New to Carvans and have about a million questions!

Nov 8, 2018
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Ok...Maybe not a million questions but it's close...

This past year has been a bit rough to say the least. My business was hit hard by the exchange rate plummet in 2016 after the Brexit vote and unfortunately, despite my best efforts I was not able to recover from it and went bankrupt in February this year. On top of this my partner of 7 years left me and the one thing that kept me going and working hard was that I wanted to keep my home (a rented farm house). Unfortunately a week ago my landlady posted that letter through the door to say she would not be renewing my tenancy as she was selling the property. So I'm not in a situation where I can go and take out another 12 month tenancy agreement in a hurry, probably somewhere I'd hate and feel sorry for myself for another year...or...?

I could come up with a solution to my "problem". I keep telling myself I'm absolutely crazy but I am considering doing something I've wanted to do for a long time, and that is to build a "tiny house". Possible from a shipping container or maybe from scratch. I had never done this previously, despite having the money as I was very time poor. What I am considering doing is purchasing a caravan (something of a decent size even though it's just me) and living in it for the foreseeable. This would mean I am not paying someone else's mortgage and leave me with some disposable income (As I am on minimum wage). Using the disposable income I could build my home over the course of 2 - 3 years, possibly even living between the two as things progress. A caravan would also allow me to get used to living in a small space and steer my life towards a more "minimalist" approach.

The BIG question is. Am I crazy? Is living in a caravan all year round feasible? I go through different periods of thinking that it's a ridiculous idea and I'll be miserable and thinking it will be a great experience. I'd imagine the reality would be somewhere in between?

I really, really hate the idea of living hand to mouth just to live in a rubbish home in a rubbish area while being trapped paying rent etc. I feel that even if I am living in a caravan I will be taking control of my life somewhat and if I have a goal of building a separate home I will be able to tolerate it much more. Here are a few questions I have...

1. I have been kindly donated £4000 by a family member should I make this decision. Would that be enough to get me a decent caravan?
2. Is it possible to get a long term pitch? There is a CL about 2 minutes down the road form where I live now that looks suitable.
3. Are sites likely to do a "deal" for long term pitches?
4. What will the people generally be like who I meet? I tend to go to sleep about 11pm. Am I likely to have people making a lot of noise at that time? I'm keen to meet new people as and when they come but would also like a sound nights sleep haha.
5. I see a lot of CL sites prices around the £10 - £12 mark. Does this usually include EHU? If this was the price just to have a pitch and nothing else and they wouldn't budge for a long term pitch then it wouldn't really be financially viable.
6. Is there any good rescourses that I can find out how to use everything in a caravan? I have never even stepped foot in one so I have no clue. I was considering trying to find someone local to Sheffield who can give me a tour of their caravan and show me what's what.
7. Is it possible to have a weatherproof awning that can withstand wind and snow? Ideally I'd like a bit of outdoor space, particularly in Summer and also it would be nice to have a bit of extra storage and somewhere that I can leave my shoes etc to keep the caravan clean.
8. How secure are they? Can they be made more secure with alarms etc? I have a dog and he would probably be left alone for maybe 1 hour every couple of days when I go to the gym. He comes to work with me every day (I am a dog handler) and I like spending time at home with him so I'd be with him all the time. I'd be worried sick about the odd hour I left him though so I was thinking of setting something up to secure it all a bit more.
9. Before I do a tonne of research, is it at all possible to live completely off grid with a bit of investment? Can solar panels charge up enough batteries to run some electrics such as a TV and a games console along with charging items like a laptop and phone charger? I'd assumed this probably isn't realistic but thought I would ask any way. I've no idea how efficent solar energy is now. As long as I can get water to the caravan is there any other challenges I would face?
10. Is December a good time of year to buy? I'm assuming it is as most people would be looking to purchase in spring?
11. How cold will it be? My curren home sits around 12*C right now and while it's nippy, with an electric blanket at night I am fine. Could I expect to get a caravan up to 14/15*c in winter? If so, would I be using a crazy amount of fuel to do so?
12. How much sound gets through caravan walls?
13. INTERNET! What is the general practice? Get an unlimited data sim card and a mifi hub?
14. Which Caravan? I seem to have read a few people say they are all pretty even and it comes down to what you like but is there any particular brand or model I should avoid like the plague?

Thanks to any one who has taken the time to read this. I didn't want to come across all "woe is me" but it has been a difficult year. Things like this tend to be a blessing in disguise so I'm optimistic that I can turn things around in time. One thing I know for sure though is that I'm not going to do nothing and just feel sorry for myself. I'm hoping this caravan idea is doable and I'm also hoping that after a while and making it "my own" I would be happy to call it a home.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I will read and take on board anything you guys have to say. If I'm being stupid then please tell me. On the contrary, if you feel it is doable and realistic then give me some encouragement :lol:

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

All the best,

Tom
 
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Tombo46 said:
Ok...Maybe not a million questions but it's close...

This past year has been a bit rough to say the least. My business was hit hard by the exchange rate plummet in 2016 after the Brexit vote and unfortunately, despite my best efforts I was not able to recover from it and went bankrupt in February this year. On top of this my partner of 7 years left me and the one thing that kept me going and working hard was that I wanted to keep my home (a rented farm house). Unfortunately a week ago my landlady posted that letter through the door to say she would not be renewing my tenancy as she was selling the property. So I'm not in a situation where I can go and take out another 12 month tenancy agreement in a hurry, probably somewhere I'd hate and feel sorry for myself for another year...or...?

I could come up with a solution to my "problem". I keep telling myself I'm absolutely crazy but I am considering doing something I've wanted to do for a long time, and that is to build a "tiny house". Possible from a shipping container or maybe from scratch. I had never done this previously, despite having the money as I was very time poor. What I am considering doing is purchasing a caravan (something of a decent size even though it's just me) and living in it for the foreseeable. This would mean I am not paying someone else's mortgage and leave me with some disposable income (As I am on minimum wage). Using the disposable income I could build my home over the course of 2 - 3 years, possibly even living between the two as things progress. A caravan would also allow me to get used to living in a small space and steer my life towards a more "minimalist" approach.

The BIG question is. Am I crazy? Is living in a caravan all year round feasible? I go through different periods of thinking that it's a ridiculous idea and I'll be miserable and thinking it will be a great experience. I'd imagine the reality would be somewhere in between?

I really, really hate the idea of living hand to mouth just to live in a rubbish home in a rubbish area while being trapped paying rent etc. I feel that even if I am living in a caravan I will be taking control of my life somewhat and if I have a goal of building a separate home I will be able to tolerate it much more. Here are a few questions I have...

1. I have been kindly donated £4000 by a family member should I make this decision. Would that be enough to get me a decent caravan?
2. Is it possible to get a long term pitch? There is a CL about 2 minutes down the road form where I live now that looks suitable.
3. Are sites likely to do a "deal" for long term pitches?
4. What will the people generally be like who I meet? I tend to go to sleep about 11pm. Am I likely to have people making a lot of noise at that time? I'm keen to meet new people as and when they come but would also like a sound nights sleep haha.
5. I see a lot of CL sites prices around the £10 - £12 mark. Does this usually include EHU? If this was the price just to have a pitch and nothing else and they wouldn't budge for a long term pitch then it wouldn't really be financially viable.
6. Is there any good rescourses that I can find out how to use everything in a caravan? I have never even stepped foot in one so I have no clue. I was considering trying to find someone local to Sheffield who can give me a tour of their caravan and show me what's what.
7. Is it possible to have a weatherproof awning that can withstand wind and snow? Ideally I'd like a bit of outdoor space, particularly in Summer and also it would be nice to have a bit of extra storage and somewhere that I can leave my shoes etc to keep the caravan clean.
8. How secure are they? Can they be made more secure with alarms etc? I have a dog and he would probably be left alone for maybe 1 hour every couple of days when I go to the gym. He comes to work with me every day (I am a dog handler) and I like spending time at home with him so I'd be with him all the time. I'd be worried sick about the odd hour I left him though so I was thinking of setting something up to secure it all a bit more.
9. Before I do a tonne of research, is it at all possible to live completely off grid with a bit of investment? Can solar panels charge up enough batteries to run some electrics such as a TV and a games console along with charging items like a laptop and phone charger? I'd assumed this probably isn't realistic but thought I would ask any way. I've no idea how efficent solar energy is now. As long as I can get water to the caravan is there any other challenges I would face?
10. Is December a good time of year to buy? I'm assuming it is as most people would be looking to purchase in spring?
11. How cold will it be? My curren home sits around 12*C right now and while it's nippy, with an electric blanket at night I am fine. Could I expect to get a caravan up to 14/15*c in winter? If so, would I be using a crazy amount of fuel to do so?
12. How much sound gets through caravan walls?
13. INTERNET! What is the general practice? Get an unlimited data sim card and a mifi hub?
14. Which Caravan? I seem to have read a few people say they are all pretty even and it comes down to what you like but is there any particular brand or model I should avoid like the plague?

Thanks to any one who has taken the time to read this. I didn't want to come across all "woe is me" but it has been a difficult year. Things like this tend to be a blessing in disguise so I'm optimistic that I can turn things around in time. One thing I know for sure though is that I'm not going to do nothing and just feel sorry for myself. I'm hoping this caravan idea is doable and I'm also hoping that after a while and making it "my own" I would be happy to call it a home.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I will read and take on board anything you guys have to say. If I'm being stupid then please tell me. On the contrary, if you feel it is doable and realistic then give me some encouragement :lol:

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

All the best,

Tom

Sorry to hear of your turn of events but in short yes it is possible to live in a caravan all year. A caravan within your budget should be warm and dry and well able to hold 20deg c in winter. To use CL or CS you have to be a member of the Carsvayand Motorhome Club or Camping and Caravan Club. Many will have electric hook up sufficient for your heating and domestic needs. I think there is a night limit on CL/CS of around 30 nights. Then not coming back before another night has passed. Main Club sites do that too. You can buy seasonal pitches that give longer residency from the two clubs or private sites
Normally sites are quiet well before 11 pm.
Generally caravanners and campers are sociable folks.
Good luck in your searches.
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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Hi Tom, welcome to the forum.
The short answer to your main question is yes, it is possible to live in a decent sized touring caravan full time, but it's not all plain sailing.
There was a very long thread started around 12 years ago by a forum member who successfully lived in his tourer for some considerable time, Click Here to start at the beginning and pick out the salient points and very good advice which is still relevant to someone in a similar situation as yourself.
The first thing to check is your driving licence entitlement, contrary to popular belief it's no longer legal to buy any caravan to tow it regardless of overall weight.
The law regarding towing and licence entitlements is shown Here
There will no doubt be many more questions that you will have before taking the plunge, caravanners are generally friendly and helpful, especially on this forum, so after you've done some research on the Permanent Caravanning topic that I linked to earlier, check with us before you part with any money and we'll point out the obvious pitfalls to avoid when buying a touring caravan.
 
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You will need to have fixed address that you could use for mail, insurance and registration for car and driving licence. Very few caravan sites will allow you to stay permanently there for 12 months of the year due to council tax issues. The idea would be to stay for 10 -11 months of the year and then move to another site for the winter. Many static owners do this because they have no choice.
Your biggest issue is the winter and ensuring that you have fresh water every day and are able to dump the waste water. Taps tend to freeze in the winter and also water in your aquaroll and waste master.
Budget is a bit thin at £4k for a decent caravan that is damp free however living in the caravan is very doable and can save you a small fortune and I would say go for it. Caravan wise having one with a fixed bed would be better.
 
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otherclive said:
Tombo46 said:
Ok...Maybe not a million questions but it's close...

This past year has been a bit rough to say the least. My business was hit hard by the exchange rate plummet in 2016 after the Brexit vote and unfortunately, despite my best efforts I was not able to recover from it and went bankrupt in February this year. On top of this my partner of 7 years left me and the one thing that kept me going and working hard was that I wanted to keep my home (a rented farm house). Unfortunately a week ago my landlady posted that letter through the door to say she would not be renewing my tenancy as she was selling the property. So I'm not in a situation where I can go and take out another 12 month tenancy agreement in a hurry, probably somewhere I'd hate and feel sorry for myself for another year...or...?

I could come up with a solution to my "problem". I keep telling myself I'm absolutely crazy but I am considering doing something I've wanted to do for a long time, and that is to build a "tiny house". Possible from a shipping container or maybe from scratch. I had never done this previously, despite having the money as I was very time poor. What I am considering doing is purchasing a caravan (something of a decent size even though it's just me) and living in it for the foreseeable. This would mean I am not paying someone else's mortgage and leave me with some disposable income (As I am on minimum wage). Using the disposable income I could build my home over the course of 2 - 3 years, possibly even living between the two as things progress. A caravan would also allow me to get used to living in a small space and steer my life towards a more "minimalist" approach.

The BIG question is. Am I crazy? Is living in a caravan all year round feasible? I go through different periods of thinking that it's a ridiculous idea and I'll be miserable and thinking it will be a great experience. I'd imagine the reality would be somewhere in between?

I really, really hate the idea of living hand to mouth just to live in a rubbish home in a rubbish area while being trapped paying rent etc. I feel that even if I am living in a caravan I will be taking control of my life somewhat and if I have a goal of building a separate home I will be able to tolerate it much more. Here are a few questions I have...

1. I have been kindly donated £4000 by a family member should I make this decision. Would that be enough to get me a decent caravan?
2. Is it possible to get a long term pitch? There is a CL about 2 minutes down the road form where I live now that looks suitable.
3. Are sites likely to do a "deal" for long term pitches?
4. What will the people generally be like who I meet? I tend to go to sleep about 11pm. Am I likely to have people making a lot of noise at that time? I'm keen to meet new people as and when they come but would also like a sound nights sleep haha.
5. I see a lot of CL sites prices around the £10 - £12 mark. Does this usually include EHU? If this was the price just to have a pitch and nothing else and they wouldn't budge for a long term pitch then it wouldn't really be financially viable.
6. Is there any good rescourses that I can find out how to use everything in a caravan? I have never even stepped foot in one so I have no clue. I was considering trying to find someone local to Sheffield who can give me a tour of their caravan and show me what's what.
7. Is it possible to have a weatherproof awning that can withstand wind and snow? Ideally I'd like a bit of outdoor space, particularly in Summer and also it would be nice to have a bit of extra storage and somewhere that I can leave my shoes etc to keep the caravan clean.
8. How secure are they? Can they be made more secure with alarms etc? I have a dog and he would probably be left alone for maybe 1 hour every couple of days when I go to the gym. He comes to work with me every day (I am a dog handler) and I like spending time at home with him so I'd be with him all the time. I'd be worried sick about the odd hour I left him though so I was thinking of setting something up to secure it all a bit more.
9. Before I do a tonne of research, is it at all possible to live completely off grid with a bit of investment? Can solar panels charge up enough batteries to run some electrics such as a TV and a games console along with charging items like a laptop and phone charger? I'd assumed this probably isn't realistic but thought I would ask any way. I've no idea how efficent solar energy is now. As long as I can get water to the caravan is there any other challenges I would face?
10. Is December a good time of year to buy? I'm assuming it is as most people would be looking to purchase in spring?
11. How cold will it be? My curren home sits around 12*C right now and while it's nippy, with an electric blanket at night I am fine. Could I expect to get a caravan up to 14/15*c in winter? If so, would I be using a crazy amount of fuel to do so?
12. How much sound gets through caravan walls?
13. INTERNET! What is the general practice? Get an unlimited data sim card and a mifi hub?
14. Which Caravan? I seem to have read a few people say they are all pretty even and it comes down to what you like but is there any particular brand or model I should avoid like the plague?

Thanks to any one who has taken the time to read this. I didn't want to come across all "woe is me" but it has been a difficult year. Things like this tend to be a blessing in disguise so I'm optimistic that I can turn things around in time. One thing I know for sure though is that I'm not going to do nothing and just feel sorry for myself. I'm hoping this caravan idea is doable and I'm also hoping that after a while and making it "my own" I would be happy to call it a home.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I will read and take on board anything you guys have to say. If I'm being stupid then please tell me. On the contrary, if you feel it is doable and realistic then give me some encouragement :lol:

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

All the best,

Tom

Sorry to hear of your turn of events but in short yes it is possible to live in a caravan all year. A caravan within your budget should be warm and dry and well able to hold 20deg c in winter. To use CL or CS you have to be a member of the Carsvayand Motorhome Club or Camping and Caravan Club. Many will have electric hook up sufficient for your heating and domestic needs. I think there is a night limit on CL/CS of around 30 nights. Then not coming back before another night has passed. Main Club sites do that too. You can buy seasonal pitches that give longer residency from the two clubs or private sites
Normally sites are quiet well before 11 pm.
Generally caravanners and campers are sociable folks.
Good luck in your searches.

Thanks for the input. I'm going to speak to the local CL site and see what can be arranged. They may even be able to move me for a night on to their farm which is away from the official site or I could possibly arrange to move up the road to another friends place for 1 night a month. Either way I think there will be a work around. I'm trying to figure out what I'm likely to pay longer term too. I'm not sure if most prices quoted include EHU or not and if those prices are likely to be negotiable. There's no point in me doing this if it's going to cost me £400 per month and a fortune in EHU as the whole point is this needs to be affordable haha. I think when I go down to the site I'll see if there are any accommodating caravanners who would be willing to have a chat and show me around the ins and outs of a caravan.

Thanks again for the reply. If you have any other opinions on my other questions I'd be most grateful. Trying to arm myself with as much information as possible!
 
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Parksy said:
Hi Tom, welcome to the forum.
The short answer to your main question is yes, it is possible to live in a decent sized touring caravan full time, but it's not all plain sailing.
There was a very long thread started around 12 years ago by a forum member who successfully lived in his tourer for some considerable time, Click Here to start at the beginning and pick out the salient points and very good advice which is still relevant to someone in a similar situation as yourself.
The first thing to check is your driving licence entitlement, contrary to popular belief it's no longer legal to buy any caravan to tow it regardless of overall weight.
The law regarding towing and licence entitlements is shown Here
There will no doubt be many more questions that you will have before taking the plunge, caravanners are generally friendly and helpful, especially on this forum, so after you've done some research on the Permanent Caravanning topic that I linked to earlier, check with us before you part with any money and we'll point out the obvious pitfalls to avoid when buying a touring caravan.

Thanks for those links. The thread about living in a caravan full time was an interesting read. Encouraging seeing that others have done it also. As for my license. I have checked on the DVLA website and it say's I can tow a combination of car/trailer up to 3500kg which I'm assuming would accomodate most car/trailer combinations? My current car wouldn't be able to manage it so I would be enlisting the help of a friend to move it the first time and possibly a couple of other times if I need to move for a night per month. During that period I can look at getting something that's more tow-worthy and has a large enough kerb weight to manage a caravan. I hope I'm accurate in my thinking here. Please correct me if I'm not. Even if I'm not entitled to tow a caravan my friend will be as he is a class 1 driver. It would buy me a bit of time to get my test done.

Thanks for the warm welcome =]
 
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Buckman said:
You will need to have fixed address that you could use for mail, insurance and registration for car and driving licence. Very few caravan sites will allow you to stay permanently there for 12 months of the year due to council tax issues. The idea would be to stay for 10 -11 months of the year and then move to another site for the winter. Many static owners do this because they have no choice.
Your biggest issue is the winter and ensuring that you have fresh water every day and are able to dump the waste water. Taps tend to freeze in the winter and also water in your aquaroll and waste master.
Budget is a bit thin at £4k for a decent caravan that is damp free however living in the caravan is very doable and can save you a small fortune and I would say go for it. Caravan wise having one with a fixed bed would be better.

I've been looking at a lot of fixed bed caravans but they seem to come at the expense of a decent sized bathroom. I've read a lot of conflicting views on whether the wet rooms are any good. A fair few people seem to say that a separate shower is a must but I can't see how it would differ all that much?

In terms of a physical address. Is there any way I could say I'm staying with a relative providing insurances etc say that my vehicle will not be kept at the address etc? I can have most mail either redirected or sent to a PO box. Either way there will be a workaround I think.

Is there any way to stop freezing pipes? Is it a common occurrence or something I should just expect every now and then?

Thanks for the reply =]
 
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Tombo46 said:
...As for my license. I have checked on the DVLA website and it say's I can tow a combination of car/trailer up to 3500kg which I'm assuming would accomodate most car/trailer combinations?...

In a word? No.

You can get sub 3500kg combinations but your generalisation is incorrect. At the lightest end, you can get sub 1000kg caravans, like Freedom which any car could tow, at the other end big Vanmasters or Airstreams need a Discovery as they are up to 2500kg.

With a post '97 B licence, you are limited to vehicles upto a gross weight of 3500kg + 750kg trailer or combination of car & trailer over 750kg of 3500kg. This is the plated weight of the vehicles not their actual weight.

The caravan clubs recommend that the maximum technically permissible laden mass, MTPLM, of the caravan does not exceed 100% of the tow cars unladen weight. With the figure of 85% recommended for novice towers. Your car will have information on the maximum weight of unbraked and braked trailers permitted. This may be lower than the unladen or kerb weight (the definition of these 2 terms is a minefield) or higher. But you should never exceed the lowest figure.

Practical example*
My Volvo XC60 is 2500kg fully loaded
My caravan MTPLM is 1475kg
Total weight: 3975kg
( I took the BE category test. But this was not cheap c.£500 all in for me)
Caravan MTPLM: 1475kg
Divided by:
XC60 kerb weight: 1905kg
Equals a towing ratio of c.78% so it is very stable.
*figures from memory.

As you are looking for fixed bed layouts you may get a caravan light enough to be towed with a B licence, but you may struggle.
 
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Thanks for the information Paul. I'll do a bit more digging and see if I can figure out what I need to do. For the short term my friend would be willing to do the driving for me and in the mean time I can always do my trailer test. May as well add another category to my license. I want to collect them all some day :D

There's a couple of CL sites near me. First thing I need to do is find out if this is actually going to be financially viable. There's no point if it doesn't save money. I'm really struggling to find any solid information on whether CL's include electric hookup in their pricing or not. I saw on the club website that they have sites with no EHU for as little as £1.50 per night so I'm assuming someone charging £10 - £12 for just a spot in a small field with no hard standing would include electricity in that price. When my mother passed away I inherited her static caravan which took me 18 months to sell. The whole time I was there I paid a ground rent of £130 per month and that was for a very nice and swanky site!

Really hoping I can make this affordable. I'm getting more and more comfortable with the idea of actually doing it. I keep telling myself also that if it doesn't work out there is not going to be a huge loss other than my time. At any point I can stop living in a caravan and sell it on, possibly for more than I bought it for if it's in Spring/Summer. I'm in a bit of a situation where I have little to lose really.
 

Parksy

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In my experience certified sites or certified locations (depending on which club you belong to, the former are affiliated to Caravan & Motorhome Club, the latter Camping and Caravanning Club) which charge between £10-£12 per night generally offer ehu included in the price but little in the way of modern toilet or shower blocks.
I've spoken to seasonal caravanners who often pay a reduced pitch fee per night, so negotiate with the certified owner and check to see what is included before moving on to a certified pitch.
Fixed bed caravans are great, we have one but an alternative could be a layout with front benches which serve as a dining / working / tv area and an end dinette which could be made up into a comfortable bed and left as such for long periods of time.

Before committing to purchase a caravan do some research to avoid the more obvious pitfalls, the Buyers Guide should help.
 
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Tombo46 said:
Thanks for the information Paul. I'll do a bit more digging and see if I can figure out what I need to do. For the short term my friend would be willing to do the driving for me and in the mean time I can always do my trailer test. May as well add another category to my license. I want to collect them all some day :D

There's a couple of CL sites near me. First thing I need to do is find out if this is actually going to be financially viable. There's no point if it doesn't save money. I'm really struggling to find any solid information on whether CL's include electric hookup in their pricing or not. I saw on the club website that they have sites with no EHU for as little as £1.50 per night so I'm assuming someone charging £10 - £12 for just a spot in a small field with no hard standing would include electricity in that price. When my mother passed away I inherited her static caravan which took me 18 months to sell. The whole time I was there I paid a ground rent of £130 per month and that was for a very nice and swanky site!

Really hoping I can make this affordable. I'm getting more and more comfortable with the idea of actually doing it. I keep telling myself also that if it doesn't work out there is not going to be a huge loss other than my time. At any point I can stop living in a caravan and sell it on, possibly for more than I bought it for if it's in Spring/Summer. I'm in a bit of a situation where I have little to lose really.

The CLs and CS that have hookup generally include it in their price. The best place to find the info is to look on the clubs website and find the telephone contact details of the site. Don’t forget that you need to be a club member to use the five van sites.
 
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Having considered your personal circumstances i.e earning minimum wage - dog owner - restricted license etc etc I really doubt whether your plan is feasible - most site owners do not permit annual occupancy - factor in the daily cost of living and clearly you would be struggling
 
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Tombo46 said:
I've been looking at a lot of fixed bed caravans but they seem to come at the expense of a decent sized bathroom. I've read a lot of conflicting views on whether the wet rooms are any good. A fair few people seem to say that a separate shower is a must but I can't see how it would differ all that much?

In terms of a physical address. Is there any way I could say I'm staying with a relative providing insurances etc say that my vehicle will not be kept at the address etc? I can have most mail either redirected or sent to a PO box. Either way there will be a workaround I think.

Is there any way to stop freezing pipes? Is it a common occurrence or something I should just expect every now and then?

Thanks for the reply =]

You cannot use a Pobox for car registration or driving licence. It can however be registered to a realtive's address, but they need to be aware that if you pick up a fine and don't pay the fine, bailiffs will come knocking at the door. No issue with insurance but they need to be told where the vehicle is kept over night.
You are only going to use the bathroom for about 30 minutes each day so size of bathroom is less important. IMHO I would rather have a comfortable bed to a decent sleep than a large bathroom.
In winter the pipes and water barrels freezing is a common issue. You need to lag them to prevent them freezing.
A CL or CS which quickly run into issues if they allow you to stay there constantly as other visitors will soon notice that a caravan is there constantly and may complain to the club who in turn may revoke the owner's licence to operate a CL or CS. Rare but it does happen.
Besides CLs etc are not to long stays as hardly any have the facilities to wash clothes in a laundry and a dryer for afterwards. Bad idea to try and dry clothes on the heating in the caravan as it will create a lot of moisture inside the caravan. You need to find a proper site that is willing to allow you to stay for a couple fo months but be prepared to pay up to £400 a month. BTW you can claim housing benefits if you have no income as an acquaintance did this while they lived in their caravan.
 
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Big thanks Parksy. There are two local CL's near me that I'm going to check out today and have a chat to about possibilities. Unfortunately though, one is 2 minutes away from where I live now so I'd have to drive past my old and much loved home every day and the other one I would have to drive past my shop that I owned. Can't win! Not the end of the world though. I'll just have to suck it up haha.

Once again, thanks for all the information everyone. I'll check out the buyers guide now.
 
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thosoneill said:
Having considered your personal circumstances i.e earning minimum wage - dog owner - restricted license etc etc I really doubt whether your plan is feasible - most site owners do not permit annual occupancy - factor in the daily cost of living and clearly you would be struggling

Thanks for the input Neil. I've been struggling for 2 years now so it's nothing new. I wouldn't do this without a firm understanding of the costing involved and a back up plan etc which is why I am here. If I don't do something I'll end up living hand to mouth for the rest of my life and who wants that?

I know plenty of people that would let me put a Caravan on their land (I was a greengrocer so know a lot of farmers) however EHU is the only problem. This is why I asked if solar energy is a viable option all year round or not.

Thanks for the reply.
 
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otherclive said:
Tombo46 said:
Thanks for the information Paul. I'll do a bit more digging and see if I can figure out what I need to do. For the short term my friend would be willing to do the driving for me and in the mean time I can always do my trailer test. May as well add another category to my license. I want to collect them all some day :D

There's a couple of CL sites near me. First thing I need to do is find out if this is actually going to be financially viable. There's no point if it doesn't save money. I'm really struggling to find any solid information on whether CL's include electric hookup in their pricing or not. I saw on the club website that they have sites with no EHU for as little as £1.50 per night so I'm assuming someone charging £10 - £12 for just a spot in a small field with no hard standing would include electricity in that price. When my mother passed away I inherited her static caravan which took me 18 months to sell. The whole time I was there I paid a ground rent of £130 per month and that was for a very nice and swanky site!

Really hoping I can make this affordable. I'm getting more and more comfortable with the idea of actually doing it. I keep telling myself also that if it doesn't work out there is not going to be a huge loss other than my time. At any point I can stop living in a caravan and sell it on, possibly for more than I bought it for if it's in Spring/Summer. I'm in a bit of a situation where I have little to lose really.

The CLs and CS that have hookup generally include it in their price. The best place to find the info is to look on the clubs website and find the telephone contact details of the site. Don’t forget that you need to be a club member to use the five van sites.

Club membership isn't a problem as it's not a huge expense. £51 per year if I'm not mistaken? Thanks for the info =]
 
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Tombo46 said:
thosoneill said:
Having considered your personal circumstances i.e earning minimum wage - dog owner - restricted license etc etc I really doubt whether your plan is feasible - most site owners do not permit annual occupancy - factor in the daily cost of living and clearly you would be struggling

Thanks for the input Neil. I've been struggling for 2 years now so it's nothing new. I wouldn't do this without a firm understanding of the costing involved and a back up plan etc which is why I am here. If I don't do something I'll end up living hand to mouth for the rest of my life and who wants that?

I know plenty of people that would let me put a Caravan on their land (I was a greengrocer so know a lot of farmers) however EHU is the only problem. This is why I asked if solar energy is a viable option all year round or not.

Thanks for the reply.

Solar energy is definitely not a viable option year round even in the "summer" and you will still need gas for heating the water. If you use gas for heating in the winter expect to go through a 6kg bottle every 3 - 4 days at a cost of about £25 a bottle if you are lucky. If staying for while on a site, buy a 45kg bottle as it would be a lot cheaper.
 
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Buckman said:
Tombo46 said:
thosoneill said:
Having considered your personal circumstances i.e earning minimum wage - dog owner - restricted license etc etc I really doubt whether your plan is feasible - most site owners do not permit annual occupancy - factor in the daily cost of living and clearly you would be struggling

Thanks for the input Neil. I've been struggling for 2 years now so it's nothing new. I wouldn't do this without a firm understanding of the costing involved and a back up plan etc which is why I am here. If I don't do something I'll end up living hand to mouth for the rest of my life and who wants that?

I know plenty of people that would let me put a Caravan on their land (I was a greengrocer so know a lot of farmers) however EHU is the only problem. This is why I asked if solar energy is a viable option all year round or not.

Thanks for the reply.

Solar energy is definitely not a viable option year round even in the "summer" and you will still need gas for heating the water. If you use gas for heating in the winter expect to go through a 6kg bottle every 3 - 4 days at a cost of about £25 a bottle if you are lucky. If staying for while on a site, buy a 45kg bottle as it would be a lot cheaper.

Ahhhh yes sorry. I didn't clarify that the electricity would just be used for what was absolutely necessary, not every appliance. I would be using gas for the rest and had researched the 45kg bottles in the initial stages when I was thinking about doing this. It's a LOT more cost effective. I also have a relative who works at Flo Gas who can look after me =]
 
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I suggest to get a copy of the magazine and turn to the 'Buyers Guide' at the back. The first page shows small plans of the layouts you will find. So the smallest would be parallel settees at the front, a kitchen at the back near the door and a toilet/shower room in the offside corner. As you will see then there are many possibilities. Then take yourself off to a dealers and have a look around the stock, usually unlocked, so you can sit in a few and get an idea what your minimum spec could be. For example in the van described above you could use sleeping bag/bedding on one sofa as a permanent single and use the opposite as a seat. The kitchen would likely have a small oven/grill, 2/3/4 burner hob. You would expect to find a water heater under the front offside settee, and heating could be a simple gas fire. You will need a cable (usually orange 25mts) to connect to mains electric, and separate clean water and waste water container (the 'jerry can' type white/fresh and black/waste could start you off) and the caravan would need a battery (usually in a locker) so that the water pump and 12v internal lights will work. Whatever you intend to buy your idea of taking a caravaner with you is a good idea. If you buy privately be very careful that it's not a damp dud - and even from a dealer a van of the age that 4000 will buy may not have any warranty. Hope this helps and good luck with your project!
 
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audiorob said:
I suggest to get a copy of the magazine and turn to the 'Buyers Guide' at the back. The first page shows small plans of the layouts you will find. So the smallest would be parallel settees at the front, a kitchen at the back near the door and a toilet/shower room in the offside corner. As you will see then there are many possibilities. Then take yourself off to a dealers and have a look around the stock, usually unlocked, so you can sit in a few and get an idea what your minimum spec could be. For example in the van described above you could use sleeping bag/bedding on one sofa as a permanent single and use the opposite as a seat. The kitchen would likely have a small oven/grill, 2/3/4 burner hob. You would expect to find a water heater under the front offside settee, and heating could be a simple gas fire. You will need a cable (usually orange 25mts) to connect to mains electric, and separate clean water and waste water container (the 'jerry can' type white/fresh and black/waste could start you off) and the caravan would need a battery (usually in a locker) so that the water pump and 12v internal lights will work. Whatever you intend to buy your idea of taking a caravaner with you is a good idea. If you buy privately be very careful that it's not a damp dud - and even from a dealer a van of the age that 4000 will buy may not have any warranty. Hope this helps and good luck with your project!

I think your post is a great help, Trying to find A pitch for under £15 a night with electric, is far and few, so £400 a month is a hit. Look carefully , cost start to mount up, but good luck.
 
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audiorob said:
I suggest to get a copy of the magazine and turn to the 'Buyers Guide' at the back. The first page shows small plans of the layouts you will find. So the smallest would be parallel settees at the front, a kitchen at the back near the door and a toilet/shower room in the offside corner. As you will see then there are many possibilities. Then take yourself off to a dealers and have a look around the stock, usually unlocked, so you can sit in a few and get an idea what your minimum spec could be. For example in the van described above you could use sleeping bag/bedding on one sofa as a permanent single and use the opposite as a seat. The kitchen would likely have a small oven/grill, 2/3/4 burner hob. You would expect to find a water heater under the front offside settee, and heating could be a simple gas fire. You will need a cable (usually orange 25mts) to connect to mains electric, and separate clean water and waste water container (the 'jerry can' type white/fresh and black/waste could start you off) and the caravan would need a battery (usually in a locker) so that the water pump and 12v internal lights will work. Whatever you intend to buy your idea of taking a caravaner with you is a good idea. If you buy privately be very careful that it's not a damp dud - and even from a dealer a van of the age that 4000 will buy may not have any warranty. Hope this helps and good luck with your project!

Thanks for the information Rob. All noted =]

Is there any way to test for damp or any trouble areas I should look out for? Also if there is damp is there any way to fix it?

I plan to start with £4000 but upgrade as time goes on to something a bit newer. I'd imagine there's a point where depreciation becomes more of an issue though but the 'vans in the £8000 - £10,000 range all seem very nice.

In terms of layout I'm very much liking a lot of the fixed bed models. Some have a bit behind the kitchen for a bit of extra preparation space too which is nice. The only downside seems to be the smaller bathrooms. I'm happy to use a bathroom/toilet combination but have seen a lot of negativity around them. If they are water tight I can't understand why they would be any different to a separate shower cubicle though.
 
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EH52ARH said:
audiorob said:
I suggest to get a copy of the magazine and turn to the 'Buyers Guide' at the back. The first page shows small plans of the layouts you will find. So the smallest would be parallel settees at the front, a kitchen at the back near the door and a toilet/shower room in the offside corner. As you will see then there are many possibilities. Then take yourself off to a dealers and have a look around the stock, usually unlocked, so you can sit in a few and get an idea what your minimum spec could be. For example in the van described above you could use sleeping bag/bedding on one sofa as a permanent single and use the opposite as a seat. The kitchen would likely have a small oven/grill, 2/3/4 burner hob. You would expect to find a water heater under the front offside settee, and heating could be a simple gas fire. You will need a cable (usually orange 25mts) to connect to mains electric, and separate clean water and waste water container (the 'jerry can' type white/fresh and black/waste could start you off) and the caravan would need a battery (usually in a locker) so that the water pump and 12v internal lights will work. Whatever you intend to buy your idea of taking a caravaner with you is a good idea. If you buy privately be very careful that it's not a damp dud - and even from a dealer a van of the age that 4000 will buy may not have any warranty. Hope this helps and good luck with your project!

I think your post is a great help, Trying to find A pitch for under £15 a night with electric, is far and few, so £400 a month is a hit. Look carefully , cost start to mount up, but good luck.

I did a run around today and spoke to a few owners of CL's locally. Most are charging between £10 - £12 with EHU inclusive but surprisingly the ones I spoke to seemed very reluctant to budge on price for longer term stays and some even seemed very put off by the idea. I mentioned having a month at a different site so I would be a month on/month off each of the sites but was still met with a few raised eyebrows. I don't see any legislation that doesn't permit this so there must be something else that has them rattled. Maybe they think I'm up to no good haha.

This run of negativity led me down to another option though which is looking quite promising and a lot more affordable. Time will tell!
 

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