The era of the happy camper is now

On holiday this summer? Then you can just be three times as expensive. It is one of the reasons why the sales of motorhomes and caravans have exploded. These are no longer only bought by retirees, but by modern travelers and young families who skilfully take the ‘rut’ out of the slurry hut. Welcome to the era of #vanlife!

A timeline full of photos of infinity pools, yoga retreats and mystical caves in Asia and South America. Fly far, backpack on your back and come home later with all-changing self-insights. Well, that was the only time. Three years ago to be exact, in the carefree days before the corona crisis. Of course you can travel (far) again, but it is less attractive. Mainly because of the sharp rise in prices . And that applies not only to long journeys, but also to ordinary holidays to France, Italy and even your own country. The increase is the result of a dizzying sum of the corona crisis, inflation, the war in Ukraine and the shortage of chips.

Busy & Expensive

To paint a picture: in April you already paid on average 17.7 percent more for an accommodation than a year ago. Do you rent a car in high season? There is a good chance that you have lost three times as much as usual. Add to that the staff shortage in the catering industry and the risk of lengthy queues at Schiphol and the outcome is easy to guess: a ‘regular’ holiday is no longer attractive to everyone, or accessible at all.

But do not be sad. Because without having to fly to Asia for it, the corona crisis has also given us an ‘all-changing self-insight’: you don’t have to travel far for a beautiful holiday. And so Instagram gradually transformed into other trending vacation photos. The infinity pool became an inflatable pool, a Patagonia sweater turned out to be a great #outfitoftheday and a van, camper or caravan regained its charm after years of serving as the showpiece of the retired couple.

“ 'I lived by the motto: camping is dying' 

One of the buyers is Willemijn van Lochem (32) of the Instagram account WilenTien , who became ‘completely sour’ from all the prices when she was looking for a summer holiday for her family with three young children at the beginning of this year. “I searched the regular sites, TUI, AirBnB, Eliza was Here. I didn’t filter for the cheapest option, but certainly not the most expensive either, and each time I came up with around 3000 euros for a week away. One week! Then I thought: we’re not going to do that, it’s just not worth it.”

Drastic decision

A ‘drastic’ decision followed, she says with a laugh. Because until recently Willemijn lived by the motto: ‘camping is dying’, but nevertheless bought a caravan. “I still can’t quite believe it. I used to camp a lot with my parents, and that was really basic, as in: we didn’t even have electricity. So the aversion to camping is deep, but motherhood does crazy things to you Our three boys love to be outside and we enjoy that of course. In addition, we also wanted to go away more often during the year and preferably also for a longer period during the summer holidays. With a caravan you are just very flexible. “

That idea is widely shared. Because in the past ten years there have never been so many new and second-hand caravans sold as at the beginning of this year, according to figures from BOVAG and RDC. That trend started earlier. Since the start of the corona crisis, almost 40,000 campers have been added, which is an increase of 30 percent . The figures also show that the vehicles are becoming increasingly popular among young people and young families: since the start of the corona crisis, the number of people under the age of 45 who bought a second-hand motorhome has increased by 43 percent.

Grab a toiletry bag and go

That change in image has also had an influence on Willemijn, she thinks. “It’s really no longer just for older people on uninviting campsites. I also see that you can make it very cozy. Pinterest and Instagram are full of photos of caravans with prickly light around them, nice rugs and of course you can go wild on the We didn’t overdo it ourselves, but we did make the caravan ‘ready-to-go’, with new cutlery, pans and plates and towels, for example. The idea is that we can leave quickly, that it becomes a matter of grab a toiletry bag and go.”

Another advantage of the caravan is that it is a sustainable alternative to air travel. A trend that Shirley Nieuwland, PhD researcher into sustainable tourism at Erasmus University, is encouraging. She also shares everything about sustainable travel in an ecological and social sense on her Paradise Found platform. “The image of the camper has really changed. It is now more of a cute house on wheels. I see that trend on social media of course, but also in my immediate environment, with a cousin who, for example, very suddenly bought a camper for holidays with her family.”

More souls, less emissions

“The sustainable advantages of a caravan? You travel less far and cause fewer emissions, especially if you travel with several people,” says Nieuwland. driving, your impact on the climate is just as great as if you only travel by plane. But if you make that trip with four people in a car, your impact is just as low as if you go by train. In the case of a car, caravan or motorhome, it pays to travel with several people.”

Of course it is true that you need more fuel with a camper or caravan than if you go by car alone, but Nieuwland expects that you can largely compensate for this with the fact that you do not use accommodation on site, and thus saves on the use of air conditioning, extra towels that need to be washed and possibly a visit to a sauna in the hotel.

Willemijn is now almost at the end of her journey with the caravan through France. The holiday lasted two and a half weeks but felt ‘way too short’. “A good sign! It was just fantastic; very nice to have the luxury of a caravan and still experience the camping feeling. The only thing we want to do differently next time is the amount of campsites, because our children thought it was a shame to leave again and again. So next time we will stay longer in one place. We are already looking forward to that!”

Tips for starting happy campers

What should and should not you do with a caravan or motorhome? What should you think about? Willemijn is in the middle of her holiday with the caravan and already shares a few lessons: 

– Check whether your equipment is suitable for your vehicle: “We missed the right pan for our induction hob and a special kettle. A normal version apparently had too much wattage, it is better to buy a camping kettle.” 

– Be prepared for bad weather: think of rain suits for yourself and possibly children. 

– Take several plastic lockable bins with you! Ideal for storing your shoes outside without them catching rain or insects crawling in them, but also useful as a storage container for toys or dishwashing utensils so that you do not suffer from ants and wasps. 

– A leveler, to level your caravan, is not an unnecessary luxury.

– Keep in mind that it takes longer to cover a distance with a caravan than when you can drive 100 km/h on the highway. And prepare yourself for challenges, such as making a detour because you can’t go through a tunnel. But that too is part of the adventure!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.