You might be looking forward to your first ever overseas caravan trip and if so, looking through the following points might be useful by way of preparation:
- know where you are going. Clearly that doesn’t mean in terms of getting lost but rather that you understand the rules of the road and the appropriate laws in the country you are visiting and any that you will be transiting through en-route;
- thoroughly prepare your caravan mechanically and electrically. It is a complete myth that European police forces care less about the condition of vehicles than their UK colleagues. Bald tyres and faulty light panels (etc) are likely to get you pulled-up quickly and possibly fined on the spot – and they may also be dangerous. Also, you don’t want to start having trouble with aspects of your caravan shortly after arrival, unless you enjoy the thought of spending days in the local garage trying out your linguistic skills;
- check you have continental cover. This sounds obvious but is sometimes overlooked. Make sure it is valid for countries you will be travelling through and for the durations and mileages you are considering. It might be worth trying to compare touring caravan insurance options if you are looking for particularly cost-effective solutions;
- Avoid following signs for city centres when towing a caravan. Traffic systems in continental cities may be significantly different to those you are familiar with in the UK and they may also be both busy and narrow. They are well worth avoiding with a caravan unless you have absolutely no alternative;
- set yourself modest itineraries. Europe is a big place and being too aggressive with your plans for how many kilometres you need to cover each day, is likely to result in you and everyone else becoming exhausted;
- tell your credit card or banking providers that you are going overseas and make sure they have that registered on the system. Some may spot what they see as an out-of-character profile transaction if your card suddenly pops up and starts being used abroad. Having your card rejected at a petrol station or motorway toll booth while you argue with your card provider on the phone, is not a good way to start your holiday;
- factor in motorway tolls. Many if not most motorways in continental Europe are payable and those fees can mount up seriously on a longer journey. Having insufficient money available to get through the gate on a motorway after a long journey, is an experience well worth missing.
Do take note that some motorway exits across Europe are entirely automatic or are so at unusual hours.
Some machines in such cases may not even accept cash automatically and will presume that you have a valid plastic card of some sort. This is another reason to make sure your providers understand where you are going and that you have sufficient available credit!