David MottonSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Travel and touring’ written by David Motton
I like towing. Which is just as well, given what I do for a living.
I find towing a caravan safely and considerately very satisfying. Towing well demands a lot of concentration, but I think that's why I find it rewarding.
I appreciate that not every caravanner feels the way I do. For some, towing is simply a means to an end, bookending the fun holiday bit in the middle. Others dislike towing and find it intimidating.
Tow-phobics can have their caravanning cake and eat it. There are ways to enjoy a touring caravan with minimal towing – or even none at all.
If you are willing to tow a little, but would rather keep it to a minimum, a seasonal pitch is something to consider.
I know some caravanners can be a bit snooty about seasonal pitches not being 'proper' touring. And I understand that some of us dislike staying at sites where empty caravans are sat on seasonal pitches, taking up some of the best spots on the site.
However, having a semi-permanent base for the tourer suits some caravanners down to the ground. You can really make the most of your time.
Solo car journeys are easier and quicker than towing, and the caravan is all pitched and ready for you when you arrive.
You can stay as late as you like on a Sunday to stretch out your weekend, rather than leaving in the morning when other caravanners have to vacate their pitch. And if, at the end of the season, you fancy a change of scene, book a seasonal pitch somewhere else the following year.
The price of a seasonal pitch can be high, though, potentially close to £2000. So you'll need to spend plenty of time in the caravan to get good value from a seasonal pitch.
However, that's still a much more affordable option than switching from a touring caravan to a static.
An alternative which can work out cheaper is to find a campsite you enjoy visiting that also has a storage facility.
Store your caravan there, and book a pitch on-site when you want to get away. This could also mean you can enjoy the view from a variety of pitches.
This should work out cheaper than a seasonal pitch.
However, you will need to plan ahead when booking to avoid disappointment at times when the campsite is busy – your pitch is not guaranteed.
Not wanting to tow at all isn't a barrier to going caravanning, either, and you don't have to spend your time in one spot.
These firms will collect your caravan from your home or storage facility and take it to your chosen campsite. This means you can forget about the stress of driving a 12m-long outfit with a big hinge in the middle and concentrate on enjoying your holiday.
Clearly, having someone else take your caravan away is going to add to the cost of the trip, but if it makes the difference between touring and not touring, then why not?
I don't have direct experience of the three companies I've mentioned, but all three have enthusiastic testimonials on their websites.
Clearly it takes a lot of trust to hand over your pride and joy for someone else to tow. So make sure any company you use is fully insured, and ask any friends or family who have used a caravan towing company if they would recommend their services.
Don't be afraid to ask the company a lot of questions, and be ready to look for someone else if you don't like the answers!
For me, I plan to keep on towing for the foreseeable future. But if you're unwilling or unable to tow, it doesn't have to stop you enjoying caravanning.