Buying your first Holiday Home is exciting, however it can also be a bit confusing. With that in mind we’ve created a little helpful guide, with tips from current owners, to make the journey a bit easier…
“We love our holiday home because of the freedom to come and go whenever we like.”
~ Linda and John Bennet, holiday home owners at Lakeland
It’s the owners that make our parks special.
Every spot we have on the coast has that friendly, community vibe. And everybody within those communities was, at some point, just like you – looking to buy their first home away from home.
So, we figured it’d be good to listen to them and get some tips on how to make the right decision in the first place.
We took some advice from our park managers too.
Below, you can find my notes – all tidied up into what’s hopefully a handy guide for you at this stage of the decision-making process.
If there’s anything I’ve missed that you’d like to know about, just let me know in the comments and I’ll get back to you. We can even update the guide with your questions and the answers, so everyone else can benefit too (and you’ll be helping us bring that community vibe to our blog).
Picking a location
Most owners reckon this is the best place to start as you’ll properly be spending a lot of time here!
We asked Chris, who works at our Perran Sands Holiday Park, what are the three most asked questions he gets from potential owners:
- How far am I willing to travel?
The general advice is to aim for a park no more than two hours away from home (especially if you’re travelling with little ones).But if you’ve got your heart set on a certain location that’s far away, there are ways to compromise.
One of our owners in Cornwall has a four-hour drive to the park. But the family have a soft spot for the area (who can blame them?). In cases like this, the owners usually visit the park fewer times throughout the year, but for longer periods. There are always ways to make it work for you.
- How close is it to the local attractions, national parks, restaurants, beaches, walks & shops?
Some parks have direct beach access and some are built-in to nature walks – it all depends on what you’re looking for.Some of our parks are even included on the local bus route – so you can reach the big attractions easily.
- Why this area, or that area?
If you like independent shops and a village-like community atmosphere, then Cornwall could be the spot for you. Or you prefer being only a short drive away from a city, like Blackpool, then our Marton Mere Holiday village may be perfect for you
Basically, the owners believe it’s important to get a real-life feel for the different areas you might be thinking of. Some owners pick their location based on places they already know – through family, jobs, or previous holidays.Some go for something totally new … but they usually sample the area first.
Beyond all this, the bulk of advice is centred on what you and your family want from your second home.
Every Haven park is child-friendly. And it’s pretty much impossible for children to get bored with us (we’ve got a team of FunStars making sure of that).
But when it comes to the area outside the park, some places are more suited towards young explorers, some are more suited to thrill-seekers and some are perfect for the quiet ones. And the majority of spots have something for everybody.
It’s good to think about the type of day trips you and the family will love, I love the idea of the local shop owners getting to know me over time and vice versa. And so I’d probably aim for the more rural-based areas myself.
Once you have a good idea of what everybody wants, you can check out all the best things to do – then check the travel times, costs and convenience of each activity (plus the reviews).
It sounds like a lot. But this extra bit of homework on the area is well worth doing in the beginning – before you even think about the park or caravan model itself.
Tip: Keep an eye on this blog and the Haven Holidays blog for our focus weeks – we zoom in on different areas each time,and we end up learning loads to share with you.
Chris even let us in on a little secret…. some of the local businesses around Perran Sands actually give discounts to our park owners Why not ask about this when you visit the parks of your choice? The community vibe spreads beyond the park itself.
Another tip:We’re currently looking into local events and festivals throughout the UK. If you sign up to the blog, you’ll be the first to know when we publish the event listings (pop your email address into the box on the right and click the purple subscribe button – it’s all free)
Picking a park
There’s no other way to do this than by asking questions … loads of questions. And I’ve got a good way for you to get the answers coming up.
But first, let’s take a look at the main questions to think about when choosing a holiday park:
- How much are the caravans there?
- How much are the site fees?
- How long can I stay?
- What facilities are there?
- What kind of benefits do I get on that park?
- What kind of services are available to me on-park?
- What kind of things happen on the park for owners?
And here’s some more …
- What’s the support team like?
- When was the last renovation?
- Is it getting better all the time?
- How big is it?
- How many holiday homes are there?
- What are the other owners like? (age, family-size, lifestyle)
- How close is it to the beach and all the local attractions?
- What are the reviews like?
At Haven, different things are going on all year at the different parks.
From wine-tasting nights to themed parties, each park has its own collection of treats for the owners.
There was a Caribbean pool party at Church Farm in August. And a ‘Full Moon’ camping night (on the golf course!). We might be a bit random, but we know how to make a lot of fun memories.
Now, I mentioned that I have a good way for you to get hold of the answers to all of the questions above (and any more you might have), so here it is:
Visit the park yourself and ‘try before you buy’ (you don’t have to buy anything to get the VIP visit, it’s all up to you).
It’s a chance to experience the day as an owner, talk to the other owners and throw all your questions at the Haven team
If you already have a park in mind, just click here to arrange your park visit.
If you’re still looking at all the different spots along the coast, then pop over to our regions and parks page to learn all about them.
And if you have any more questions to add to the list, feel free to drop them in a comment beneath this post – we’ll try to get the answers published here for you and everybody else.