The less money you spend in actually getting there, the more likely you are to be able to splash out on the holiday itself.
The money you save for your caravanning holidays is ideally used for just that – spending on your holiday so that you get maximum enjoyment from it. There is a positive and compelling reason, therefore, for saving money wherever possible – and you need not turn into Mr or Mrs Scrooge to achieve it.
Read on for some money saving tips …
Before getting down to the nitty-gritty of the many practical ways of saving a penny or two, it is worth considering one crucial area where savings of genuinely significant sums may be made. And that is on the insurance cover for your caravan.
As with most other forms of insurance, getting the most affordable deal is essentially a question of knowing just the cover you want and need and then matching your requirements with the appropriate product on the market.
To help make that match and at the same time save money, you might want to focus on some or all of the following aspects of caravan insurance:
- review and shop around – avoid any automatic renewal of your caravan insurance and, instead, reexamine whether it continues to offer the cover you want, and shop around for the most suitable deal;
- choose a specialist provider – with so many insurance providers out there, you are likely to find that the specialist – such as ourselves at Cover4Caravans – has the knowledge, experience, and network of contacts to match your needs to the products available at a competitive price;
- your caravan and its contents – you want insurance that will safeguard and protect both your caravan and its contents, after making sure you have accurately assessed the current replacement value of the two;
- security – just as with any other insurer, caravan insurers are in the business of assessing risks, and if there is evidence of those risks having been reduced, so premiums may be reduced accordingly;
- storage – some of the biggest discounts may be potentially earned by arranging storage at a site registered with the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA). This has 500 or so approved locations around the country, with each one graded according to such security indicators as CCTV monitoring, patrolled grounds, perimeter security and controls at entry and exit points.
The annual renewal of your caravan insurance presents a golden opportunity to review and reflect upon the current level of protection for your tourer or holiday home. This may help to ensure that you are not only giving your caravan the most appropriate form of protection but also saving yourself some money into the bargain.
At times, and with the increasingly diverse and sophisticated nature of today’s caravans, this may be trickier than it sounds. To ensure that you are paying for the appropriate type and level of caravan insurance – at a competitive market rate – therefore, you might want to make sure to consult the experts in the field, such as those of us here at Cover4Caravans.
Tried and tested money-saving ideas
Many money-saving tips are simply a question of good housekeeping, old fashioned remedies, and basically just common-sense ideas. Taken individually, they might not add up to much, but when they are all added together, you might genuinely notice the difference in your spending.
Good ideas are likely to come from the seasoned caravanners you encounter during your outings – or you might do worse than visiting the Caravan Club’s webpages.
The following tips and suggestions on money-saving ideas have been harvested from across the spectrum of caravan webpages:
- spending money to save 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 – involving the replacement of 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, several caravan users have commented that the procedure has indeed resulted in welcome savings in fuel consumption – and the website Turbo Dynamics spells out the advantages;
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;
- smoother acceleration and gradual breaking may go a long way to saving on fuel, as may reducing your speed, and turning off the car’s engine when stuck in the worst of Britain’s notorious bank holiday snarl-ups;
- heatwave conditions are pretty rare in this country, so ask yourself whether you honestly do need that onboard air conditioning turned on – it consumes a considerable amount of fuel;
Wheels and tyres
- your caravan’s contact with the road, of course, is through its wheels and tyres – and 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 needed to use and pay for – is also affected by how 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, and 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 the Caravan and Motorhome Club and use your own bathroom scales;
- noseweight is an important safety consideration since it affects the stability of your car and caravan, but 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, but where these can be removed – without compromising safety – you may help to reduce the overall effect of drag on your fuel consumption;
- 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 – or a satnav – to the route you intend to take, while avoiding the twists, turns and impossibly awkward manoeuvres with a caravan on narrow country roads;
- the battery in your caravan is probably being charged through your car while you drive, 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 – and if it goes flat while 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;
- you are likely to have paid already for the electricity supplied by the campsite to your particular pitch, so use that energy resource first before consuming the gas from your own cylinders – or think about investing in a solar-powered battery charger;
- avoid paying over the odds for the pitch on your favourite campsite plenty of time in advance – according to the website Caravan Advice, many people make their bookings for sites over Christmas and the New Year a whole year ahead of time, when you have the chance to pick the most competitively priced, deals;
- in the quieter winter months, you can have fun searching for and buying many of the new season’s caravanning accessories from secondhand sources such as classified ads, car boot sales and eBay;
- another cheaper source for such items is again at the end of the season when shops are likely to offer summer stock at sale prices – this includes kids’ toys, so that cheap frisbees, water guns, and the like can be bought cheaply and stored away for next summer;
- toilet chemicals for your caravan can also work out to be quite expensive, so consider buying them in bulk, especially when they are on special offer;
- cut down on your use of cleaning products by remembering that many can be used for multiple tasks – and try some natural cleaners too, such as lemon juice and vinegar;
- stay green by recycling and reusing everything possible – making use of plastic bags from the supermarket as your bin liners, for example;
Food and drink
- invest in a slow cooker – after a long day out at the beach or walking, the last thing you may want to do is cook;
- That is when it is easy to succumb to the temptation of an (often expensive) takeaway meal – so, save money and enjoy arriving back to your caravan with a nice, hot meal waiting for you in your slow cooker;
- pre-travel, buy cheap sweets and bottled drinks that you can use on days out on your trip for the children;
- similarly, buy a couple of flasks and take hot drinks or soups for colder days out on holiday;
- half the fun of cooking on your BBQ is making your own marinade for the meat you are using – it is also considerably cheaper, not to mention tastier, than buying pre-marinated meats from the supermarket or butchers;
Deals on your days out
- before you travel, visit the local tourism website of the place you are visiting. These often have money off coupons and special family day out deals that you can take advantage of. Look out for free entry on days out too, such as museums and galleries.
When it comes to money-saving ideas for your caravanning trips, there is no limit to whatever your imagination and resourcefulness may devise.
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.