A big question people often ask is ‘Where am I going to park at night?’. Well, fear not, as we will go through everything you need to know in this article, as well as highlight some great resources that are available.
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Caravan and Campervan Clubs
First thing we would recommend is looking at a caravan club, especially if you are new to this. Often, you will find that they offer a lot of information and some even offer classes. You normally pay a membership fee, but if you are planning on travelling a lot, you can easily make this up with discounts. There are a few to choose from, but below are a couple that you may be interested in.
The Caravan and Motorhome Club provides a multitude of membership benefits from financial services, UK site offer, a club shop that offers discounts and many more goodies. The annual fee is £54, which is reasonable when looking at what they offer. They also list their 200+ club sites on the website, as well as 2000+ certified and affiliate sites by location and the amenities they offer.
Another option you could check out is The Camping and Caravanning Club which offer similar resources, but are a bit cheaper when it comes to their yearly membership fees. They offer a digital membership for £40, or you can have printed for £46. Member benefits include insurance and breakdown discounts, purchase discounts, along with campsite discounts. They do seem to have fewer club sites at around 100+ UK wide, but do provide details of over 2000+ certified sites on their website.
Both Clubs offer great options and are perfect if you want easy park-ups, where you know what is available so there are no nasty shocks while you travel. However, if you are looking for a more off grid experience, there are other options.
Campervan Parking APPS
Apps are a fantastic resource, and as we all know, there is an app for everything. There are hundreds of apps out there for you, but we have chosen a couple that we think you will like.
Park 4 Night has a great app and website that that allows users to share places they have parked and what is offered at each location. It also allows you to search for certain amenities and best of all, ITS FREE! There is a paid pro version, but the free version offers you everything you need.
Another great app is WikiCampsUK, which costs 69p and is well worth the money. This allows you to search for campsites and look for amenities and has a trip planner, a satellite compass, and other cool resources that you can use.
Another detail that we should go through is etiquette and there are a few written and unwritten rules that should be followed. When you are parking off grid, these simple rules will help you out immensely.
- Check who owns the property.
You may see a big empty field and think it’s the perfect place to park up for the night and no one will bother you. WRONG! Likelihood is, someone owns that field and you are trespassing. Is there anything to indicate this is private property? Are there parking restriction signs or a sign that indicates it could be a farm? This is more of a common-sense issue, but it could have legal ramifications if your wrong. Also, no one wants to be woken up by angry farmers or police in the middle of the night. So do your checks before tucking in for the night.
- Parking on the road.
If you are considering this option, whether it is in a lay-by or a residential street, there are a few things you should be aware of. Firstly, residential areas are not recommended, but it can be done. If you are planning on having dinner, do it before you park up. People don’t want to look out their window and see you sitting on the pavement eating or cooking. This isn’t very stealthy either. The same can be said for hearing you. Don’t have the TV blaring or your music turned up. This is not respectful of the people that live there and may end up with you being moved on by police. This is also something to consider when parked in a lay-by, as traffic authorities can move you on if they wish to and you have no legal ‘right’ to stay there if this is the case. Additionally, you do need to be aware of normal parking restrictions and weight restrictions.
- Being responsible.
As with driving any vehicle, you need to be mindful of where you are, where you are going and your surroundings. You also must bear in mind how big your campervan is and its manoeuvrability. For example, before going down the tiny winding country road in the middle of nowhere, maybe get out, have a walk and see where it goes. You don’t want to hit a dead end and have nowhere to go. Also, when you park up, as tempting as it sounds to have a nice roaring campfire with a cup of hot chocolate. DON’T! Campfires can be dangerous and cause a lot of damage. The only time you could consider a campfire is if there are the facilities to have one and you have permission. But generally, they are best avoided.
- Don’t litter.
When out and about, make sure you dispose of your rubbish appropriately and stick to leave no trace rules. No one wants to see crisp packets flying around the countryside, or cans and bottles in the river. As well, if you see any rubbish that has been left, it is nice if you can pick it up and do your part in keeping the campsites and the UK in general clean and litter free.
- Keep Pets Safe
When you are parked up, it is a good idea to have your dog on long leash. this keeps your pet safe from moving vehicles and makes others feel safe. As hard as it is to imagine, not everyone feels comfortable around animals. Another good practice with pets, is to make sure you clean up after them. People don’t want to take a nice walk through the woods and suddenly step into the surprise your dog left earlier that day. As a responsible pet owner, you should already do this, but it is worth mentioning on this list.
- Be respectful.
No matter where you are, be mindful of the people around you. While you are on holiday, it’s natural to have a good time. But no one wants to be awoken at the sound of drunken hooligans or loud music. Bear in mind that some people wish to have a quiet relaxing holiday, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to interact with other campers.
When all’s said and done you will find a truly great community on the road and most people are happy to help. So, if you are not sure, just ask. You never know where you might end up or what gems you might find.