Social Distancing Holidays
For those searching for Social Distancing Holiday ideas, what better way to isolate and holiday social-distance style, than in your very own campervan?
A week-long social distance holiday might not be possible right at the minute but with the government’s plan to get things on track again from the 4th of July, the time is right to start planning! Cabin fever will have set in for many of us during the lockdown, and getting away even for a few days will be a top priority for us all. We are all looking forward to the Government relaxing the current Covid-19 restrictions but when we do regain some freedom, We are sure a lot of us will wonder if it is really safe to travel? How can I still safely socially distance myself if I want a break?
A Campervan Holiday makes a lot of sense
We at Southampton Campers may have just the answer! Maybe you haven’t thought about a campervan holiday before or maybe you are an old-hand, either way, a campervan road trip is an exciting break and makes perfect sense, especially in this topsy-turvy world right now.
Personally I have fond memories of a campervan holiday in an orange and white Volkswagen Type-2 when I was a youngster, Dad spent more time tinkering in the back fixing the thing than anything else, but I think he enjoyed it anyway!
We can’t offer you the antique charm of the old-style campervans (and their break-downs!) as we only offer the very latest and ultra-modern VW California Campervans, but we can offer you the fun, excitement and freedom that a campervan adventure brings. With its compact size and clever features you have everything you need in one conveniently sized social-distancing travelling capsule to explore and enjoy the countryside, from a safe distance of course!
A campervan holiday will allow you to go to remote places, perhaps a woodland retreat or a seaside destination or maybe just somewhere that offers you some amount of privacy and space, away from the crowds and without the need to share.
When you hire a campervan from us, we can assure you that our campers are kept to the highest standard hygienically as well as mechanically. When each van is returned, she undergoes a thorough deep clean following the latest advice from the government to ensure that we keep everybody safe.
We are taking additional measures to prepare each campervan for it’s next adventure. Safety of our customers and staff is paramount and we are following the latest advice from our own government as well as regularly checking the World Health Organisation advice.
After donning our gloves and PPE, each campervan receives a thorough valet inside and out. Antibacterial cleanser is used on every surface to ensure a germ free interior. Being “guided by the science” the medical experts have told us that Covid-19 is less likely to be transmitted in open spaces with plenty of ventilation, so one of the first things we do is open the vehicle fully to the elements to allow fresh air to circulate.
We open the pop-top roof and unzip the ample side and front windows, next we open up all doors. Being a compact size campervan we can get lots of clean air flowing through the entire vehicle quickly and easily. All of the kitchen utensils are removed from the vehicle and we open all of the cupboards and storage compartments to allow the fresh air to circulate everywhere.
Now we turn to the habitation features of the campervan. You’ll no doubt have “wash your hands” ingrained into your consciousness by now, the government advises that good old fashion soap is perfect for killing the virus as it breaks down the fatty outer layer of the coronavirus. We firstly clean everything with warm soapy water and then use anti-bacterial spray on all surfaces paying particular attention to things like the steering wheel, hand brake, gear level etc.
All of those items that are touched heavily get a thorough going-over. Disposable cloths are used every time ensuring that no cross-contamination occurs between hire returns.
As you would expect, the kitchen utensils are loaded into our dishwasher and put through a 65-degree wash cycle. If you prefer we can offer disposal kitchenware (knives, forks and paper plates) or you can bring your own if you would like. Just let us know in advance and we can make the necessary arrangements.
All the bedding is stripped from the vehicle and a fresh set of linen supplied as a matter of course.
For those of you who may have opted for the portable toilet option, we have enough spares of these to supply you with a perfectly sanitised unit that has been left untouched for at least 72 hours.
Once the campervan has been thoroughly cleaned, including carpets and floor mats, we then concentrate on cleaning the air inside the camper to remove any airborne particles that may be lingering.
Keeping the campervan air clean
After each trip the campervan goes through an air purification cycle. This is done by using a machine which fills the interior of the campervan with ozone. The ozone machine modifies the air inside the vehicle and changes the molecules to add an extra oxygen atom. The use of ozone has been cited to significantly reduce transmission of the SARS coronavirus and since the structure of Covid-19 is almost identical to that of the SARS coronavirus, it is relatively safe to say that it will also work on the new coronavirus.
Now that the vehicles are scrupulously clean, its time for their trips to commence!
Handing over the Campervan
We are happy to offer a socially distanced one-to-one handover from our Rownhams site.
When you arrive you will be met by Southampton Campers’ staff wearing PPE and we will ask you to park your own car in a designated spot where it will remain untouched by us. Just before you leave in your campervan, we will ask you to drop your keys into a container which we will then secure.
We ask that only one member of your party participates in the hand-over procedure, the remainder should stay in your own vehicle until the handover is complete. During the handover, we will ask that you stay outside of the campervan at all times unless invited inside. This enables our staff to safely demonstrate the features of the campervan to you. Our premises are set in a beautiful outdoor environment, although we will provide you with an umbrella when raining, please dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions.
Food and Drink
When you rent a vw campervan from us at Southampton Campers we will always provide you with a fully stocked kitchen with enough settings to accommodate four people. There is ample storage for all your food and drink. With the on-board 42 litre fridge, there is also plenty of space to keep items fresh and your favourite wine chilled. During this uncertain period we would recommend bringing your own food from home if you can.
It’ll mean that you can focus on enjoying your holiday the moment you pick up the campervan and also avoids finding a supermarket on-route or having to navigate a potentially small local store with narrow aisles making social distancing harder. Plus you will avoid the queue of getting into the store!
Your campervan comes equipped with a two-burner gas hob, sink and 30 litres of fresh water. The ingenious design of the table also allows it to become a clever prep area by attaching to the headrest, this maximises your worktop area without sacrificing floor space, giving you a great experience whilst cooking. We even provide you with a handy campervan cookbook to inspire you, it's full of tasty yet simple meals that are well suited to cooking in a campervan. If you want to cheat a little, we found that microwave meals gently heated on the gas hob make a quick and easy alternative. Some campsites also allow for take-aways to be delivered but check with the campsite office first.
Who knows what’s in store in terms of on-going restrictions but with these options and suggestions to keep you fed and watered, you can make a choice on what suits you best.
Washing and the call of nature
There is no escaping the fact that keeping yourself clean and answering the call of nature on a campervan trip is a challenge. The beauty of a campervan is that they can go pretty much anywhere and be parked in a standard car parking space, unlike a traditional motorhome. But that compact size and easy manoeuvrability comes at a sacrifice, and that’s the convenience of a permanently fixed shower and toilet.
Depending on the type of campsite you may find yourself on, the toilet and shower blocks might be luxurious or basic, but should always be clean. The camping and caravanning clubs are advising their site members on how to increase their level of cleanliness and ensure that government guidelines are met at all times, each campsite will have social distancing measures in place so please check the local site recommendations.
As always you have a choice. If you don’t want to make use of the campsite facilities in this regard, we have some suggestions for you.
Answering nature's call
When you book your campervan holiday with us, why not also hire the additional porta-potti? Big and sturdy enough to be comfortable but small enough to pack discreetly in the boot with minimal storage requirements, this is perfect to ensure you do not get caught short. The porta-potti will have been meticulously cleaned by us, disinfected and left to stand for 3 days prior to your arrival. We will also supply the right amount of chemicals needed to last the trip. It will need emptying and topping up from time-to-time but the indicator will turn red when you need to do this. Taking the porta-potti option will give you the peace of mind that you are not using a public toilet that has been used by someone else.
Keeping yourself clean
To keep yourself clean in the campervan you always have the option of the sink-wash. Making full use of the pop-top roof and black-out blinds all around, you have a completely private area from others. Simply boil the kettle, pour into the sink, add a little soap and you have your very own washbasin. We recommend placing a towel on the floor before you get started to catch any drips and it also feels nice on your toes! Microfibre towels are highly recommended as they pack down into a much smaller space than traditional fluffy towels and also dry out very quickly. Other options available to you are using wet wipes specifically designed for the healthcare industry. These are specially formulated to be kind to your skin but also contain active ingredients to ensure you are kept perfectly clean and fresh.
We realise that these are poor substitutes for a nice, hot, proper shower but it just provides you with another option when considering your social distancing choices.
Where to Stay
You may be thinking, “Isn't everyone going to be getting away?” or “How can I ensure there will be enough space for my family to enjoy the outdoors?”. Southampton Campers are members of the camping and caravan club privilege scheme and we can help you tap into those campsites that are not open to the general public, they are for members only. This will keep the number of people around to a minimum, essential to keeping a comfortable social distance. With up to 30% discount off club sites and 15% off ‘Camping in The Forest’ sites, what’s not to like?
Big on personal space, small on pitches
The Camping and Caravan club insist on strict standards for a campsite to join their ranks so you can be sure to find exceptional standards of cleanliness, and some of the friendliest places to camp in the UK. Not only that but they also have a special status of campsites within the club known as ‘CS’ or Certified Site. These specialise in providing a quiet and peaceful setting and restrict the number of visitors. Some of these special places limit their numbers to as little as 5 pitches giving you ample space between each pitch making it easy to maintain social distancing.
We highly recommend these smaller campsites during these uncertain times, check them out by following this link to The Camping and Caravanning Club official website and have a look at their Certificated Sites. As Privilege members all you need to do is make your booking and show the Privilege key fob on arrival to claim your discount. Please do contact us should you need any help in booking one of these exclusive sites.
Location, Location, Location
When you hire a campervan from us, there is no limit on UK mileage, which means you can drive to Scotland if you like*! Our campers are so comfortable that a long trip is never a chore. The front seats are almost like your most comfy chair at home! Both are fully adjustable to ensure your ultimate comfort during the drive. And not forgetting the fully equipped kitchen for those layby stop-offs. Put the kettle on and take in the views and fresh air before continuing on.
photo credit Tony Nelson
For those of you who are a little more adventurous and truly want to keep yourselves-to-yourselves, you may wish to consider 'wild camping', especially if you are thinking about Scotland as a destination. Wild Camping is finding a spot safely and securely where you can overnight in the campervan.
Scotland has a Scottish Outdoor Access Code which says:
Everyone has the statutory right of access
Access rights apply to all land and inland waters, unless excluded (as below)
Access rights are for outdoor recreation, for crossing land and water, and for some educational and commercial purposes
Exercising access rights, and managing access land, must be done responsibly.
There may be local restrictions so always check beforehand. Park4Night is a very useful App to find wild camping locations and has first-hand reviews of people's experiences of each location. If you stick to spots that have been used before then you won’t go far wrong. The app also features GPS coordinates and can route you directly provided you have a capable smartphone.
The key points for wild camping are;
to arrive late and leave early
stay only one night
leave the location exactly as you found it
Take any evidence of your stay away with you and leave the locals with a positive attitude towards 'Wild Campers' for the next person to enjoy.
*Please Note: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales may each have their own policies regarding freedom of movement during the coronavirus outbreak so please check each country's rules before entering.
Closer to Home, well ours at least
If you prefer a campsite closer to home, and are not fussed about any amenities, as these campsites tend to be on the quieter side, Denny Wood in the New Forest is a peaceful grassland campsite situated within scattered oak trees. It offers the simple pleasures of natural surroundings. Perfect for nature lovers as the forest ponies roam freely around the campsite.
The cycle and footpaths here offer a great way to explore the local area and whilst still being able to maintain a safe social distance. Should you decide to bring your bike to explore the New Forest further, we have bike racks available to hire, and these can be requested at the time of booking with us.
Please note Guide dogs only are allowed at this site. And as this is a simple site, there is no toilet block. We can provide you with your own portable toilet, a lifesaver when in the middle of nowhere!
Maybe a coastal break is preferable? Norman’s Bay in Pevensey, East Sussex is adjacent to the beach, and also another haven for walkers and nature lovers. Pevensey village boasts an impressive historical background and also has a lot to shout about when it comes to its coastline. The shingle shore is a pleasant rural beach which has been a fisherman's paradise for centuries. Dogs are welcome at Pevensey beach.
This campsite is perfect for family camping holidays. This open and level site has 200 pitches and three amenity blocks. As well as the standard washroom facilities, this site also includes washing machines. In addition, there is also a well-stocked site shop for a last-minute purchase. Don't forget the 42-litre fridge onboard your camper, plenty of space for food and drinks to keep you going whilst on your travels.
How about an early morning stroll along the beach watching the sunrise? Even better If you have your four-legged friend with you. You can hire a dog friendly campervan from us so that the whole family can join in the fun. Just select the pet valet option during the booking process and you will be all set.
We completely understand your worries around refunds and deposits if you are forced to cancel during the coronavirus pandemic. For genuine Covid-19 related issues we will offer you a full refund or postpone your dates, whichever you prefer. You can read more about the specific Covid-19 cancellation policy or our general Terms and Conditions.
How to have a Social distance Holiday
You can have a social distance holiday in a campervan. Fully self-contained, with sink, stove, Fridge and able to sleep four persons in comfort.
Your campervan is your transport and your accommodation, reducing the need to come into contact with others.
Take your campervan to sparsely populated areas. Go off the beaten track and enjoy the peace and tranquillity.
Decide on how social you want to be. You can visit different locations and decide how much or how little to interact with other people.
With so many beautiful destinations in the UK, you certainly won't be stuck for ideas on where to go. Life in a campervan really is sweet, and if you want to socially distance and self isolate, then a holiday in a camper is quite possibly the best way to do it! You can check out our campervan availability online or simply head over to contact us page and fill out the form letting us know about all your requirements.