1st Year of Ownership - What did we learn?
So, after a year of ownership, how do we feel and what did we learn?
Well, we certainly got a huge amount of use out of our caravan. Its proximity to our home meant we could use the caravan for short breaks as well as longer trips, and we certainly took advantage of this. Our highlights were, without a doubt, the Isle of Wight Festival and Cowes Week.
The attraction of the caravan is magnetic: when you're there you don't want to leave; and when you're at home or at work you are constantly thinking about making time to escape to the caravan.
For us, this easy access to a holiday home was amongst our main reason for purchasing the unit. The ability to spend more time with the family, away from the distractions of work and home, is simply priceless.
With no PS3 or WiFi to turn our heads, we found it easy to enjoy quality family time, even doing things we hadn't done in years, like play cards or Monopoly!
Knowing that, to go on holiday, you need only pack your clothes, is a great feeling and we would recommend caravan ownership to anyone!
From June to September, our caravan was in almost constant use. Whether it was due to visits from us, our friends or our family, the caravan was almost never left vacant. Everyone wants to be your friend when you own a static caravan on a nice park!
We found running costs to be perfectly viable, to get the most bang for your buck it is advisable to use your caravan as much as possible. As we use our caravan a lot, this was fine, and we did not decide to sublet.
If you're usage is likely to be somewhat lighter than this, subletting will allow you to recoup some of the annual cost. Like any other major purchase, the value you derive from the caravan directly correlates with the use you get out of it. Whether or not you decide to sublet, it's vital that you don't forget about the year-end site fees.
We saw the caravan as a saving. Compared to the prices that would have been incurred by renting, purchasing a caravan was a bargain.
All this should be taken into account when working out the final costs.
There may come a time when you decide to sell your caravan. When this time comes, be mindful that buying and then selling quickly will result in a major loss with no real benefit whatsoever. This is because depreciation levels are at their highest in the first few years of ownership.
Many detractors will cite this as a reason not to buy a caravan, but we found that most people who reported bad experiences as owners had approached the ownership process for all the wrong reasons.
Most of these people had simply never used their caravan, or had bought the unit as a money-making opportunity; a mistake that resulted in them getting their fingers burned.
If you approach owning a caravan as an investment in your lifestyle, and look at the long-term picture, you can't go wrong.
All owners that we spoke to who reported good experiences of caravan ownership used their unit most weekends, as well as for long holidays in the summer and in spring. This would not be possible if they did not own a caravan, as rental costs would be too great. When you own a caravan, the unit becomes the hub of your leisure time.
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is an excellent location for a holiday caravan, and we did not find the ferry fare to be prohibitive at all. With regular visits, we were able to build up a strong local knowledge of the island which is a true “Little England”. The charm of this captivating landmass cannot be underestimated and the Isle of Wight is, in our opinion, an unfairly overlooked UK holiday destination.
To take a look at our experiences on the island, peruse our online visitor’s blog. Here we detailed some of the visits our friends and family made to the caravan in our first year of ownership.
Thorness Bay Holiday Park
With easy access to the beach and to local attractions, we found Thorness Bay to be a great location on the island. The beach is pretty pebbly, but this was no problem and we very often found ourselves wandering down to the sea for a swim in the idyllic, secluded bay.
We also enjoyed regular cliff top walks over to Gurnard and Cowes. Our dog, Oscar enjoyed these walks too!
All facilities on the park were well maintained and had been recently refurbished. Cheap bar meals and excellent cooked breakfasts were available from the bar and restaurant area. Some visitors enjoyed the onsite entertainment and some light to moderate drinking in the evening, while others preferred cards and board games in the caravan. For those who wanted to head off-site, that was an option too!
Younger children enjoyed the beach, playing football on the nearby playing fields and – unfortunately for our wallets – the amusement arcades.