It’s official: caravanning is now cool.
According to a report in the U.K.’s Observer, style magazines have long been celebrating the retro charms of the caravan, but figures from the Caravan Club – a British recreational vehicle consumer organization – seem to confirm that holidays on wheels are enjoying something of a revival.
More new members joined the Caravan Club last month than ever before in its 100 year history, with a record breaking 7,210 people signing up, compared to the normal monthly average of 5,600 new members.
Nikki Nichol of the Caravan Club said the heat wave in July and the security crisis at UK airports in August were contributing factors to the recent surge in popularity.
However, it’s the new generation of enthusiasts who have helped give the hobby an image makeover, opting for revamped VWs and luxury motorhomes.
“Caravanning has become very fashionable,” said Nichol. “Young couples who want to go surfing or traveling are trying it, as are families and retirees, and it’s been made stylish by the revival of the VW Campervan and designer Airstream caravans, which were recently adapted for narrow European roads.”
Jay Kay, singer with the band Jamiroquai, recently purchased a Knaus C Liner, an ultra-hip motorhome that resembles a luxury car, with leather seats, alloy wheels and metallic body.
“It’s new launches like the C-Liner or the Airstream that are helping change the perception of motorhomes and opening up a whole new audience,” said Sam North, manager of the International Caravan and Motorhome Show.
Caravanning is now the most popular paid-for UK holiday and accounts for 17% of all vacations taken in Britain – the Caravan Club now has around 936,000 members.
“More people are realizing that you have total freedom on a caravan holiday: you don’t need to worry about hand luggage and airport security, and the good weather this summer has certainly encouraged people to enjoy their holidays in the UK,” said Nikki Nicholl.
Manufacturers are now incorporating cutting-edge technology such as power showers into the wide range of motorhomes on the market.
In 2005, some 8,800 new motorhomes were registered in the UK, and a 10,000 drivers are expected to purchase their first motorhome this year.