Affordable holiday homes, etc (SSPish)

Slapped a probably-defensive SSP on this for two reasons:

  • the old MH is on the floor so I’m looking for some productive and sympathetic advice.

  • didn’t want a discussion about second homes (of a kind) to develop into abstract arguments about money, as can happen on here. I’m pretty poor and it’s not great.

Specifically wanted to ask if anyone has had any joy having a regular place to escape to on a budget - maybe a second-hand caravan, a camper or adjusted van, narrow boat, or an old static home, etc.

Been looking into static caravans. Most definitely not affordable. Wondering if it would be possible to source an old caravan and pay a farmer a bit of money to store it. Probably a daft idea.

Any suggestions?

Personal experience, but we used to have a camper van and in total honesty the upkeep of it and all the shitty things that went wrong with it outweighed the benefit of it. I would caveat that I’m not particularly mechanically minded and it did seem to have a lot of particularly shitty issues.
My MIL is looking for a place in England, probs a caravan and yeah, the prices are crazy and seemingly getting crazier


We’ve thought about this a lot.

Static caravans are, as you say, mega pricey on a holiday site. I think the only way they become affordable is if you can find a few other people to go in on one with you.

I’ve been considering getting a normal towing (touring) caravan. But that’s fairly pricey too. And you have to pay for storage if you can’t keep it on your drive. It does off more flexibility though (albeit at the cost of less space).

TBH though, we’ve enjoyed privately renting other people’s static caravans in different places for the last few years. This has been:

a) affordable (just had a week in Somerset for £400)
b) varied (you’re not stuck in the same place each year)
c) you have the space of a static without the faff of a tourer


Friends have just bought a static caravan near Abersoch. Cost about £25000 for a second hand one and it’ll only have another 5-10 years that it’ll still be usable, after which it will be almost completely worthless. Add site fees and bills on top of that and the amount you’re paying a week, even if you’re there really often, seems like absolute madness to me.

Also have to ask yourself if you really want to keep getting away to the same place all the time and wouldn’t be better off just keeping some money aside so you can just Teletext yourself away somewhere at a moment’s notice.


I costed getting a static caravan. The killer is that they depreciate to effectively nothing within twenty years. Not because they deteriorate, but because sites have dodgy rules about their supposed length of life. They’re perfectly habitable after that in most cases.

Also, extra costs on average come to £4k a year and go up by about 4% annually. Total cost would literally equal a year’s salary or more to buy, a week’s wages every month to run, then a largely worthless pile of metal after twenty years.

Never doable in a million years for me.

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Vans and campers are absolute money sinks, you’d spend less money just booking into the Hilton every time you fancied it.

I have a biggish tent from decathlon that cost less than €200, big bedroom and room
in the awning to set up a table and chairs for 2 people (and stand up).

Buy an electric power point and you’re set up just as comfortably as any caravan imo


Not sure I agree with this. Most touring caravans have:

  • fixed beds with good mattresses
  • wet central heating
  • showers with unlimited hot running water (on a serviced pitch)
  • walls to keep out more noise
  • fridges and ovens
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Pfff, Who need water? Honestly.


holy crap


Always liked the idea of getting some massive, expensive campervan and going around the country with the family.
Then stayed in a static caravan for a week with the wife and kids, about the same size or bigger than those massive winnebagos, and it was hell on Earth. Like sardines in a can. Couldn’t pay me to go again.
So that saved me about £50k I never had.


Have you looked at something like a timeshare or apartment hotel? Isle of Man might be good for you. You can always do swaps or exchanges if you get bored of going to the same place

It’s not something I’ve done myself but it’s something others have considered. I think it depends on a number of factors:

  • how good you are at fixing things up / repairing things yourself (and how much time / energy you’d have)
  • how often you’d be looking to go away per year
  • how flexible you’d be prepared to be in terms of location.

As others have said, campervans are either (a) a money sink or (b) a significant initial investment that you’d need to recoup by going away quite regularly. My friends have just bought a van (imported Nissan) and are currently away most weekends, but they retired early.

I don’t think the idea of sourcing an old caravan and paying a farmer to store it is such a bad idea - I’ve known a few people within my field of work who’ve done this (i.e. people who struggle in mainstream accommodation and just want to be away from others) and it’s worked out okay for them. Again, the caravan will have need regular maintenance and will have a limited lifespan but it might work out well if you’re using it a couple of weekends a month.

Also - and just thinking out loud here: I wonder whether there’d be much appetite for a DiS house-swap / house-sitting scheme? It needs a lot of thinking through but a few of us live in areas that are pretty good as bases for exploring (e.g. Norfolk, the south west, parts of Scotland etc - apologies to anyone I’ve overlooked but these are just a few examples off the top of my head).

I’d need to talk to Mrs CCB (who might think it’s mad) and also there are probably insurance implications etc, but I’d be open to the idea of lending my house to a trusted, ‘regular’ DiSer if they needed somewhere inexpensive as an escape while we were away.


House swapping was a thing for a while wasn’t it but feels like Airbnb just killed it off.

My mate bought an old Ford transit for maybe 10k and has completely refitted it into a little camper van. She already had a jig saw and a few other tools and is generally quite handy so she sawed a skylight in, insulated it, built a fold out bed and all sorts. It took her about 7 months of working on it during weekends but now she goes off in it for weekends quite regularly. The only issue is she doesn’t have toilet facilities.

If you’re up for a project, I know it’s been hugely beneficial to her.


I’ve often thought this. Especially as a direct swap…

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I know someone who’s got a narrow boat. They’re very expensive, too, I’m afraid. Not just buying it, but there’s annual costs, too (mooring fees, boat license, annual safety certificate - a bit like an MOT).

You can hire them, but from what I recall, it’s only worth doing if you’re in a big group: it’s not really affordable if you just want to potter about on your tod for a few days.

I’d like to do up a van, for the project as much as anything, had saved a bit & was gonna do it before lockdown but that got fucked. might do it later this summer when work calms down.

want to be able to store my bike inside as well which makes it awkward

It’s all about the house swaps for us this year, and it’s working out for us, but that’s mainly because we live in a place where people will want to swap with us, and we know people who live in places we would want to visit too, who also have similar sized properties. I think it as soon as there’s asymmetric relationships then things wouldn’t work so well.

Are there cat sitting websites you could sign up to? Offering to stay in peoples houses and feed their cats while they’re away?

Just want to echo what people say about caravans. We bought ours off our neighbours’ parents, it cost us £3500 - a huge bargain - which took us a couple of years to save up. My parents were blissfully unaware they’d have to fork that over and over again each year :dizzy_face: