A Question of Perception




What Do You Think About Caravans?

It has always fascinated me how people from different nations and cultures view caravans, or rather mobile homes as they are more commonly known here now.

This difference seems more noticeable between England and the United Sates. We in England, often hear references from over the pond about white trailer trash. We British, believe Americans use this derogatory term to describe poor, lower class, white people living in mobile homes, or trailers as they are known in the states.

We in Britain,  have a very different view of dwellings on wheels. Generally, we have a fond relationship with them which stems from as early as the 1800s when they were first used by Romanies, travelling salesmen, as well as circus and fairground workers. Of course, they were horse-drawn then, but once we had the  motor engine, the caravan  moved along with the times and increasingly became popular for leisure  as well as work. More recently, in the 1940s, the static caravan appeared on the scene. The modern ones are, indeed, a home from home with dishwashers, full bathroom  and laundry facilities, multi-room piped music, double glazing, and even under-floor heating.






Several differences exist between the UK and the US in mobile home usage. For instance:


In the UK, holiday makers are most likely to rent mobile homes, and will pay several hundred pounds to hire one for a week or two. The caravan park location will be the seaside or in a rural spot some distance from where the people hiring it live. They will have their own dwelling elsewhere and use it for a change of scenery.

In the US, people hire them to live in. They are more likely to be near a town or industry. People hiring them usually cannot afford to have property elsewhere.


In the UK, caravan parks require mobile home owners to own or live in property elsewhere. They must have a separate address unless their static caravan is on a residential park. They are proud of their mobile home and the lifestyle it gives them. Indeed, they are sometimes envied by their friends and neighbours.

In the US, people who own them usually do so because they are cheaper than buying other property. They are unlikely to have other property either rented or owned. They would not be as proud to own it as the British counterpart.

Yet not all US trailer parks fit the trailer trash pattern.  Mobile homes and trailer parks are perceived differently depending on each state. Tom Geoghegan expertly demonstrates the variety in attitudes between states.


What do you think about mobile homes? Do you like them or loathe them? Don’t forget to name your state or county when you comment.

About caroleparkes

My husband calls me a butterfly because I flit from one hobby to another. Apart from being a wife for 52 years, a mother of three sons, and a grandmother, I'm also an author, genealogist, amateur artist, a lover of most needlecrafts, and occasional poet. Of the above, my most enduring interest has been writing and I hope to be doing it well into old age.
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