How Long Can You Live In A Caravan? An In-Depth Guide

Living in a caravan is becoming increasingly popular since it is more affordable than maintaining a house and garden. Having a remote home with everything you may need sounds ideal. This might have led you to question; how long can you live in your caravan?

In general, you can live in a caravan as long as you want, especially when you stay on the move. At a holiday park, you can stay between 6-11 months (some allow a maximum stay of 30 days in a row), but you need an address outside as your main residence. Or you can live at a residential park full-time with a permanent residential license.

There is much more you need to know. You may wonder what life is like in a caravan on a campsite or on your own land. And also important is the lifespan of a caravan. So I’ve prepared a complete guide entailing everything you’ll need to know about how long you can live in a caravan.

Can You Live In A Caravan On A Campsite?

You can choose to live at a residential park and get a permanent residential license. This way, you’re allowed to live in a caravan and use the residential park as your main address.

In the case of holiday parks, it is a bit different. You can not live in a caravan on a holiday campsite permanently. However, sometimes there is a mix between residential places and holiday places at the same park. In most cases, holiday parks are closed 2-5 months out of the year and don’t allow permanent stay. This means you can stay at a holiday park for 7-10 months of the year, and then you need to relocate when the park is closed.

Also, the period of your stay depends on several factors:

Campsite Rules And Regulations

The first factor that affects your stay at a caravan campsite is its policies. Before setting up a residence at a camp, it is essential to check out the rules and regulations mentioned by the campsite owners. 

These usually include the number of people living in the caravan, the time of year you will be living in the trailer, and the length of your stay. Some campsites only allow caravan owners to stay a maximum of 30 days in a row, while your caravan can be parked for up to six to eleven months a year.

We live most of the time in our caravan and never have any problems staying long-term in one place. However, we also like to move around because we spend our winters in more sunny places. When we stay in The Netherlands, our home country, we always book a seasonal pitch at a campsite. This means we can leave our caravan and entire setup at the same pitch and stay there as long as we like during the season. A camping season in The Netherlands often runs between April and October. 

Read more: Is It Worth Having A Seasonal Pitch? Pros & Cons Guide

Sometimes it’s also possible to book a spot for a year if the campsite stays open the entire year. That is what we are going to do this year. We’re allowed to park and stay in our caravan year-round if we want to on a new campsite in The Netherlands.

We also stayed in Portugal with our touring caravan at a campsite in The Algarve. We booked a pitch for six months and had no trouble with it. Our experience is that it’s best to book a bit in advance to ensure you can stay at the same pitch for the entire period. 

But I know in the UK the regulations are a bit different. Some campsites only allow staying in your caravan 28 days in a row, even if you have a seasonal pitch.

Local Council’s Regulations

Besides the campsite regulations, you need to consider sometimes the local council’s regulations as well. Most of the time, a campsite will follow the local council’s regulations, but when you want to be sure, you can always check what the local council has to say about it.

Time Of The Year

When determining the length of your stay, the second factor is the time of year you’d like to set up residence, which might influence residency rules. Most campsites are closed during the winter months. And that all depends on the location. Some are six months closed in the year, while others are only closed for two months. That is when campsites are able to do a lot of maintenance work.

If you’re planning to stay at a campsite for an extended duration, think ahead before you set out. Suppose you plan to arrive during the winter. In that case, you might be allowed to stay longer as campground officials understand that traveling in winter is more difficult, especially with a caravan towed on your vehicle. Or the campsite might close for the winter period, which means you can’t stay the entire period you wish. 

Read more: You Can Live In A Caravan In Winter, This Is How!

Suppose you’re traveling in the summer season. In that case, your stay may be cut short because some campsites only allow short stays during the busy summer holiday season. 

Type Of Campsite

Caravan campsites usually have varying rules for people looking to stay longer compared to people seeking a semi-permanent residency. Special arrangements are made depending on the license agreement and period.

Often, you can only stay up to a month as a short-term resident. However, Suppose you’re planning a longer holiday. In that case, you can stay at a caravan campsite for about six to eleven months per year, while some might allow you to live there for multiple years.

As mentioned before, many campsites close during the winter months. So, if you plan to stay in your caravan during winter, make sure to check if your campsite stays open. 

When we are traveling with our caravan from The Netherlands to Portugal at the end of the year, it’s always difficult to find campsites that are still open. Especially when driving through France, many campsites close at the end of October. 

Can You Live In A Caravan On Your Own Land?

If you are planning on living in an RV trailer or caravan set up on your land, then the rules will be different for you than staying at a caravan campsite. The period that it’s allowed to live in your caravan on your own land depends on the regulations of the city council. Each country, and sometimes city, has its own rules. 

On average, it’s allowed to live in your caravan on your own land for a couple of months without a permit during renovations of your main home.

Since you’re not renovating your own home, you want to stay in a caravan just because you want to live there. This is not very common, so rules and regulations are sometimes not up to date, which comes with a grey area that can work to your advantage. Checking your local council’s rules help you to understand what is allowed and what is not. And if there is any wiggle room for you to explore and try out.

Read more: Can I Live In My Caravan On A Driveway? Full Guide

Some councils allow an extra building on your piece of property when you stay within certain measurements. This way, you can place a static caravan on your land.

Here are some examples from different countries:

Portugal – In most parts, it’s allowed to stay up to 365 days in your caravan on your land. However, this is only allowed when renovating the land.

Australia – Most councils only permit individuals to live in a caravan for up to 30 days. Some councils may allow you to live in your caravan for 60 days.

UK– In the UK, you can live in your caravan on your own land if you follow these requirements:
– Caravan is movable and a maximum of 20m long, 6.8m wide, and 3.05m tall,
– Is used as an extra extension of the house by living residents,
– Property deeds allow caravan parking,
– It doesn’t obstruct your neighbor’s view, drive, etc. 

If you can’t meet the above requirements, you need need to apply for planning permission. However, getting a planning permit is not easy; most councils will allow you to live in a caravan on a property if it is temporary. Moreover, if you are granted planning permission, you will have to pay council tax. You can find out more about how to apply for planning permission in the UK here.

Things To Know When Applying For A Permit

It is essential to consider your council’s rules and ensure that you have applied for a permit to live in a caravan. The permit application entails certain aspects that will help decide the length of your stay. These are as follows:

Source Of Power

You’ll have to explain how you plan to power up the appliances in your caravan. Your caravan’s power mustn’t put unnecessary pressure on nearby residences. To assure the council, it is essential to submit evidence that your trailer will be powered independently. We recommend using a generator, a deep-cycle battery, or solar energy to power your caravan. Using at least two of these powering methods will strengthen your permit application. 

Number of People Living In The Caravan

It is also essential to specify the number of people that will be living with you in the caravan so that the council can check if there are enough provided resources and space. Moreover, it is important to mention if you have children living with you; additional safety measures may need to be taken and approved by the council before setting up your caravan for residence.

Means Of Garbage Disposal

As the cleanliness of the area you are setting up your caravan in can not be disregarded, detailing your means of garbage disposal is also imperative in the permit for residence. 

You should be able to dispose of the garbage from your trailer by throwing it in a trash bin and then leaving it on your sidewalk for pick up by a garbage truck. However, there are sometimes fees for garbage disposal, so it’s best to look into that beforehand.

Lifespan Of A Caravan

Whilst considering how long you can live in a caravan, you may also be wondering, what is the lifespan of a caravan? 

Generally, a well-built and well-maintained caravan can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years or more. However, some caravans may need to be replaced sooner if they are subjected to harsh conditions, such as extreme weather, rough terrain, or heavy use.

The lifespan of a caravan can vary greatly based on several factors, including the quality of the materials used in construction, the frequency and nature of use, and proper maintenance and storage.

Proper maintenance is crucial in extending the lifespan of a caravan. This can include regular cleaning, protecting the caravan from the elements, and making repairs as needed.

It’s also important to store a caravan properly when not in use to prevent damage from exposure to the elements and to prevent excessive wear and tear.

It is best to have your caravan checked annually to identify any faults. Additionally, investing in restoration, maintenance, and upgrading the interior will help prolong the lifespan of your caravan and increase its value.

Can You Legally Live In A Caravan?

In general, you can’t legally live in a caravan since a caravan doesn’t have a house address unless you live in a caravan at a residential park and have a permanent residential license.

You need to have an address that is your main residence. So if you want to live in your caravan, you can use register at your parents, family members, or friends’ house addresses. This way, you can live in a caravan while also following the rules.

Best Caravan & Camping Equipment

There is always a need for new products when it comes to camping. Either to maintain your caravan or to make your camping setup more comfortable. As digital nomads, we are on the road a lot. We tried out many different online camping stores.

However, we feel that Amazon still offers the best value for money, quick and easy delivery, and easy returns when necessary. We really like that we can use Amazon at almost every location in the world! You can find the best caravan & camping equipment on this page (links you to Amazon).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions on how long you can live in a caravan:

Can you live in a caravan all-year round?

You can live in a (static) caravan all year round when you live in a residential park with a permanent residential license, which you can use as your main address. You can’t live in a caravan all year round at the same holiday park, as most holiday parks won’t allow it and are 2-5 months closed every year. You can switch between holiday parks and other locations to live in a caravan all year round, but you need to have an address outside as your main residence.

Do you have to pay council tax if you live in a caravan?

Whether or not you have to pay council tax if you live in a caravan depends on several factors, including the location of the caravan and the local council’s policies. It’s important to check with the local council in your area for specific information on council tax for caravans.

United Kingdom

A caravan may be subject to council tax if it is used as a main residence in the United Kingdom. However, if the caravan is used as a holiday home or for temporary accommodation, it is generally exempt from council tax. For more information, check UK Government. Council Tax.


Some local councils may levy council tax for caravans, but the rules can vary between states and territories. Some councils may also exempt caravans from council tax for temporary or holiday purposes.

Do you have to pay tax to live on a caravan site?

Generally, you are not required to pay a council tax when setting up a residence in your caravan on a campsite. However, you must pay the council tax if this becomes your sole residence.

Can I buy land and put a caravan on it?

Yes, you can buy a piece of land and live on it in your caravan. However, to live in a caravan on private land, it will be vital to apply for planning permission in most cases, as there are rules and regulations that you must adhere to. 

Is it cheaper to live in a caravan than in a house?

It is cheaper to live in a caravan than a house when you factor in all the costs associated with each one. Caravan owners don’t have to pay for things like land taxes or property insurance. They also save money on utilities like water, gas, and electricity. And, of course, there is the initial cost of buying a caravan which is usually much cheaper than buying a house.

Read more: Is It Cheaper To Live In A Caravan Than A House? Full Guide

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