Let’s get right to it, can I live in a caravan?
Yes you certainly can live in a caravan. A static caravan is probably easier to live in, but it’s equally possible in a touring caravan, or even the popular trend of van-life (aka motorhomes) if my YouTube suggestions are anything to go by!
Before deciding to move to a caravan, you might be wondering what it actually is. You may have heard of the low rent or the various opportunities that arise from residing in a caravan, but you don’t know for yourself what to expect.
This is the right place for you to have all your questions answered.
The definition of “caravan” as per the Merriam-Webster dictionary: a covered wagon or motor vehicle equipped as traveling living quarters. They are a type of recreational vehicle (RV).
After a brief search on Wikipedia, it turns out:
A caravan goes by many names. Such as: travel trailer, camper, tourer, camper trailer, motorhome, all depending on where you reside.
People who wish to travel for a long time may find caravans more suitable than having to work with motels and hotels. In some countries, campers are restricted to specific sites for which they would have to pay the fees.
Is There More Than One Type Of Caravan?
Yes. With the high demand of many types of caravans, the options can quite honestly get overwhelming. With the right research and marketing, however, you are sure to find one suited for your needs.
There are caravans that could be as simple as a tent on wheels or contain many rooms with all the furnishings and equipment you would find at home. Travel trailers are used mainly in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
There are two main types of caravans: static, and touring, both with further sub-classifications.
As the name suggest, static caravans have to be permanently anchored into a place (ours has been on it’s current plot for several years, before we even bought it a few years back), whereas mobile or touring caravans are able move around quite frequently pretty much as or when you fancy it.
Let us begin to understand static caravans.
What Is A Static Caravan?
Static = stationary.
These caravans are most likely to be positioned in a private property or holiday/residential park and by residing in that property, you are liable to pay the rent for that plot of land being used by your park home.
Main point to be mentioned first off; ONLY residential caravan parks can host a permanent residency. All caravan sites are not accessible to static caravans. The location of your caravan is key. In other countries, residential parks may be referred to as trailer parks.
The aforementioned residential parks themselves are situated on private property with the local authority’s permission and feature a type of static caravan known as a park home.
What Are Park Homes?
Park homes are homes that are constructed offsite but are moved to a residential park. They have parts that are actually moveable, compared to the traditional brick and mortar home that is non-moveable.
They are rarely moved, and they look like any average bungalow-style house from the outside but are much smaller on the inside.
They offer many creature comforts of a traditional house, but not all. They can be quite cold to live in the winters due to lack of insulation, although this can be tackled and most modern statics now feature double glazing and central heating. It’s becoming increasingly common for them to have familiar bricks and mortar utilities such as phone lines and postal services too.
Things To Look Out For
As with any residential community, there are rules and regulations in place by the property owner, as well as the government bodies. One such and common rule is that you are eligible to apply for a residential park permit if you are 55 years of age or over.
Be sure to reach out to the respective authority or park owner and get to know everything in person before making your big decision.
The location, services, and amenities provided to you in any given residential park and a park home can vary by and far. The opportunities for activities and connections should be considered as well.
The cost is of utmost importance, park homes also include utilities, council tax, but are lower in price when compared to conventional homes.
You also would have to pay the rent of the land your park home is set upon. This is called a pitch fee and it can be paid in weekly (in some places) or monthly instalments.
As with any real estate, the rent boils down to the location, furnishings, equipment, opportunities, amenities, and the desirability provided in any individual park.
What Are Touring Caravans?
Moving on (quite literally), we have another popular type of caravan – the touring kind. And as the name gives it all away, a touring caravan moves from place to place and is usually towed behind a regular vehicle. A touring caravan is an individual trailer that has to be towed.
It is essentially a moveable home, in a manner of speaking, and can provide many with a safer, more comfortable alternative than conventional tents or houses.
Nevertheless, do not make the mistake of parking your touring caravan any place you deem fit. There are a lot of strict laws against exactly this kind of offense.
Also, do not make the mistake of thinking that you can live anywhere, for any amount of time.
According to Forbes, a whopping 4000 caravan sites exist in the UK alone. However, any site that follows the rules will not let you camp for longer than 28 days in one go (21 in some cases). You are allowed to return after 48 hours, though. So, there is that.
Things To Look Out For
It is technically illegal to live solely in your caravan full time. You will need a residential address of some kind for a lot of legal documentation and processes such as your driving licence, car registration docs, etc.
The following are a few things to consider:
Insurance. Providing your friend or family members permanent address can get your car insurance invalidated.
Banking services are not usually provided to touring caravan residents. If you can provide a friend or family members address instead though it could be possible.
Health services. Again, registration may not be possible if you are not a resident of the area. Don’t assume there is guaranteed access to any doctors or healthcare services simply because you are temporarily in a particular area.
Voter’s registration. A permanent address is a strong prerequisite to be able to register to vote.
No payment for council tax as you won’t have a permanent address that the council could send the bill to.
Benefits. Ah, the last straw, one cannot obtain benefits if one does not reside in a permanent home.
If you do live in a park home, however, you can. Yay.
Yes, you can absolutely stay in a caravan and have fun at it.
Making an informed decision though could certainly save you some money and frustration in the long run.