If you’re planning your first caravanning trip, then you probably have images of the open road in front of you. You’re imagining the wind in your hair and all your responsibilities left behind you. This feeling of freedom is why people love to travel in caravans, but it can trip you up as well. When you travel by caravan, there are considerations that you need to think about that just aren’t there with different types of trips. So, if you’re ready to hit the open road, make sure you have the following organised before you leave.
If this is your first trip, then you probably haven’t driven with a caravan before. Make sure you practice before you head out on your trip. Tasks like reversing are even harder when you have a caravan in tow. Also, the added height and length can create some unexpected problems along the way.
You can even take a course in caravan driving if you’re really unsure and would like some expert advice.
2. Caravan Security
Even if you’re planning to camp in deserted places, you need to know that your van and its contents will be safe if you head off for a swim. Here are some of the things you should have to make sure that your van is where you left it when you come back:
- A wheel clamp
- An alarm
- A tracker device
- A hitch lock
3. Caravan Insurance
You need to consider caravan insurance too. Legally, you don’t need to have insurance for your caravan because it’s usually covered by your car insurance. But theft and fire aren’t covered under car policies. Also, once your caravan is unhitched, it isn’t covered at all. So, think about a policy if you want to avoid nasty surprises.
4. Packing your Caravan
If you don’t pack your caravan properly, it will increase the instability of the van and your car. This will increase your chances of having an accident.
There’s an easy rule when it comes to caravan packing. The heaviest items like awnings, furniture, and food, should go above the axle. In fact, only the lightest items like clothes can be stored in cabinets. But it’s far safer to have everything on the floor as close to the axle as possible.
5. Make a List, Check it Twice
If you haven’t been caravanning before, then you’ll probably be surprised by how much you need. Obviously, don’t be tempted to invest in heavy-duty equipment until you know whether you actually like caravanning first. But for safety and peace of mind, you should make sure that you take:
- A towing aid
- Towing mirrors
- Wheel chocks
- Caravan jack
- A fire extinguisher
- Sway control device
- Extra coolant and oil
- Insulation tape
- A spare fan belt
So that you don’t forget anything, make a list of everything you need before you leave.
6. Secure your Van
Before you set out, you need to make sure that your van and the belongings inside are safe and secure. Otherwise, you could get to your destination and find your belongings in a disarray or broken on the floor. Here are some of the things you need to check:
- Loose items are secured
- The towing aid is fitted correctly
- Raise the caravan steps
- Lights are working on your vehicle and caravan
- The tyres are inflated
- Windows and doors are locked
- Remove the wheel chocks and the jockey wheel
7. Take your Time
Once you’re on the road, take your time with it. You can’t expect a caravanning trip to be rushed and frantic. Generally speaking, everything will take longer when you have a caravan.
You’ll drive slower and get tired more quickly because of all the extra work involved in driving while towing a caravan. Driving slower will also help you save on fuel and it’s safer. Also, remember that stopping will take longer and you should never swerve if an animal darts into the road.
What all this means is that you should give yourself some extra time when you’re on a trip. Extra stopping space when you’re driving and extra time to get to your destination. Before you leave, calculate how long you think the trip will take and add a few hours. That will also give you the freedom to stop at interesting spots whenever you want to stretch your legs!
8. Take a Breath Before Shouting
Living in such a confined space can be difficult no matter how close you are with your fellow travellers. Expect to get annoyed and frustrated and remind yourself to let the little things go. It will make for a much more pleasant trip.
9. Listen to Advice, but Go your Way
When you start caravanning, you’re joining a group that loves nothing more than to chat and offer advice. Listen to all of that advice, particularly when you’re new. But be prepared to go your own way anyway. After all, isn’t that why you’re in a caravan?
10. Practice the Set-up Beforehand
You arrive at a beautiful site and you can’t wait to set up your caravan and watch the sunset. And then it takes you hours to set up, it’s dark, you’re tired and cold, and the last thing you want to do is enjoy anything.
Setting up a caravan isn’t always as easy as you might think, so work as a team with your fellow travellers and practice beforehand. Here are some of the tasks you will need to do:
- Unhitch the caravan
- Put on the handbrake
- Put your vehicle away
- Level the caravan
- Lower all four corner steadies
- Set up the gas and water
- Connect the power
- Check that everything’s working inside the caravan
This sounds like a lot, but just remember that you’ll get faster the more you practice. Before you know it, you’ll have everything done well before that beautiful sunset you’ve been looking forward to.
Go where you want, park in front of amazing views, and enjoy the simple freedom of the road. That’s what your first caravanning trip is all about. And if you have all of these tips covered before you leave, that’s exactly what your first trip will be like.
And if you need an expert hand along the way, remember that the team at Caravan Partnership is here to help. If you own caravan shares with us, we will provide you with extra guidance so you familiarize yourself with the whole process. And don’t forget, if caravan maintenance and towing is not exactly what you are looking for right now, but you still want to enjoy the fun of caravan trips, we have our ‘no-tow’ delivery service available, both if you are a rental customer or a caravan shares owner.
Need more info? Contact us here.