Post-lockdown holidays: Back to basics caravanning
As lockdown restrictions start to ease, the UK’s campsites and holiday parks are finally preparing to reopen their gates. The 2020 caravanning holiday experience is going to be a little different to what we’re used to, but it seems we’ve finally got something to look forward to.
So how will the government’s Covid-19 regulations apply to caravanning? Here’s our view of what to expect in terms of on-site rules, the amenities on offer and the wider holiday experience.
Choosing a site: be aware of regional rule variations
Be aware that at any one time, the rules applying to a campsite in the Lake District may be slightly different to, say, the Brecon Beacons, Scottish Highlands or Loch Erne.
Public health decision making is devolved, which means that England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are free to follow their own rules in relation to matters such as wearing masks and which businesses are allowed to operate. As an example, England is currently seeing the introduction of ‘social bubbles’, whereby, under certain circumstances, people living alone can stay the night with loved ones. This may become especially relevant if you are planning on sharing a caravan with someone from outside your household (a grandparent, for instance).
The situation is fluid, so to stay on the right side of the law, check the rules that apply to the specific part of the UK you are travelling to, along with the rules in place at that particular caravan park.
Check for local restrictions
The UK is steadily shifting away from lockdown towards a test, track & trace policy. The goal is to get back to normal for as many people as possible, without risking public safety.
Under test & trace, members of the public are actively encouraged to report the onset of symptoms. The NHS will use this data to see where possible hotspots of infection are breaking out. Deciding on the circumstances, health authorities may then decide to impose restrictions on a local level to bring the outbreak under control.
Tip: to avoid a wasted journey, check for any local restrictions in place before you set off, including any notifications or social media alerts from the caravan park itself.
What rules will I have to follow?
France and Spain are slightly ahead of us in terms of opening up their caravan sites, so their experience can give us useful clues on what to expect here. Some of the larger UK park chains have also released details of the measures they are likely to have in place.
Likely measures include:
Capacity and social distancing. For touring caravans and motorhomes, the layout of sites may be revised to enable larger gaps between individual pitches. This will make it easier for guests to maintain social distancing. It will also serve to reduce the overall volume of people on-site at any time (again, making it easier to observe social distancing).
Toilet, shower and laundry blocks. Sites will need to carefully review their hygiene protocols; something that’s likely to involve more rigorous and regular cleaning regimes. This could mean a longer queue for toilet, shower and washing facilities.
Pools and other leisure facilities. There’s the possibility of chlorinated, outdoor pools being available for use at some sites. However, we can expect to see measures in place to reduce overcrowding, such as removal of poolside seating, along with a system of allocated time slots for pool usage. Team games and kids’ clubs are unlikely to be available.
Food and drink. Indoor bars, restaurants and entertainment areas are likely to be out of bounds, although there may be a possibility of being able to enjoy a meal and a drink where the site has outdoor seating areas. Some sites may let you order food and have it delivered to your caravan.
Check-in. You may find that the procedure for checking in changes too. For example, instead of having to physically report to reception, you may phone ahead and be given directions straight to your pitch.
How will the caravanning experience change?
The gaps between tourer pitches are likely to be bigger. In the case of static caravan parks, you may even find that alternate caravans are left vacant. Of course, it’s all about crowd reduction, and the net result is probably going to be a lot less hustle and bustle on-site. The focus is going to be much more on a relaxed (and highly welcome!) getaway, rather than an action-packed on-site experience.
Family holidays: a base to explore?
In normal times, between the pools, kids’ clubs and evening entertainment, there’s often enough to keep you busy without having to leave the site. This year, the restrictions may mean having to look beyond the park for activities. It’s worth doing your homework before you go, look for things like previously unexplored beaches, walking trails and outdoor parks. Cycling is always a great option: if you’ve never quite got round to fitting a bike rack and taking the bikes with you, this is the ideal year to get it done!
Find out more
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