For those ruminating over the classic dilemma of the caravan holiday vs. the bed & breakfast we lay out the advantages of both below.
What’s so good about a caravan?
Caravan holidays may be something that you associate with an aunt and uncle, or the much-mocked post-war British holiday resort, but caravanning is actually growing at an incredible rate. There are now over 1 million active leisure caravans in the UK and it is estimated that the caravan industry contributes a massive £6 billion to the economy every year. With the recent increase in the popularity of music festivals a new, younger generation have embraced the caravan and all the perks that come with it.
A home away from home
When you set off on a caravan holiday there’s no need to panic about luggage restrictions or what you can and can’t bring because you can take anything that you want with you: bags full of clothes, cosmetics, video games, musical instruments, the dog, the cat; whatever you can fit in a room at home you can fit in your caravan. Taking a caravan on holiday is just like taking your home with you wherever you go and for disabled holidaymakers the ability to transport personalised facilities is invaluable.
Owning a caravan gives you the freedom to work on your own schedule. There are no checkout times or dining room hours in a caravan, you can wake up when you want and eat when you want. There’s also no better way to really enjoy the countryside than in a caravan. Caravan owners can pull up and stop wherever they want and then head off somewhere new when they feel like it.
While a caravan may seem like a big commitment and lot of money up front, for those who plan to take regular or spontaneous holidays it can be very cost effective. Aside from the obvious savings on travel and accommodation, the small things also add up. Having a kitchen wherever you go stops the temptation of purchasing overpriced service station snacks and means that there’s no need to eat out in restaurants every night. Taking your pets on holiday with you can also save on kennel fees or cat sitters. There are of course additional yearly costs involved in caravanning but things like caravan insurance can actually be very reasonably priced and just like at home you can choose when and how you perform your maintenance.
What’s so good about a B&B?
Choosing the right B&B is like any choice on a holiday from picking a restaurant to deciding which bar to frequent. The experience can vary enormously depending on the establishment but when done well, the B&B experience can be a great way to experience local culture, architecture and enjoy the comfort of someone else’s home.
B&Bs often have a lot more character than large hotels and staying in one can be a way to gain an insight into local residential architecture. Many B&Bs have individually decorated and themed bedrooms so it can feel like staying in someone’s finely decorated home and can also mean that no stay is ever the same.
Staying at a B&B means that you absorb the tastes, company and personality of your hosts. Unlike large hotel chains, breakfast is usually home-cooked by the owners and as a result, can often be gourmet standard, as well as directly catered to your needs. B&B owners are also usually more than happy to help their guests make the most of their stays by passing on local knowledge, tips and ideas.
While B&Bs often work out cheaper than hotels in the UK, comparing the costs of staying in a B&B to a caravan is a little trickier. Buying a caravan can be a hefty investment whereas B&Bs can be a little as £30 a night. The emergence of Airbnb has also shaken the entire tourism industry with people renting out individual rooms or entire houses/apartments for a fraction of the usual costs. While these rates rarely include the traditional B&B services, booking rooms through Airbnb can be a great way to have a very cost effective getaway whilst still experiencing local cultures and meeting people.