and the other benefits such as reduced time in setting up and packing away.
Can I have my caravan serviced on-site?
While some caravan dealerships like you to take your caravan back to them for a full-service, there are a number of providers who offer mobile caravan servicing at a reasonable cost. Many owners who use seasonal pitches take their caravans in for a service at the end of each season.
How does it impact on my insurance?
Your premium will usually remain the same. The only proviso is the insurance company needs to know where your caravan is being kept. You will usually be charged a small fee (£15) to change your records accordingly.
How do I keep my caravan secure on-site?
You should treat your seasonal pitch security the same as you would if your caravan was parked at home. Make sure the hitch-lock and wheel locks are all securely in place. To make sure your insurance isn't invalidated, double-check your alarm is on when you leave the caravan empty.
What do you do with your battery, gas and electric hook-up while your caravan is empty?
When you're not on-site, disconnect the electricity, usually by unplugging it from the electrical box and then leaving it safely under the caravan in a plastic bag.
Turn off the gas. If you're visiting your caravan regularly, it's fine to leave your battery connected, but turn off all the switches on your control panel.
What should I do with my onboard water tank when I'm not there?
It's always advisable to drain your onboard water tank during the months when frost is likely. Remember, if a site is in a rural location, frost risk is higher and can go on longer than it does in a built-up area.
You can find the average first/last frost dates for different regions online. Emptying the toilet flush tank is also important for the same reason.
Is it OK for other people to visit your caravan when you're not there?
There usually isn't a problem with family and friends using the caravan when you're not present, but site policies will differ. It's also important to let the site-owner know who will be staying and when.
Can I let my caravan when it's on a seasonal pitch?
As a rule, this is rarely allowed. Check with your site-owner to find out what their policy is.
Can I combine a seasonal pitch with storage?
Many sites offer seasonal touring pitches with caravan storage allowing you to store your caravan during the winter as well as being able to take advantage of a seasonal pitch.
Some may require you to move your caravan to the storage pitch during the winter months, while others may let you keep it in situ.
Alternatively, many sites are open all year round for you to visit your caravan, so there's no need to store it away in the winter if you plan to visit during this time.
A great alternative
If you love spending time in your caravan but aren't too bothered about towing, then a seasonal touring pitch might well be the answer. As there's less hassle involved, people with seasonal pitches often spend more time in their caravans than those who only use touring pitches.