A Comprehensive Guide to Living in a Caravan in the UK
The ability to go wherever you want and live wherever you like is something many people dream of, simply wake up in the morning, pack your things up and drive off to a new location for the day. It’s a life known as ‘full-timing’ and more and more people are doing it year on year instead of the conventional style of living at a fixed address.
There are plenty of reasons why people would want to do this from full freedom of life to saving money not having to shell out on rent/a mortgage and all the other bills that come with living in a property.
You may be wondering what the pros and cons to such a lifestyle would be, how do you get your post? What happens if you have an accident or your car/caravan breaks down? We are here to help and look at how easy it would be to live on the road.
Firstly though, we must answer if it is legal to live in a caravan. The answer to this is yes, there are currently no laws that would prohibit someone from buying a caravan and living in it, the only legalities involved are making sure that the towing vehicle is of roadworthy condition and is taxed and insured.
There are however some grey areas to this which we will cover, the first being that you cannot live in a caravan parked on a street. It is strictly frowned upon to simply park your caravan up on a public highway and live in it and you will be asked to move very quickly by the council.
You also cannot live in a caravan park, the parks do not have relevant licensing for this and it is illegal to do so which is why you will see lots of seasonal pitches having maximum limits for how long you can stay.
Although it is not illegal to live in a caravan all year long, it does pose many issues about where you can live, we’ve established that you cannot live on a caravan site all year long and you cannot just park up on a residential street, so where can you go?
You have a few options, you could firstly live on caravan sites within the allotted time that they have given you before packing up and finding a new site to live on and rotate this around every 2-3 weeks, however this could get messy and rather frustrating.
Another option would be to live on private land with the owner’s permission which would work fine in principal, but if you are not hooked up to gas or electricity, you will find yourself running into problems very quickly, not only that but you are required to have planning permission to do so which can be a tedious process.
There are increasing numbers of residential parks in the UK that feature park homes which owners can use as a second home or as their only residence with some parks willing to let people put caravans on part of the site for year-round occupation.
Pros and cons
Cheaper – As mentioned, it is cheaper to live out on the road than it is living in a house, no need to worry about gas and electric bills, a mortgage and rent? Not an issue. Council tax? What is that?!
No permanent address – The ability to choose where you live day to day is a luxury, don’t like your area? That’s fine you can simply drive off and find somewhere else.
Easier to clean – We all know that housework is a chore not many like to do, a smaller caravan is very simple to clean and maintain cleanliness saving you lots of time.
Meeting new people – Being on the road opens up opportunities to be able to meet new people and see new faces every single day and form new friendships, it’s not something you’d be able to do if you were stuck in the same place all of the time.
Adds change to your life – Similar to the previous point, every single day your life will be different thanks to the flexibility of being able to go wherever, you can see new people and do new things every day.
No permanent address – Having no permanent address is both a pro and a con, yeah it’s fantastic to not be tied down anywhere however not having an address opens up many issues including paying bills, getting mail and making transactions where an address is needed.
Thankfully there are companies that will act as a post box for you and for a monthly fee will open your address and scan the letters to you every day, these companies will also allow you to use their address for proof of residence.
Doing laundry – Normally when you need to wash your clothes you simply put them in the washing machine, living on the road makes this a little more difficult and you will need to look at laundromats or campsite facilities, alternatively you can learn to handwash your clothes.
Not much space – A lack of space could be an issue, especially if you’re living with someone, the ability to have some alone time is not possible, and you will have to share a small bathroom and small bedroom, not ideal.
Messiness can be an issue – A caravan is much easier to get messy especially as it is small and compact space, definitely something to consider.
No local doctor or dentist – When on the road if you need to see a dentist or a doctor it can be trickier if you are a long way away from where you are registered, thankfully there are now nationwide doctor and dentist services available.
Weather – You must be ready for all occasions, whether it be too hot or too cold or torrential rain, make sure you are prepared.
Truthfully, if you want to downsize and live away from home and on wheels, we’d recommend a motorhome over a caravan.