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My Caravanning plan - Opinions welcome..!


snobbyafghan

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We are selling our small motorhome - it's an admirable vehicle but we just don't use it enough to justify the cost of having it standing idle for most of the year.

 

The plan is to buy a 2 berth, secondhand caravan. Budget is £5000 max; hopefully more like £3500.

 

First question - are there any makes that are particularly good used purchases and are any notoriously bad? We've ruled out exotic indulgences such as teardrops. Also, Eribas. I know they are high quality, but in view of how we intend to use the van (see below) we reckon we may as well have a full width vehicle.

 

The idea is to take the caravan to France and leave it on a site that caters for whole-year use/storage. We wouldn't want to do any touring but would move the caravan to a new site on a yearly basis for a change of scene. So, the next question, does anyone have recommendations for sites in France that are good for not just staying on but also for whole-year storage and are in a desirable area? Anywhere in France is of interest because, as I say, we would want to move maybe once a year.

 

So, a couple of questions and I'm interested to your reaction to the overall plan. Does it make sense to you?

 

Thanks

 

Doug

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Doug

 

Might the reasons that you don't use your current motorhome also apply to having a caravan stored in France? Storing it on a campsite abroad means that you won't have avaialability to use it in the UK which I assume fits in with your plans OK. Also if you are only going to use it for a week or two every year it might be worth considering hiring a static for your holiday. That way no investment or hassle with insurance.

 

David

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David

 

We plan to have (hopefully) 2 or 3 extended stays (4weeks+) each year. We don't really plan to use it in the UK. I reckon the saving on two ferry crossings would go some way to cover the costs of year-long storage.

 

The problem with the small motorhome is that for longish stays, it is rather small. I think a caravan would be more congenial for a longer stay.

 

Also, I'd be happy to let friends and family use a secondhand caravan whereas, with the motorhome.....I don't think so...! So, the caravan would have more use and, when it is not in use, it would only be £3500ish standing round deteriorating and not £35,000.

 

Thanks for your input, though; it is useful to have different opinions to test the idea against.

 

Any thoughts of particularly good makes to look for?

 

Doug

 

 

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snobbyafghan - 2010-03-20 10:30 AM

 

 

 

So, a couple of questions and I'm interested to your reaction to the overall plan. Does it make sense to you?

 

Thanks

 

Doug

 

Surely the question is "Does it make sense to you?". After all it is your decision. What suits you will not suit some people. It really is about what you want.

 

As regards other people using your caravan - you would need to check with the campsite whether 'sub-letting' is allowed. You would also need to check with an insurane company about:

1) permanent siting in France

2) cover for the van when being used by other people

3) cover when the van is not being used

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you are going to leave the caravan in France you with have to register it in France & pay road tax & have their equivalent of an MOT. Like most countries (except UK) caravans are treated as a road vehicle and have to be registered.

If you import it to France you will have a lot hassle better to buy in France.

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If you plan to stay in your caravan for four weeks at a time I would suggest that you bought as big a caravan sa you can.

 

One needs some space for four weeks believe me.

German caravans are good caravans

Good hunting

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lennyhb - 2010-04-01 11:37 AM If you are going to leave the caravan in France you with have to register it in France & pay road tax & have their equivalent of an MOT. Like most countries (except UK) caravans are treated as a road vehicle and have to be registered. If you import it to France you will have a lot hassle better to buy in France.

Don't think this need be a problem.  The rules apply to vehicles on the road, and if in storage it would, presumably, be on a site or in a compound off road.  It can be towed on the towcar's registration number and, provided the towcar is UK registered and properly insured, the van would be regarded as the same risk as the towcar for third party risks, which covers the legalities.

Insurance of the caravan while in storage, and general fire, theft, and damage etc insurance for when in use may be a bit more complicated.  However, quite a few GB registered caravans, that are obviously not returning to UK at the end of the season, turn up here and there on sites across europe, so it can't be that unique a requirement.  Check the insurers before you buy, to see what they say.

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Clients of ours have their caravan on a seasonal pitch in France and as far as I am aware all the required licensing under the French system is done "on site" and is no problem.

 

From what I understand they can use it all year whereas in the UK you cannot use it for two months of the year and I think I am right in saying you have to not stay in a UK seasonal pitch caravan about one weekend a month. But I do get differing "rules" being quoted for every person I talk to about it. It is something to do with seasonal vs. permanent and if permanent you start altering the site licence and Council Tax becomes applicable, I think.

 

Perhaps someone could outline the rules???

 

All I know is that where we have our caravan on a seasonal pitch in Dorset we cannot stay in it continuously month on month and the site is closed Jan & Feb.

 

With site fees etc. this is probably a bit of an exaggeration but with a lot of Brits selling up their second homes in France due to the recession and the value of the £ to the Euro, for the price of your Motorhome you could probably buy a small cottage in a rural part of France!!

 

Our clients who have their caravan in France recommended buying a French caravan when we asked them about it. As a UK c’van does not fit easily into the rules as applied in France to seasonal pitches.

 

They can use theirs all year round, stay as long as they like AND can leave their awning up 12 months of the year, whereas we have to take ours down in September and put it up again at Easter. So that is what we are doing tomorrow :-D weather permitting (!)

 

And I think our site is quite generous in that we have other friends who have a seasonal pitch in Torquay where the caravan is in storage all the time and you have to book when you go down and they then put your caravan on a pitch! - So awning erection every time you go :-S

 

Plus this site is shut November to April 8-)

 

I wonder why they bother personally.

 

As for caravan type - I would suggest not a two birth - they are cheaper but for me putting the bed up every night is a pain. We now have a fixed bed, but previously had a 5 birth where we would leave the bed down in the front and use the second "lounge" at the back for eating, seating etc.

 

This was much better and converted us to fixed bed layouts. But as said above – it is all about what suits you. For example we use our bathroom, shower etc in our caravan but some people we meet do not. Preferring to get up and walk to the shower block.

 

This just does not compute in my book, but who is to say who is right? We take great care to look after the seals etc in the shower and clean it after every visit, so I cannot see that use is going to devalue the c’van at resale time. But then I was pleased to by my caravan when it was three years old and be told that the previous owners who had had it from new had never used the cooker! - You could tell they hadn’t – not a mark on it or in it.

 

So – as I say who is to say who is right?

 

But the main points I would suggest – a) Consider a fixed bed or c’van with two double beds where one can be left down if you want and the other used as your “lounge”, and b) if you are going to site it in France – I think you should look at the problems you could get trying to do this with a UK spec c’van.

 

Interestingly – Our clients are considering selling their seasonal pitch French caravan so if you are interested let me know and I will put you in touch. You could just take over what looks to me to be a great caravan and site and just walk straight in!

 

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A popular scheme, particularly in the South of France is 'Garage Mort' where there are companies who store you caravan and then put it on site for you when you want it and return it to storage when you have finished. By UK storage rates they are quite cheap. Our next door neighbour has an old caravan stored in the S of F using Garage Mort. From quite a few years of observing how this works none of the vans seem very new so perhaps its not a scheme to shell out on a brand new van and then put it in this type of storage.

 

David

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For info only, I'm not here to thread rob.

 

On site in France a few years ago, we returned to our van after lunch and were greeted by our new neighbours, a charming Irish family.

 

They had this ancient but useable caravan with them. I enquired politely about it's roadworthiness, (it was tatty) and had they been ok getting over here.

 

It turned out that many moons ago, they'd met a Farmer in a bar, (as you do), and he flogged them this van. In return for buying it, the Farmer would store it, maintain it and plonk it on any site within a reasonable radius of his farm for however long it was up to it.

 

They'd paid something like £1000 for the van and if my memory serves me right had been going over for 7 years.

 

What a bargain, & what a great deal for all concerned.

 

Martyn

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