Many of the UK’s caravan and motorhome sites are back open for business – and as the nation gets to grips with the notion of no foreign holidays for a while, the staycation business is booming. But what does a caravan or motorhome holiday look like in the post-COVID-19 world? Wrapper takes a look at what sites are doing to keep everyone safe, and offers tips on what you can do to make your trip a bit easier…
Campers, caravanners and motorhome owners are pitching and hitching like never before. But with coronavirus still prevalent and government restrictions still in place, things look a little different for anyone booking in at one of the thousands of sites around the UK.
Caravan and motorhome sites are taking the pandemic every bit as seriously as you would want them to, and most have implemented new processes and procedures aimed at ensuring the safety of their guests and staff. Pitches are more spread out to aid social distancing. Access to facilities is in many cases restricted. Regular deep cleaning is being undertaken across the board, and on-site shops and restaurants are operating under strict government guidelines.
Across the land, the tourism industry is rising to meet the challenge head-on. More than 11,000 businesses, including many thousands of camping, caravan and motorhome sites, have enrolled in the VisitBritain ‘We’re Good to Go’ scheme, a self-assessed accreditation designed to demonstrate how hard individual sites are working to follow UK Government guidelines around cleanliness and social distancing amid COVID-19.
But the onus for keeping everybody safe is not just on the sites themselves – as a caravan or motorhome owner, you also have a part to play. Here are just a few of the things you can do to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly and as safely as possible…
Most sites will have rearranged their pitches to facilitate social distancing, so there is likely to be reduced capacity at many of them. This alone will necessitate booking ahead. But there will be an additional need for site managers to keep on top of their track-and-trace systems, and pre-booking will help them with that. The more they know about who is coming, when they’re coming and where they’re coming from, the better they will be able to react in the event of a coronavirus outbreak on-site. Booking ahead will also make it easier for sites to operate self-service checking in while reception blocks are closed.
Remember your gloves, masks and hand sanitisers
On-site shops, facilities, cafes and clubs may well require visitors to wear a face mask, so be sure to pack yours. You might also find it useful to have a pair of latex gloves that you can use around the site while filling your water tank or operating the hook-up, and a good amount of hand sanitiser is a necessity for use both on-site and when you head out and about.
Take everything with you
If not getting your local-bacon butty in the morning is going to ruin your day, you might want to plan ahead and take it with you, because the chances are the on-site shop won’t have it. At sites where shops, cafes and clubs have reopened, there’s likely to be a reduction in either the services available or the items for sale, so it would be wise to take as much with you as you can. This includes things like gas, which many sites aren’t selling at the moment.
Basically, if you can’t do without it, take it with you.
Use your own facilities
Because of social distancing measures and increased cleaning schedules, many sites will have either fewer facilities available or reduced capacity at the facilities that are open. Luckily, as a caravan or motorhome owner you will be bringing many of your facilities with you, so toileting, showering, washing up, etc. can be done in the comfort of your own rig, without the need for masks and hand-sanitiser.
Facilities like cafes, children’s play centres and laundries may well be closed, so be sure to check what’s happening at the site you’re booked in at, especially if those things are a deal-breaker for you.
Be aware that those facilities that are open will likely be operating a one-in, one-out system, and the regular cleaning being carried out by site staff may put them out of action at certain times. You can also expect to see measures like floor markings to aid social distancing, and hand-sanitiser stations positioned outside facility blocks.
Don’t have visitors
Most (if not all) sites are operating a blanket ban on visits by non-guests, so if you want to meet up with friends during your holiday you will have to arrange to do so off-site. Site managers need to ensure they can participate in the government’s track-and-trace system effectively and can’t have just anybody wandering around. Most guests probably wouldn’t be happy with that idea either.
If you’re getting together with friends who are also staying on site, be sensible about it – stay outdoors wherever possible, and abide by social distancing guidelines at all times. You want the only things you’re taking home to be a renewed sense of peace and some happy memories – not a dose of coronavirus.
Be aware that local lockdowns might affect a site’s ability to operate, and that guidelines and restrictions are constantly being reviewed. Check with individual sites ahead of your planned visit to make sure they’re still open, and update yourself with the latest government guidelines and advice so you know what to expect. The last thing you want is to hitch up and drive for hours, only to be turned away at the gates. Keeping up to date with the latest guidance will help you avoid disappointment, and will at least give you a chance of rebooking for a different time and/or place.
Stay safe. Be sensible. And happy touring!
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