The True Cost Of Caravanning

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Caravans, like cars can cost you any number you care to mention. It depends on your budget and how much you’ll use it. Assuming you’ve bought a caravan. Now what? What other expenses are involved.

You’ll need a few of things before you go on your first trip. But what will you need when you rock up to your first caravan site, without people saying “all the gear and no idea?” ( I’m assuming you have nothing but a caravan and a tow car )

If you’ve purchased one from a dealer, then they probably tried to sell you everything you need and really, it’s a flipping long list. You might already have some of the things you need, like, I don’t know, cutlery and bed sheets. In this case you can of course take some from your home with you. However, we find it a good idea to buy stuff specifically for the caravan, otherwise you forget stuff. Also, if your caravan is in storage, you’re bound to come home and leave stuff in the caravan you need.

Think about what you need when living in a house;  water, electricity, a toilet, everything you take for granted you also need when holidaying in a caravan. Makes sense right? Of course it does, but I’ve lost count of how much stuff we’ve forgotten when going on holiday in our caravan, it’s embarrassing! Something silly like forgetting the TV remote control, is very annoying, therefore, making a list might be a good idea to start with.

Necessities

Water

Why do you need water? Well, apart from drinking, we might need to wash dishes and wash yourself of course. You could probably get away without having it but you’d be relying on bottled water and washing up at the on site facilities and using the shower block. You’ll need a container to put the fresh water into. Something like an Aquaroll will cost you about £50. Here’s the sort of thing available on Amazon.
Sale
Hitchman 40AQ Aquaroll, 40 Liter, Beige*
  • Hitchman 40 litre Aquaroll
  • Best selling portable water carrier that rolls across the ground
  • Comes with filler hose and tap connector
  • Features collapsible, removable handles
  • Can be used with the mains adaptor to provide a continuous fresh water supply

Electricity

Unless you’re into wild camping – living off grid like an 1970’s hippy – you’ll need to plug stuff in. Think of phone charges, the kettle and hair straighteners they all need electricity. So you’ll need a special cable that plugs into your caravan, then into the Electric HookUp Point on site. One of these orange things is pretty much what everyone uses. A 25metre electric cable will cost you about £30
25m Orange Caravan / Camping Hook up Extension Lead Cable with 16 amp Blue Plug and Socket*
  • 16A Male Plug and Coupler (Socket) commonly used on UK Caravan and Camping Sites
  • High visibility orange cable
  • Constructed to Relevant British Standards
  • Great Quality product can be used time and time again

Waste Water

So, you’ve washed the dishes and emptied the sink, but where does all that waste water go? Well, if you haven’t got a waste container, it’s poured all over the pitch. Waste water (not from toilet) is collected in a container that needs emptying when it’s full. This is sometimes called “grey waste”. A grey waste container can cost anything from £20 – £50.
45 LITRE WASTE CADDY. SLIM-LINE ON WHEELS (Previously Pyramid)*
  • Streetwize 45 LITRE WASTEHOG. Waste container on wheels (Previously Pyramid)

Toilet Fluid

You need two types of toilet fluid usually pink and blue in colour (although the blue can also be green as a nod to our environmental friends) Pink goes in the water that’s used to flush the loo and the blue / green goes in the toilet cassette which will need emptying. I always use more than I need to ensure no foul smells interrupt my sleep!
Pink and Blue can be bought for under £20

Caravan Step

You’ll of course need to get into the caravan, a step is the way to do it. These are priced around £15-£30

Royal 199100 Single Deluxe Step Non-Slip, Grey*
  • Strong, rigid tubular steel construction
  • Quality non-slip tread
  • Dimensions (H x L x W): 25.5 x 43 x 35 cm
  • Maximum weight capacity 150 kg
  • With a manageable weight of 2.01kg and a height of 25.5cm, it is easily transported in your caravan.
Royal 199200 Deluxe Double Step Non-Slip, Grey*
  • Made from steel to offer that extra strength
  • Ideal for use with caravans, motorhomes, 4 x 4's and also help the disabled in and out of vehicles
  • Each step has a non slip rubber surface
  • Fitted with steel cross members for additional strength
Sale
Milenco - Giant Double Step*
  • Step Height: 20cm / 39cm
  • Tread Size: 50cm x 27cm
  • Base size: 72cm x 61cm approx.

Leisure Battery

You might need a leisure battery, this will power things like a motor mover as well as lights and water pump when not connected to mains electric. We recently purchased one with our caravan from a dealer and it was around £120.

Yuasa L36-100 12V 100Ah 900A Leisure Battery*
  • Optimised for repeated charging & discharging
  • Original equipment quality & specification
  • Supplied charged & ready to fit
  • Enhanced safety features including integrated flame arrestor and carry handle
  • Up to 1380 watt hours and up to 160 cycles
Deep Cycle Leisure Battery 12V 75AH SuperBatt LM75 Battery Caravan Motorhome, Marine Boat*
  • Voltage: 12V ; Capacity: 75AH (C100) ; CCA 650A
  • Dimensions (size) - L 278mm x W 175mm x H 175mm (H - Including Terminals)
  • Dual Purpose (Starting & Auxiliary) Leisure & Marine Heavy Duty Long Life Battery
  • Maintenance Free with Advance Calcium Technology
  • 2 Years Manufacturer Warranty

Gas Bottle

You’ll want to cook something. Gas can also be used to power the fridge if you have no mains available. When you initially get a gas bottle (cylinder) it’s more expensive as you have to pay a deposit on the bottle. We recently bought a 6kg Calor bottle for just over £60. However, to refill it is about £23. You can get refillable bottle from Safeill, these are over £100 to buy but refills are cheaper. However, not everywhere lets you refill bottles, so be aware of this and do some research up front.

Security Devices

You’ll want to sleep at night knowing you’ve done all you can to deter a criminal settling your pride and joy. You can buy cheaper locks, but these are considered premium items, cheaper ones are less than half the price. Check any insurance policies as there my be a section telling you that you need to keep the security devices on at all times, even when on site.

  • Hitch Lock: £200
  • Wheel Lock: £200
  • Leg Lock Nuts: £25
Maypole 5412C Stronghold-ALKO HITCHLOCK Sold Secure, Brown, One size*
  • Stronghold hitch hock (Alko) - Sold Secure NOTE:The Black and Grey handle on the image is part of a caravan and is used for illustration purposes only.
  • Hitch lock for use on AL-KO AK130, AK160, AKS1300, AKS2004, AKS3004 and AKS3504 couplings (including the new 2012 range)
  • Sold Secure tested and approved at Caravan Gold standard
  • Easy to fit hitched or unhitched, and a high-visibility deterrent
  • Comes with a handy storage case and plastic ball for extra security for fitting unhitched
Saracen Hitch Lock AL-KO purpleline*
  • Saracen Hitch Lock ALKO Purpleline
  • Suitable for ALKO AK130 AK160 AKS1300 AKS2004 AKS3004
  • Carry case
  • Security hitch ball
  • Lock protector
Maypole MP956 Hitch*
  • Hitchlock for Alko hitches
  • For Alko hitches: AK130, AK160, AKS1300, AKS2004 and AKS3004
  • Immobilises hitch to prevent tow-away theft
  • Highly visible deterrent
Sale
Stoplock Anti-Theft Wheel Clamp For Small Cars Vehicles Trailers Caravans HG 400-00 - Fits 13 to 15 Inch Wheels*
  • STOP THEFT of your vehicle with a wheel clamp from vehicle security expert Stoplock
  • QUICK and easy to fit, it is also compact enough to keep in the boot
  • FITS wheels 13 to 15 Inch (330 to 382 mm) great for small vehicles, trailers, caravans
  • GUARANTEED for 5 years has 10, 000 key combinations includes 3 keys and a flashing LED
  • HIGHLY VISIBILE bright yellow which can be seen from a distance and deters thieves
Purpleline Fullstop Excalibur Wheel Clamp*
  • Purpleline Excalibur Caravan Wheel Lock
  • Will it fit onto steel wheels? * It will not fit this type of wheel.
  • What is the weight?
  • What is the weight? * Approximately 7.5kg .
So far:
  • Water Container: £50
  • Electric Hookup Cable: £30
  • Waste Container: £50
  • Toilet Fluid: £20
  • Step: £20
  • Battery: £120
  • Security: £425
  • Gas £65
Total: £780

Other things you will need, but might already have

Plates, bowls, mugs, cutlery
Bed linen
Towels, tea towels

Other Ongoing Costs

You’ll in all likelihood want to insure your caravan, you might also need to keep it in storage. There are yearly services, but no tax or MOT. Insurance will cost around £300 – this of course varies greatly on the type of cover you want and the caravan you have. Storage could cost as much as £600 a year, you can no doubt get it cheaper, so farms have storage facilities. Servicing I’d allow around £200.
Added to this you of course have the cost of the holiday itself; site fees not forgetting fuel.

Additional Items

These are what I’d consider luxury items, others may also consider these essential!
  • BBQ
  • Awning
  • Outside Chairs
  • Outside Table
  • Levelling blocks
There are seemingly no end to bits and pieces you can buy. For many it’s a hobby as well as something to go on holiday in. These prices will vary and are meant as a guide.
If that lot hasn’t put you off, why not have a look at our article on why you should buy a caravan

*Last update on 2021-03-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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