How To Choose A Caravan Holiday Park
Buying a static caravan can be one of the best things you could ever do. A static caravan provides you and your family with as many holidays as you want and some wonderful memories. But, it can also be a serious, expensive mistake. Choosing the right caravan park can you avoid that expensive mistake.
Before thinking about buying a static caravan it’s important to choose the right caravan park. You can purchase the best caravan for your budget but if you choose a caravan park that does not meet your needs then you have wasted a great deal of money. That is why I have put together some tips on how to choose the right caravan park following my own personal experience in purchasing a static caravan.
One of the biggest problems people make when buying a static caravan is buying with their heart instead of their brains. A lot of static caravans are bought by people who go on a caravan holiday. They have enjoyed their holiday and make the mistake of purchasing a caravan during their stay. With all the caravans on display enticing people to look, holidaymakers take the bait and view the caravans and without warning, they are surrounded like a swarm of bees by the caravan park sales team.
It is important to ignore the sales team. I don’t mean to be harsh but the sales team are not there to be your friends, they are there to earn their commission and many of them would sell their grandmother if they could. A lot of them will tell you what you want to hear so they can get their hands on their commission. I am not saying all sales team are the same, I have come across one or two that have been nice, but I have also come across many who I wouldn’t trust as far as I can throw them. So, the golden rule is, don’t trust the sales team and get everything in writing.
Choosing the right caravan park should be the first step in purchasing a caravan, the park must be right for you. Don’t go on holiday and then think I had a wonderful time, so I will now part with my hard-earned cash. It’s important to do as much research as you can and to speak to as many caravan owners past and present as you can. These caravan owners will give you the truthful lowdown on the caravan park and what it is like owning a caravan.
On average, people who buy a static caravan without research will stay on their chosen site for two years before trying to sell their pride and joy. I have spoken to over 240 people who bought a caravan without research, and most of them wished they had bought from another caravan park.
When I bought a caravan on Southview Leisure Park I made sure I spoke to as many people as possible before handing over my money. I was also lucky enough to deal with a good sales person who was more interested in my needs than his own pocket. If you are looking to purchase a caravan on Southview then the only sales person I would recommend is James.
I have put together some tips below on how to choose the right caravan park, hopefully, these tips will help you avoid expensive mistakes when looking to purchase a static caravan.
- How Far Away Is The Caravan Holiday Park From Your Home? It’s important to choose a caravan holiday park which is within two and a half hours drive from your home. The last thing you want is to have to drive for hours on end to arrive at your happy place.
- What Facilities Do You Want? It is important to make a list of the facilities that you want from a caravan holiday park. By making a list, you can then rule out many of the parks that don’t fit your needs.
- Can You Rent Your Caravan Out? A lot of people like to buy a static caravan and rent it out part of the year to cover their site fees. It’s important to check if the site allows you to rent your caravan out.
- Join Caravan Park Facebook Groups. When you think you have found a holiday park that could be right for you then join their Facebook pages. All parks have unofficial Facebook pages and these groups are a great source of information. Here you will learn the true story of the site which includes if the General Manager runs the park in a professional manner, or if they are not interested in the owners.
- Pitch Size. Check how big the pitch sizes are. A lot of sites will try and put as many caravans on the site as possible, which means the space between you and the next caravan is very limited. Space is in important, so have a drive around the site and check the size of the pitches.
- What Security Does The Site Offer? Caravan parks are there to make money and security is a cost and not a profit. That is why many parks don’t take security seriously and hence why you will find some parks have more crime than others. It’s important to choose a park that takes security seriously and spends money on security and CCTV and provides people with a safe environment. You need to check if the holiday park monitors the people who enter and leave the site.
- What Is The Cost Of The Pitch? It is important to look at the site fees. Do you feel the site fees being offered are value for money? If you feel they are not offering value for money then choose another holiday park.
- What terms does the caravan holiday park offer? A lot of false advertising is taking place claiming there is no ten-year rule. Always check to see what the real story is. One word of advice, don’t check with the sales team. If you want the real story then either check with the head office of that site or check with the General Manager of the site. Remember, the sales team are there to earn commission and sell caravans so take everything they tell you with a pinch of salt. To be honest, you are better off with a park that does not have a ten-year rule.
- Talk To Caravan Owners. Don’t be afraid to talk to caravan owners on the park. Ask them if they have any complaints about the park and ask them if they would if they had their time again choose the caravan park they are on.
- Research How The Site Is Run and Research The General Manager Of The Holiday Park. It does not matter if the holiday park is a Park Dean or a Haven Site, no two sites are run the same. The running of the site is down to the General Manager and how good they are. To be honest, there are some shocking General Managers around. A good General Manager will make sure the site is run properly and they listen to the owners, such as improving facilities, improving security. And, a bad General Manager is the one who smiles and promises the earth but has no intention of doing anything to improve the park or its security.
- Does the park put a smile on your face? It is important that when you arrive at a caravan park that it makes you happy. Don’t try and fall in love with a place and think you could be happy there. It’s important that once you step foot on a holiday park that it feels right for you.
- Check how the site is looked after. Are the grounds well cared for? You can always tell a good site from the way it looks which includes if the grass is cut on a regular basis and if the site has lots of flowers.
- Read The Reviews Of The Holiday Park. There are lots of sites where you can read reviews including Trip Advisor. Have a look at what people are saying about the park, and watch out for the customer relations response on complaints. A lot of holiday parks will reply but you can tell from there replies if they are really interested in the complaints. When they say they are sorry to hear about the problems and will pass it on to the relevant departments, and you see the same complaint a few weeks later, then it’s obvious they have not spoken to the department manager. If they did then the same complaints would not happen again. Yes, guest relations managers and General Managers, you know who you are.
- When you’ve chosen the right holiday park for your needs, make sure you stay there a couple of times. It is important to experience the holiday park before making a purchase. By spending a week here and a week there, you can see all the positives and the negatives for yourself.
- Buying Your Caravan. You have two choices when purchasing a static caravan. You can either purchase the caravan through the site or you can purchase it through a private sale. To be honest, you get more for your money if you buy it through a private sale. There are advantages and disadvantages on both sides, which is for another article. But in short, if you buy from a private sale you have no warranty, if you buy from the park then you have a limited warranty depending on the age of the caravan. I decided to buy from the sales team as it was the caravan I was looking for.
- Should You Pay Full Price When Purchasing A Caravan? No. On big purchases, I have never paid full price in my life and neither should you. You should always haggle when purchasing a caravan. If the sales team tell you that is the only price they can offer then walk away and choose another park.
When thinking about buying a static caravan there are three things you must learn. 1. Take what the sales people tell you with a pinch of salt. 2. Take what the sales people tell you with a pinch of salt. 3. Take what the sales people tell you with a pinch of salt. Sorry to be harsh, but a lot of sales people like to tell you things they think you want to hear.
A lot of sales people are also very economical with the truth and leave very important bits of information out so they can get their hands on their commission. I am not saying all sales people are the same, but when dealing with caravan sales people please keep an open mind and get everything in writing.
Buying a caravan can be one of the best things you have ever done, it gives you access to a place where you can relax and generate wonderful memories.
By Timothy Ellis