9th September 2016
Thoughts of a summer holiday may automatically conjure images of a 2-week, pool-side package deal but can a caravan or motorhome offer an alternative to the all-inclusive deals? What’s more, if you’re considering a cross-channel caravanning trip, is it really a relaxing way to explore other countries?
“Your holiday starts here” is a well-used headline in the travel sector but limited airline baggage allowances, departure lounge blues and shuffling towards security with your shoes in a plastic tray make me think otherwise. Folks who have just bought a leisure vehicle, or those thinking of doing so, may feel the same about towing abroad but, fear not, as the roads are far quieter than those in the UK and once you’re ‘dialed-in’ to driving on the right (following some of your fellow ferry passenger for a few minutes helps enormously), you’ll begin to see why so many caravans and motorhomes escape to the continent each year. Cross Channel ferries are roomier than you may think and parking on board is as simple as following instructions from the team in hi-vis. If you’d like to see what I mean, click the video link below.
Our summer holiday escape began with a Portsmouth to St Malo crossing with Brittany Ferries and a family-friendly site just 40-minutes from the port. Chateau de Gailinee (booked through The Caravan Club) is an easy tow with wide, quiet roads for the most part with the narrower bits near journey’s end being quieter still. Pitches are super-sized compared to the UK but it’s the location and site facilities where the rivalry between package deal and home-on-wheels begins. Swimming pools are at the top of Poppy’s & Charlie’s wish lists, slides into said pools run a close second and, unsurprisingly, a beach nearby completes their top 3. I’m a big fan of spontaneity, especially when visiting another country, with things to do for the day being decided after a cup of tea and a croissant or two from the boulangerie. Walled City of St Malo - check. Discovering the perfect beach when out on a cycle ride – check. Lounging by the pool while Charlie attempted to set a new slide-related Guinness World Record – check.
If you’ve yet to try a leisure vehicle holiday – summer season or otherwise - this is where they come into their own as you don’t need to hire a car to explore your surroundings, you already know the accommodation is 5 star-rated and, best of all, because the kids are sleeping in their own beds, they don’t suffer from strange room insomnia. To top it all, you’re free to pack push-bikes, BBQ, dingy, jars or Marmite, sarongs, speedos or whatever you need for the perfect holiday. Weight limits permitting, of course.
Should you fancy a change of scenery the leisure vehicle trumps all-inclusive every time as changing your surroundings is as simple as hitching-up and heading off. Can your travel agent compete with that?