Many of us have enjoyed a summer of touring and people have tried caravanning for the first time. The prospect of travelling abroad may feel a little daunting, for the next year or two, due to the lasting impacts of the coronavirus. If you’re thinking about joining the caravan community for the first time in 2020 and 2021, you are not alone.
One of the great things about caravanning is that it offers flexibility, allowing you to do things your way. Nonetheless, good preparations will make sure you and your family have a great holiday.
1. Buy A Good Caravan
This may sound quite obvious, but if you are new to caravanning you might not know of the potential pitfalls. A quality caravan is an essential ingredient in the recipe for holiday success. While a little ‘roughing it’ is great fun, you will want a home-from-home to deliver the essential comforts. Most motorhome and caravan dealers have reopened and are starting to welcome new 2021 models. A dealership is a good place to start if you are new to caravanning. You can look at various layouts, lengths and berths. Whether it’s new or used, a great caravan will encourage you to enjoy more frequent holidays.
Make sure you carry out some essential checks before parting with any money. Have the caravan checked by an AWS engineer, or at the very least have it damp tested. A caravan with damp means water ingress has occurred and this is not good. Damp will rot your caravan away and it can be harmful to health.
Check that you intended purchase is not stolen on the Cris register. It will reveal any outstanding finance, or previous serious repair. A Cris check is an absolute must! A reputable dealer should carry out this check and provide you with any relevant information on a used caravan.
2. Find The Best Places To Stay
The best caravan for your needs will start you off on the ideal caravanning holiday. However, finding a perfect caravan site for your holiday is essential. There are plenty of amazing holiday parks around the country. It’s important to find one that provides the amenities that are best suited to your needs. Caravan sites are located country wide, from 5 pitch certified locations to 200 pitch holiday parks. You can choose from family parks, adults only, farm stays and dog friendly sites. You don’t have to spend a lot on a pitch to have a great family holiday. Research sites in the area you want to visit through websites like pitchup.com.
Once you have booked your pitch you can pack clothes and equipment, such as fishing rods or wetsuits. It’s usually possible to hire most items for activities you want to do. However, for the frequent activities, your own items are best.
3. Protect Your Caravan
The value of a caravan isn’t measured solely by the improvements made to your lifestyle. It is a huge financial asset too. Unfortunately, it could be vulnerable while parked on your driveway, in storage, or when it’s pitched on the caravan site or holiday park. Therefore, it’s imperative that you protect your vehicle with the best caravan insurance. Even a basic third party policy of insurance is important. Your caravan will not be insured by your car insurance, most policies will only cover third party damage when towing. Make sure you insure your investment against theft and fire damage. There are plenty of security features that should be used with your caravan. All caravans should have a hitch and wheel lock regardless of value. Caravan theft is, sadly, a regular reality. High value caravans will require an approved alarm and tracker by insurance companies. Many new models will have these fitted as standard by the manufacturer.
4. Be Prepared!
Even as a safe driver, there’s always a chance that you could break down or be involved in a collision. Consider purchasing breakdown and recovery cover incase the worst does happen.
Likewise, when you pitch up at your caravan park, it is possible an accident or injury could occur. For these reasons, as well as your peace of mind, you should build a pack for emergencies. Include a first aid kit, torch, fire extinguisher or fire blanket and bottled water. The good news is that you probably won’t need to use the items. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
5. Towing Safely
Perhaps this should have been first on the list rather than the bottom. Either way, it’s vital that you check that you are permitted to tow your caravan outfit. This covers several aspects. Firstly, you must check that your driving licence allows you to do it.
Secondly, you must ensure that your car is able to tow a caravan. Thirdly, you’ll need to know that the caravan and car match is safe based on weight guidelines. When these considerations are checked, you’ll be set for far better adventures.
Before towing, attach your towing mirrors to ensure you meet the legal requirements for vision.
Make sure you check your nose weight of the caravan with a Milenco gauge.
Check the torque settings of your wheel nuts, this should be done every time you tow. Check the tyre pressures on your tow car and caravan, an under inflated caravan tyre can cause a dangerous blowout.
Make sure you don’t overload your caravan with equipment and clothes, try to transport more items in your tow car. It is easy to quickly exceed your MTPLM, consider a visit to a weigh bridge!
Once your checks are complete, hitch up and enjoy the holidays you and your family deserve!
These top tips should give you a heads up as you start your caravan adventure.