It is now over nine weeks since ‘the incident’ and without a campervan we have been forced to try other accommodation ideas for our holidays. What this period of exile from our ‘van has done is not only reinforce our love of the campervan lifestyle it has also made me realise how much having a van is a part of me and without it the knowledge that something is missing from my life pervades everything. None of the options we have tried, youth hostels, self-catering cottage, tent and hotel, compared to the sense of freedom we get from travelling in the ‘van. These different holidays had to be booked and organised beforehand and none of them were as relaxing as being in our own campervan. Below is the types of accommodation we have tried and how I found them.
Youth Hostels – We used to do lots of youth hosteling with the YHA and I worked at Buttermere youth hostel for a summer season in the 1990s, so we gave this budget option a try for our first break. Youth Hostels have the big advantage of having a kitchen so we could have home-cooking and remain frugal. The YHA website allows you to book a series of hostels and at between £29 and £39 a night for a room for two this is a good budget option. The kitchens can get busy at meal times but they are sociable places; as we had found in the past, youth hostels are great places to meet and chat to other people. The downside of this is that you can’t find your own space and when I wanted some peace and quiet to sit comfortably chilling and reading my book there wasn’t anywhere to go. Although we had sole use of a room the bunk beds meant that they were not great for lazing around. Youth hostels are also often closed during the day time.
Self-catering cottage – This is much less of a budget option, although you can save a lot on eating out as home-cooking is still an option. We paid £370 for a luxurious cottage for five nights on the edge of the Lake District. We had our own space, could come and go as we pleased and had everything we needed to hand. This was a relaxing and enjoyable holiday that came closest to being as good as the campervan.
Camping in a tent – The weather was warm so we set off with a borrowed tent to camp in the Peak District for a couple of nights. I love being on campsites and so this holiday ticked the box for relaxing on the site watching the world go by. I was less keen on having to run to the toilets first thing in the morning and we were ill prepared with no relaxing chairs or a table. With better equipment and in good weather this is a pleasant option, costs the same as staying on a site in the ‘van and we could cook our meals, although the equipment we had was limited … but in the rain it would be dismal.
Hotel – We paid £90 for a night bed and breakfast in a comfortable hotel in the Yorkshire Dales. Of course, we have stayed in hotels before and generally agree that they are okay for a night or so but after that we yearn for home cooking. In the evening we ate at the local Indian restaurant for £40 for the two of us. For me this makes hotels feel like an expensive option that doesn’t suit us for long holidays.