LIFE ON THE OPEN road isn’t as carefree and inexpensive as it once was. Especially if you prefer to stay in caravan parks.
Park prices have been climbing in recent years, probably for quite legitimate reasons.
Increases in rates, electricity, insurance and the value of what is often prime real estate, are just a few of the factors that force park management to increase their charges just to get a reasonable return on their investment.
But even if the price rises can be justified, the fact is that for many RV travellers those extra dollars are stretching the budget.
Those committed to the security and comfort of a good park may be questioning what they get for their hard-earned dollar...
Fortunately, the days of a slab on a powered site, with mediocre amenities a trek away in the darkness, are long gone.
These days, most parks offer good amenities and a range of facilities and many park managers are working hard to offer travellers even more bang for their buck.
One example is the Nitmiluk Caravan Park, near Katherine in the NT, which now offers its guests free wi-fi – and it’s not the only park to move with the times.
With more than 70% of RV travellers using the internet these days, it really is a no-brainer.
Some parks provide enticements which attract a particular sector of the market.
The Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort
in North Qld, for example, caters well for families (from kids to grandparents) with enough activities and facilities (pools, waterslides, aqua aerobics, jumping pillows, snorkelling lessons, movies and mini-golf to name a few) to keep everyone entertained for a week without having to leave the park.
There are other parks around the countryside doing the same thing.
While these four- and five-star parks aren’t cheap, plenty of families see them as good value for money when it comes to a hassle-free family holiday.
The extras that keep travellers coming back don’t have to be high-tech or overly expensive.
They could be as simple as a free map of the best fishing spots; in-park hire boats; well-maintained gardens; shady sites; a helping hand when backing and unhitching the van; a handy restaurant or takeaway; in-park entertainment; friendly happy hours or a weekly barbecue that gets everyone together for a social evening.
The fact is that the extras can be as varied as the travellers, and what makes one traveller happy to pay an inflated fee, will have others heading for the nearest roadside rest area.
Have your say: What extras do you look for in a caravan park?
What sort of package has you happily reaching into your pocket to pay those supposedly inflated fees?
There could be a few park owners reading this blog so tell them (and the rest of us) what makes you feel like you’re getting value for your hard-earned money.
WORDS AND PICS Steve Farmer
Written exclusively for Caravan World online