Darryl from Southampton Campers shares his thoughts and ideas around single parent camping holidays ! He is also excited to hit the road with his own children this year :
The realisation that holidays may not be the same for some time has very much hit home for most of the UK population. Although those living in England will now be allowed to travel abroad as of 10 July (at least to a select number of countries for now), many families do not feel comfortable about air travel right now. For some single parents, there is another level to this as well. Booking an overseas holiday could prove quite a divisive issue right now, and where there is an ex-partner, it can cause arguments, worry and tension.
So, what else is there? Well, as we said recently there are many beautiful places to go to in the UK. A large portion of British people simply don’t realise how amazing our combined countries are and the staycation is about to become big! But what about accommodation and travelling? Well, we have one word for you: campervan holidays – and here is why:
Campervans – the reality
First of all, when people think of campervans, they often think of a very old VW camper. Yet, today’s campervans are state of the art holiday homes on wheels – equipped with all the amenities and accessories you could wish for. Breakdowns used to be another worry. Whilst older campers are certainly more prone to issues, newer ones are as reliable as any car. And if you are anxious about driving a larger vehicle, you needn’t be. Newer campers are super easy to drive and don’t feel very big at all once you sit behind the wheel.
Campervans and single parents
If you are considering a campervan holiday, being a single parent is no doubt an advantage. With fewer adults to sleep and move around, a camper becomes more spacious and well suited to a single adult with one or more kids. And should you need more space as the kids get older, all you have to do is pack a few tents to pitch around the van, leaving you to enjoy a double bed in peace! This certainly outweighs the downside of being the sole driver on your road trip with kids.
OK, so this is where things get a little more challenging. Campers are not cheap to buy and if they are, then it is worth being prepared for the odd breakdown. But buying isn’t the only option! Companies like Southampton Campers hire out swanky new VW California campervans for both UK and European holidays. Where buying one of these could cost around £65,000, you can hire one for a few days or more at a competitive price. Not only is this far cheaper, but it means you get a campervan to enjoy that’s well looked after and you do not need to store it, insure it, fix it of tax it!
Buying a camper
While hiring is certainly the least stressful and cheaper option you may find that you start dreaming of a campervan of your own. If that is the case, then there are some things you must do. The first one is doing the maths: Work out how much the camper will cost each year to run, store, fix and maintain.
If you are buying new, then it is straightforward: test drive it and read the reviews. If you like it and can afford it, go for it. Most families prefer to buy a used camper. If you decide to go for an older second-hand model, then then make sure to get inside the campervan. Have a good look around and be ruthless – because you will be the one repairing it if you miss something. We strongly advise to buy from a reputable main dealer where you can be sure that various checks will have been done. Unlike a car, a camper has gas, water and electrical systems that must be checked and maintained regularly to ensure your safety. There is something called a habitation test where all these things are checked. While not legally required, this test is highly recommended.
Social distancing on holiday
As well as focusing on UK holidays, it is fair to say that most of us will be trying to figure out how to put social distancing into practice when going on a holiday this summer. Hotels are all working hard to make sure they are safe, but even with all the safety measures in place, you may well be around a lot of people at times. Air BnB properties offer a good degree of isolation, but that could lead to some bored kids and no single parent wants that on holiday.
The mighty camper on the other hand, offers an enclosed and isolated environment that can move to a different location every day as well as stop off at beaches, walks or towns when the need arises. Think of it as a mobile bubble. When the evening comes, find a lovely spot on a campsite with plenty of space, where you can meet other families and children and have a chat by the campfire at a safe distance.
Being a single parent can be very different depending on your situation. For those who live with their children full time, getting away from it all, exploring new destination and meeting others can make their holiday a success.
But for those single parents who do not have their kids on a daily basis, finding a holiday that ensures quality time with the kids is more important than the change of scenery. A campervan is a great way to create the perfect environment to bond with your children. The sense of adventure certainly helps, but there are other things, too: Letting your child or children choose stop-offs or places to stay over, can really engage them and instil a sense of responsibility and content in everyone. The simple act of heading to a destination, then moving on together is exciting in itself. Even setting up camp can be quality time, and so can teaching them how to use the campervan and collecting firewood. Just sitting outside chatting into the evening (without screen time or wi-fi!) can be a real game-changer.
The new normal
We are hearing this expression a lot and we do not yet know what the ‘new normal’ will look like. What we do know, however, is that holidays in the UK are going to become much more popular, and a campervan is a great way to enjoy a holiday both in the UK and in Europe. Single parent holidays can be a challenge when it comes to budget, accommodation, entertainment and organisation. Taking all these into account a campervan holiday should be top of the list for any single parent. And with so many amazing places to see in the UK, hitting the road with children should be a very rewarding experience.
For more single parent holiday ideas in the UK and abroad, check out our other other single parent travel blog posts: