Caravans vs Cabins

I’ve noticed recently a concerning trend in a few caravan parks in South Australia, and that is the heavy investment in cabins over caravan spaces.

In a few caravan parks, spaces that were once prime caravan sites have been sacrificed for permanent onsite cabins which is really disappointing to current caravan owners, and the hundreds more who have caught the bug since other forms of holidays were put on hold for a while.

A recent consumer report from the Caravan Industry Association of Australia had a number of really interesting key findings which I think point to caravan and camping holidays booming, now and into the foreseeable future. Some of their latest report findings include the following.

  • With the worst of Covid hopefully behind us and despite overseas concerns and flooding along the east coast, Australians are feeling more confident and ready to travel. Consumer confidence however, is down due to rising inflation, increased cost of living and high fuel prices. To me this means more people looking for the least expensive holidays.
  • Despite challenges, this sector remains resilient and more than 60% of survey respondents plan to go caravan or camping, with high demand expected over the coming summer period.
  • High fuel prices and uncertainty around a resurgence in Covid infections has seen a change in travel decisions, with many choosing to stay longer in one place and travel shorter distances. The majority of Australians in this sector, are not considering delaying or cancelling caravan and camping trips. It’s a fairly consistent and resilient sector.
  • As expected there is a difference in financial confidence according to the ages of consumers with younger age groups being more pessimistic about their long term finances compared to older (retired) segments. This to me, suggests that older people and those with their own caravans are the higher segment looking at travelling.
  • Of those planning to travel 94% of caravan and campers said they would be staying in a caravan park and 96% would be planning a regional holiday. Another interesting fact was that 79% of respondents had their next caravan or camping trip planned for some time in the next 6 months showing that caravan parks had plenty of guaranteed forward bookings to rely on in future. 78% of those planned a holiday of 4+ nights.
  • Questions around overseas travel plans showed that 56% of respondents had no plans to travel internationally, with that percentage only decreasing slightly over the next two years. The range of ages without international travel plans was fairly equal with the exception of the 65+ range (grey nomads) who were less likely to travel internationally.

One look at those statistics and speaking from our own experiences travelling around the regions in SA, shows that caravanning is more popular than ever, so I can’t quite understand why caravan parks would be sacrificing caravan spaces.

If any more evidence was needed, Australia currently has around 820,000 registered caravans and RVs, and according to the Caravan Industry Association there was an increase of 70,000 over the past 18-24 months.

I understand that grants have probably been made available for caravan parks to use to increase visitation, but to me it would seem to make sense to use the money to upgrade or rebuild existing cabins and put the rest into improving or increasing the ablutions and amenities or making caravan site improvements. This was another option for the way that grants could be used by caravan parks.

If caravan parks believe that by having more cabins they will pick up international travellers when that becomes more consistent again, I think they are doing a disservice to the regular caravanners in Australia. Unless the caravan park is a tropical oasis on the beachfront with consistent warm weather and lots of shopping, dining and services nearby, or in an area of peak interest to overseas visitors, then I think some caravan parks could actually be harming future business.

For caravan travellers the lack of good park sites is reason enough to select your caravan park carefully, and spend your time and money where you’re more catered to. I haven’t found any studies that show families or couples are planning to spend money on expensive cabin accommodation for holidays in the near future, especially when the family budget is being stretched more.

A family caravan or camping holiday on the other hand is something that many can aspire to throughout the year, especially with people looking to get back to the simple things in life.



7 thoughts on “Caravans vs Cabins

  1. I love camping (we tent camp) and think that additional cabins would certainly impact on the space available for caravans and tents, as well as change the overall atmosphere of the park. I’m curious though what your thoughts are on the costs of staying in a cabin vs the cost of acquiring a caravan. While camping is certainly an affordable travel option the initial outlay for a caravan still seems prohibitive. Even acquiring all the things we have for our tent camping has taken years and a good tent can still be expensive to some people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question, I have to admit we have never in our entire camping/caravanning lives bought anything new! Everything we’ve owned has been second hand, which I think is always better value for money. We started with tents, then camper trailer, then old old vans with water damage etc… and finally to the van we have now which was 3 years old when we bought it. The reasons we love a van over cabins is it’s ours😊and always available when we want it. Plus these days we love free/off grid camping/ National Parks etc… The freedom of off grid camping is incredible, find a patch of coast, views to die for, just heavenly! And, they are still out there to find! I couldn’t put a price on how valuable it had been to have family caravan holidays, and how important they have been to our kids and family life in general ~ so special 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And we do choose free camping quite often, but I wonder how cabins vs caravans will truly benefit a caravan park. We support both but will favour caravan parks that value our dollars too.


  2. You said it – they get more money for the cabins! And in the States, they also sell out. I’m currently in a state park completely sold out – tent sites, RVs, cabins, and the group area with a flock of Cub Scouts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. RVs and camping is very definitely on the rise at the moment, you really have to plan a head to be sure of getting a site at the moment. It seems crazy to be investing in cabins at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

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