Should I buy a static caravan? This is a question we asked ourselves many times before taking the plunge!
Is it a static caravan? Or is owning a luxury villa the cheapest and easiest way? I choose the latter. But yes, it’s still a caravan.
If you follow me on social media, you’ll already know that Sam and I recently purchased a fixed caravan in the gorgeous seaside town of Abersock on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales.
Purchasing a static caravan was a big decision for us.
Fixed caravans are expensive and, from a purely economic point of view, are not suitable for investment of funds, as their value rapidly deteriorates.
But as a family who couldn’t afford a brick and mortar holiday home, a static caravan was the best option.
Since we shared the news about buying a static caravan, we’ve had a lot of questions about buying a static caravan, how to do it, why to do it, etc., so we thought we’d answer them all here. If you have any other questions about purchasing a static caravan, please leave them in the comments below or send us an email. I’ll do my best to answer.
^ I gave up on taking pictures to prevent the children and dogs from doing strange things!
What’s it like to own a static caravan?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a vacation every weekend?
I want to go somewhere beautiful, somewhere sunny all the time, but still only two hours from home. If you can drive somewhere, you don’t have to worry about the extra time and expense of flying (you can even bring your dog!)
When you arrive, all your luggage will be there!
We have all your clothes and favorite things ready and waiting for you.
Your favorite wine is already chilling in the fridge, the book you started reading last weekend is there, all your children’s toys are there, your bed has your favorite blanket, your best pajamas and bedtime stories is waiting. Even the dog has a little bed next to the fire with a ball and bones inside waiting for him.
You know all your neighbors and they will greet you with a friendly wave and smile. They ask how your week was and you all agree it’s nice to be back on vacation.
Get into holiday mode in no time with no stress, hassle, or worry. You don’t need a day to settle down and find your feet. You’ll be on vacation from the moment you arrive.
This is exactly what Abersoch’s static caravan looks like.
And this is what finally convinced us to take the plunge and buy it!
Now, I admit for the first time that I was a caravan skeptic. I didn’t understand everything.
Why pay so much for one? (I will explain how much that amount is later!)
Why did you decide to stay in what is essentially a fancy cabin? And why keep vacationing in the same place when there’s so much of the world to explore?
The simple answer for me is this: children.
Static caravans are a great way to holiday with kids and I definitely wouldn’t have bought one if I didn’t have kids.
Sam grew up in a static caravan and spent most weekends with his family near the beach. It seems like a very dreamy, idyllic childhood. His summer was a much longer vacation.
there are a lot of children at our caravan site and they all look really happy. Everyone is sporty and healthy and tanned because they are always outside. They’re not sitting indoors hunched over an iPad. They’re on the beach, swimming in the ocean, chasing dogs, surfing, and getting into mischief like kids!
This is what I want my kids to do!
We leave all our stress at home and spend the weekend doing holiday things. We go to the beach, we go for walks, we go on picnics, we go out to dinner, we go shopping, we go to the pub (we have a great play park so it’s not just for us!), Barbecuing and cooking with friends, cuddling on the couch with the boys, and having movie nights. But mostly, we’re just spending time as a family in ways that aren’t at home.
Honestly, I really don’t understand why I can’t be this simple and relaxed at home. You can do all of these things at home (minus the beach part because your local beach is terrible), but it’s not the same!
^ View from the bedroom window
Buying a static caravan: Should I buy a static caravan?
For us, it was the cheapest and easiest way to get the closest thing to a vacation home within our budget.
That’s basically it.
We have considered the idea of buying an actual villa, but certainly it is a much better investment. But there were several reasons why we didn’t go down that path.
- We can’t afford it – that’s a big deal!
- Homes require a lot of maintenance and we end up doing all the home chores we try to get away with every weekend.
- You can rent one, but you really want to spend most of your summer in it, or just spontaneously think, “It’s sunny this weekend, so let’s go to the beach!” You can’t do that if you’re renting all summer long.
Buying a static caravan: Should I buy a static caravan or a touring caravan?
It depends on whether you want to stay in one place or go around. We started with the tourer and drove it around, especially with two small children (our son was his 1 year old and he was 3 when we got it)), I soon found out that this was actually quite a bit of hard work).
We envisioned driving somewhere pretty, finding a campsite, parking the caravan, and ready to go, our house ready and waiting. However, the reality was not at all like that.
First, campgrounds fill up quickly, so you’ll need to plan your reservations far in advance. Yeah, no spontaneous weekend getaways here, unless you don’t mind staying somewhere a little shitty.
Second, it took hours to set up. You’ll need to level your caravan, install awnings, connect water, gas and electricity, and entertain your baby and toddler at the same time. It wouldn’t take long for two adults in a small van, but it was a big van and we had to entertain two small children as well.
If I left after work on Friday, I wouldn’t be able to settle down until 9pm. By this time she had two exhausted children and everyone was stressed and grumpy.
So the next year we decided to keep the caravan in one place all summer. We were located in Abersock and loved it. We loved the ease and simplicity of having everything ready and waiting, and absolutely loved Abelsock.
But the novelty of being crammed into a caravan wore off. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it was once a month, but we were going almost every weekend. We didn’t have enough space so we ended up keeping each other up at night and feeling tired and noisy the next day. This didn’t feel like a holiday.
The more I fell in love with Abersock, the more I wanted to be here next year and the year after, and I started looking at fixed caravans rather than tourers. It seemed silly to have a tourer that I had never toured with, but I realized that for an extra £10,000 I could get one five times the size.
We were looking at used static electricity for sale at Abersock. There really weren’t many, so when I found one within my budget, I was excited to go see it and buy it right away.
Simply put, touring caravans are a lot like luxury glamping. A static caravan is a lot like a crappy holiday home.
^How I spend most of my weekends
Friends + Beach + Beer = Happiness
How much does a static caravan cost?
Prices may vary significantly.
New static caravans cost between around £30,000 and £250,000.
Our new caravan is located close to a place called The Warren, where fixed prices for caravans start from £219,000.
Of course, what you’re actually paying for isn’t just the price of your caravan, you’re also paying for all the facilities you have access to, including a spectacular spa and pool, beautiful grounds and beaches.
How much does a second hand static caravan cost?
Anyway, we bought it second hand for £25,000 and it’s 9 years old. When it came to choosing an actual caravan, there weren’t many options within our price range, so we ended up choosing the Pemberton Serena. This was lovely and worked!
Additional costs involved when buying a static caravan
Once you have purchased a fixed caravan, you will need to pay a site fee to store it somewhere. Our site fees are just over £3,000 per year, but again, site fees vary widely depending on the facilities available and the location of your site.
Our caravan site is in a great location but has no facilities other than a laundry room, play park, dog field and boat storage. Sites that offer pools, spas, cafes, restaurants, playgrounds, tennis courts etc can be quite expensive (around £6,000 to £12,000 per year).
Most caravan sites close during the winter to avoid paying extra taxes. Our stores are open from March to October, but some of our more expensive stores are open longer.
At the end of the year, you will also have to pay your insurance premium, gas bill, electricity bill, and water bill.
How long can you keep a static caravan?
One thing to keep in mind when purchasing a stationary caravan is that you won’t be able to keep it forever. After all, it’s just a luxury cabin, so it obviously won’t last forever, but some sites require an upgrade every 10 years. Our site needs an upgrade after 15 years. However, we’re told it could last even longer if the van is kept in good condition (and if you like it on the site, we think that’ll make a big difference too!)
That’s why it’s not cheap!
Technically, you have six years left before you need to upgrade, so you’re basically spending just over £4,000 a year on the van and £3,000 in site fees. Van and site fees cost £7,000 a year.
That translates into bills of around £8,000 a year.
You can only use it for 8 months of the year, so that’s £1,000 per month!
Wow, this is the first time I’ve tried something like this!
Is a static caravan worth the cost?
Essentially, the answer to the big age-old question is: should you buy a static caravan?
It’s expensive, but I think it’s still worth it. We currently spend most of our time in our caravan and many of the families on our site spend all of their school holidays in their caravan and every other weekend during term time.
Apparently, the average UK family of four spends £4,792 on a two-week holiday (source here), so it’s actually like having only two family holidays a year. Most children will be out of school for 13 weeks, but spending 8-10 weeks of that in a caravan will be much cheaper. Can you see me trying to justify it to myself here?
Other initial costs when buying a static caravan
Another initial cost to be aware of is the cost of setting up a fixed caravan.
Fixed caravans come with all the furniture, as well as small decorative items such as matching cushions and wall paintings.
You’ll need everything, including bedding and towels, a TV, and kitchen appliances such as a kettle and toaster (most rooms have a suitable oven, hob, dishwasher, microwave, large fridge-freezer, and some even have laundry facilities). (It comes with a machine).
If you want a deck and BBQ area, most people also have a garden shed to store all the items that accumulate at the beach!
If you want to prepare a static caravan, you will need to purchase:
- A second hair dryer?
- main tv
- bedroom tv
- Cups, classes, plates, bowls, etc
- knife and fork
- kitchen utensils
- cutting board
- pots and pots
- Arrangement of tableware
- Outdoor storage box or shed?
- outdoor furniture
In our case, most of these things were at home or could be obtained from family members. My parents had a lot of old dishes, but Sam’s parents downsized and gave us a lot of glasses, mugs, pots, and pans.
Our main expense was outdoor furniture.
Where would you buy a static caravan?
This will be personal for everyone, but here’s how we decided on Abersoch:
- It’s a 2 hour drive from my house
- We already have friends there and know some people who caravan in the area
- That’s beautiful
- It has its own small microclimate and often has better weather than other parts of Wales
- Lots of bars and restaurants
- there’s a lot to do
Here are some criteria to look for when looking for a campsite:
- close to the beach
- close to town
- affordable price
- Rentals are not allowed – we didn’t want a place where a neighbor would rent out a fixed caravan for a holiday as you could be living next door to someone
Abersock and the sites we visit check all the boxes. In my mind I might have wanted somewhere with more amenities, such as a swimming pool or a private beach, but that would have been way out of our price range and Abersock Beach is… It’s just amazing!
If you’re interested, we’ve written about Abersock and its surrounding beaches in this article: 12 Abersock Beaches to Visit
Do you have any other questions about purchasing a static caravan? If so, please leave them in the comments below!
Read more: Owning a static caravan: Pros and cons