The less money you spend in actually getting there, the more likely you are to be able to splash out on the holiday itself. So how might you begin to save money on your caravanning?
Here are 10 suggestions:
Spending money with the aim of saving it may seem counter-intuitive, but if a short-term investment results in longer-term savings, you may be on to a winner.
Remapping your towing car’s engine is a technique designed to improve the vehicle’s performance and fuel economy. It involves replacing the manufacturer’s software in the computerised Engine Control Unit (ECU) with software that optimises engine efficiency, performance and fuel consumption.
Despite the initial expense of such a tune-up, a number of caravan users have commented – on Caravan Talk – that the procedure has indeed resulted in welcome savings in fuel consumption.
- The way you drive
Whether you opt for a tune up or not, the way you drive may also have a bearing on what you need to spend.
Rather than pushing your car to the limit and by accelerating smoothly and braking in advance you may be able to gain more miles per gallon and so reduce expenditure on fuel.
The way you drive is also likely to affect your insurance premiums. If you have a record of driving convictions or a poor claims history you may expect the premiums to be more expensive.
Taking care in the way that you drive, therefore, may help protect you, your car and your caravan.
There are a number of ways you may help mitigate the risks of loss or damage to your caravan by fitting alarms and using hitchlocks and wheel clamps when the trailer is at rest. You might also consider fitting a tracking device to help trace the caravan in the event of it being stolen.
Security is more than ever important when your caravan is unattended for a long period of time – when it is laid up during the winter months, for example. By choosing storage facilities offered by a member of the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA), you may be assured not only of accredited security, but a 10% discount on your caravan insurance premiums if your cover is with us.
- Wheels and tyres
Your caravan’s contact with the road, of course, is through its wheels and tyres. To keep the trailer stable wheels need to be firmly and securely tightened to the axle and the tyres inflated to the correct pressure.
The correct tyre pressure not only contributes to safe handling but also has a bearing on the miles you are likely to get from each gallon of fuel.
Stability and fuel efficiency – the amount of fuel which you need to use and pay for – is also affected by the care with which you load your caravan for each trip.
Ideally, the heavier items need to stay at floor level, as closely as possible above the axle of your caravan. Additional items may then be stowed in the area between the axle and the towing hitch, with only lighter items to the rear of the caravan behind the axle.
As part of your regular regime when loading the caravan, it is sensible to check its noseweight to make sure that you are not overloading the van or putting undue strain on the tow bar.
There are various noseweight gauges on the market – or you might even follow a suggestion made by Leisure Vehicles and use your own bathroom scales.
Noseweight is an important safety consideration since it affects the stability of your car and caravan, but it in ensuring that the rig is as stable as possible you are also helping to maximise your miles per gallon of fuel.
Still on the question of fuel efficiency and getting the most miles for every gallon, you might want to spare a thought for the amount of drag created by your caravan (and the extra fuel needed to battle against it).
Many caravans have a number of fittings and fixtures attached to their exterior. Where these are able to be removed – without compromising safety – you may help to reduce the overall effect of drag on your fuel consumption.
- Route planning
One sure fire way of reducing the amount of fuel you burn is simply to drive the shortest possible route, without taking unnecessary detours.
What that means is giving some thought to the route you intend to take, whilst avoiding the twists, turns and impossibly awkward manoeuvres with a caravan on narrow country roads. For that reason, you might not want to leave things up to sat nav directions – which do not in all likelihood take into account the fact that you are towing a caravan.
The battery in your caravan is probably being charged through your car whilst you are driving and it is also likely to be charging when you are pitched at the campsite and connected to the mains. Neither of these methods, however, may be guaranteed to give your battery a full charge – especially if you are making short-journeys and staying for just a few days.
If it goes flat whilst you are away, you are going to have to pay a local garage to recharge it. The cheaper alternative, of course, is to remember to make sure that it is recharged and running at full strength before you leave home.
From insurance to awnings, from picnic chairs and tables to the vast array of accessories you may buy for your caravan, it remains sensible to shop around and find the bargains that return the best value for money.
At times, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer choice of products and suppliers, but kitting out and safeguarding your caravan may also be counted amongst your money saving exercises and give you the opportunity of discovering what innovations and novelties each camping season may bring.