Beyond the Economics: The Appeal of the Open Road

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There have been various reasons proposed by the press and other social commentators in recent years for the resurgence in the popularity of the campervan and caravan. Some see it simply as a movement away from flying abroad for a holiday – prompted by the microeconomics of recession, or the ordeal that the airport has become thanks to the strictures of heightened security – but this does not really explain the increase of used caravan sales in the UK that has been reported by the market specialists. While the National Caravan Council reports that there are some 510,000 touring caravans and 305,000 caravan holiday homes currently in use in the UK – providing the necessary stock for a healthy used caravan sales market – the minimum spend for even the most basic of towed caravans, in any kind of usable condition, is over £1000; on the face of it, not quite a bargain basement option.
Quite simply, more people are waking up to the freedom that caravans, campervans and motorhomes can offer for anyone looking for a flexible break. Campervans in particular present the opportunity to literally go anywhere with a road network, not requiring the same space to park up for the night as their more unwieldy cousin, the caravan. While the Winnebago style motorhome can be restricted by the spacial limitations of the B, C, (and D) road network in the UK, the average campervan can go anywhere that a delivery van can.
Indeed, the modern VW based campervan has become hot property for those that want a multipurpose vehicle that can handle a trip to the supermarket just as ably as providing a mobile form of accommodation when touring. It is possible to pick up a T5 Transporter fitted with a basic conversion kit for less than £40,000, but perhaps this is straying off the point.










The ever popular VW campervan.
Beyond the economics, the campervan (which can be affordable, but is hardly an option for those looking to economise on leisure spending) offers the most direct route to the freedom of the open road. Taking a touring holiday has as much to do with the modern romance with mechanized transport – so poetically described by Jack Keroauc in ‘On the Road’ – as it does with hard figures and economics.
As well as the romance, there are also some thoroughly practical advantages to being able to change the location of your holiday in a matter of hours. In the UK, being able to chase the good weather can be the only way to see some sunshine during the fickle British summer. As well as the weather, certain locations might not live up to their billing on arrival. Having the power to simply move on to another spot with better facilities/ less annoying residents is a unique string to the bow of any campervan getaway for anyone who has ever been stuck with some temporary neighbours from hell during a two week package holiday on the Costa del Borrachos…


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