Cover4Caravans » A newbie’s guide to a caravan holiday

A newbie’s guide to a caravan holiday

So, you have bought a caravan – or maybe you are borrowing one to see what caravanning has to offer – and you are no doubt keen to get on the road for your very first trip.

Before you go, however, it might be helpful to review some of the preparation that goes into a successful caravan holiday:

Towing

  • perhaps the single most unfamiliar aspect of touring with a caravan is the fact that you are going to be towing it;
  • towing is not necessarily that difficult and with a little care, patience and practice you are soon likely to get the hang of it;
  • by way of some preparation before you actually get behind the wheel, though, you might like to read some helpful guides published by the Camping and Caravanning Club about what you are able to tow, including what the law says, and a further guide on becoming a confident tower. Plus, our own guide to towing mirrors;
  • it might be prudent, of course, to practice towing an old and inexpensive trailer in the first instance rather than denting, scraping or backing into something with your new caravan;

Prepping the caravan

  • before hitching up and taking to the road, of course, you are going to want to ensure that the caravan is thoroughly roadworthy;
  • there are a number of checks and simple maintenance routines to be followed before embarking on any trip and it is important that you carry these out;
  • as a newbie, you may feel more confident in entrusting maintenance and servicing to qualified caravan engineers;

Insurance

  • you might want to ensure that you have arranged caravan insurance that is suitable for your particular make and model and provides cover for the country or countries you intend to be visiting;
  • as specialists in the whole field of caravan insurance, we at Cover4Caravans are only too pleased to help with advice and requests for quotations;

Location, location, location

  • choosing the location for your initial outings with the caravan is almost as important as choosing the place where you intend to live;
  • it might only be a holiday or weekend break, but your choice of camping site may make or break the occasion;
  • actually making the choice of course depends on who is in your party – a family with children, for example, is likely to have quite different priorities to those of a retired couple;
  • in other words, a lot depends on what you hope to get out of your trip away from home – peace and tranquillity of countryside, say, or action-packed sporting adventures, or maybe sites of historical interest;
  • there are innumerable guides and listings of the very many campsites both in England and abroad, though you may be equally influenced by word of mouth and the recommendations of other more seasoned caravanners;

Amenities

  • your choice of campsite is also likely to be determined by the facilities and amenities it has to offer;
  • typically, these are fully detailed in the site’s own advertising and in these days of the internet, the majority of sites maintain their own webpage;
  • amenities are generally included in the many listings of caravan sites and if you want to dig deeper, you might read through some of the reviews of the experiences encountered by previous visitors;

 Etiquette

  • caravanners may consider themselves to be members of a rather select group or club and particular sites are likely to attract like-minded souls;
  • you may become aware of an unwritten etiquette amongst such folk and most of this is largely a matter of common sense and respect for other people’s enjoyment of their own holiday;
  • if you have your dog with you, for instance, some sites may insist that it is kept on a lead at all times – even if there is no such rule, make sure to keep your pet under control;
  • leave shower rooms, wash rooms and washing up sinks clean, tidy and free from waste – leaving them as you hope to find them;
  • a helpful tip suggested by the website Caravan Advice is to avoid taking short cuts across other campers’ pitches – there may be nothing more annoying or intrusive than have a stranger appear close up to your caravan windows or awning;
  • keeping a respectful distance unless otherwise invited may also apply to the ball games and other potentially raucous games you or your children may play – caravan sites typically have an area specifically designed for such use, so remember to use that, rather than the space immediately outside your pitch;
  • an environmentally friendly piece of advice that appears on the Friday Ad website is to lift up any groundsheets you might be using under your awnings so that the grass has a chance to breathe before turning brown as it dies;
  • if your children have bought their bikes with them, teach them not to ride close to other caravans, but to stick to the paths and roads, taking care of both pedestrians and cars;
  • many caravanners are looking for a little peace, quiet and relaxation when on their holiday – blaring radios or televisions and noise late at night or early in the morning are all things likely to be frowned upon;

Going abroad

  • with a caravan in tow, the whole of Europe may be your oyster, offering a huge range of potential destinations and caravanning experiences;
  • making a success of any such holiday requires a little more preparation and patience, especially with respect to the different driving conditions, laws and regulations you may encounter;
  • the Caravan Club has published a number of guides for first-time caravanning visitors to Europe, with advice on subjects such as essential and recommended documentation, pieces of kit that might be required for use in different countries, speed limits on a country by country basis, and a general check list of all the items that are either essential or recommended when taking your car and caravan across the Channel to Europe.

Every caravanner started out as a newbie at some point in time, so you are by no means alone on the learning curve to making each outing and holiday a success. After your first few excursions you may soon discover that you are unlikely to be a newbie for long.