When you think about buying a tourer Caravan, you don’t initially think about touring caravan running costs, weather these are one off or reoccurring. Here are a few things which I needed to think about and to be honest some things I didn’t think about:
True Cost of Caravanning
Servicing can cost anything in the region of £200 to £400 per year. This largely depends on the size of your caravan. As you could imagine a 6 berth twin axle tourer would be far larger than a single axle 2 berth tourer. The make , model and age can also effect the price, so keep this in mind. Servicing ensures not only the safety of your caravan. A good caravan service should include:
- Chassis & Running Gear (including breaking system)
- Electrical Systems (wiring, lights, fridge, battery and RCD unit)
- Gas System (hoses, appliances, gas cylinders and exhaust vents clear)
- Water System (hoses, pump and pressure switch)
- Fire & Safety (Smoke alarm, fire extinguisher and blanket)
- Bodywork & Trims (Doors & windows, roof, Grab Handles, Number plate, flooring Furniture and Damp Test)
- Carbon Monoxide Health Check
Services can either be carried out at the dealership or be carried out by a local mobile specialist.
Insurance I recently wrote a post about caravan insurance which cost me around £150, but this could have easily cost up to £400 plus. I would think that if you are willing to spend quite a deal of monetary investment in the initial purchase of you caravan, you would want to protect it.
Storage can range between £200 to £700 per year. Of course, this is not a cost that everyone experiences. Having an appropriate space at home to store a caravan is the ideal solution, however sometimes this is not possible. Location, provider and security will largely depict the price of this one. A CaSSOA accredited storage site would obviously be more expensive than the local farmer who has a spare bit of land, but a CaSSOA registered should be more secure which would lower your insurance premium.
Tow bar is a one off payment (thank goodness!!!) these can range from a mere £150 to an astonishing £1,000 plus. Mine cost £700 as I needed a detachable tow bar on my X type Jaguar, due to interference with the reversing sensors. Prices can also range depending on the make and model of the vehicle and where you get it fitted (I picked a local specialist, who fitted it on my drive). Take into account that if your car is still under manufacturer’s warranty you may need to ask them about where to get it fitted so as not to void your warranty.
Initial touring caravan equipment
These things can sometimes slip your mind but they are very important for a pleasant and enjoyable camping experience with your caravan. Bear in mind, some of the things you use at home, you will need to buy for your caravan (there’s nothing worse than getting your first meal ready in your caravan and realising you’ve forgotten the can opener). Apart from the obvious things such as the washing up liquid and the cleaning products, canned and dried food is great idea, as these can be left in your caravan for the next trip (if not needed).
Awning – this is great if you need the extra space for storage, children or pets. Some caravans may already come supplied with an awning, however some may not. Here are three main types of awning which attach to the exterior of your caravan; the full awning, porch awning and canopy awning. These vary in price depending on the make and model of your caravan, one size does not fit all. You may need to consider the accessories that go with it such as mats and groundsheet.
Gas bottles - (6kg) are only small and do eventually run out, therefore your caravan should have 2. A butane (blue) or propane (red) 6kg gas bottle refill should cost around the region of £25. If it is your first bottle, you may be stung by a one-off deposit for the bottle. This tends to be where dealers make their money. Remember, whether you get butane or propane, you will need the correct regulator which attaches the bottle. This is very important!
Stabiliser - from the caravan to the tow bar on the car is what stops the tourer swinging from side to side as you are traveling on the open road. There are three main types of stabiliser. Blade-type stabilisers which are cheap and were very popular for years, Geometric stabilisers which are no longer considered legal for cars built after 1998 and finally the ALKO stabiliser (this is the one I opted for). The ALKO stabiliser is gaining in popularity, due to the simplicity of its build, however it has a more expensive initial outlay.
Water containers - you will need at least 2 water bottles for your touring caravan (possibly 3 as the shower may have its own waste outlet). One for the fresh water and one for the waste water from the sink. To keep things hygienic and safe, I suggest that you buy ones that look as different as possible, so as not to get the them mixed up. A 50-litre rolling barrel water hog is much easier to transport from the water point of the campsite to your caravan, however more expensive, but from personal experience well worth the initial cost of around £45. As I said before, the waste water container needs to be easily identifiable from the fresh water, so I would suggest different colours (waste is usually black).
Toilet chemicals - usually the green or blue fluid goes inside the toilet to dissolve any solid matter including toilet roll. Consider this when you buy your favourite triple layered extra comfort roll. Remember you’ll be the one emptying the cassette and if not dissolved properly, this could cause issues involving a great deal of time and a stick.
Leisure battery - is specifically designed to work with caravans and not a car battery. A car battery is not designed to drop below a certain charge level without causing irreparable damage to it. A leisure battery is designed to do just that. At £50 plus, a leisure battery is not that cheap, however by buying a car battery, you will be throwing your money away.
Spare car fuses - are an essential for a camping trip in your touring caravan. If at any point water gets into the electrics where the car attaches to your caravan and blows a fuse, you are stumped. At the very least, it only takes the lights on the caravan not to work and you are driving illegally.
Electric hook-up - on a campsite can be one of the essentials. Particularly if you have teenagers who need their phone constantly charged. Unfortunately, this can be useless if you don’t have the correct cable to connect to your caravan.
DVDs and board games - Ok, not that essential, however if the weather changes, you can thank me later!!!