As a first-time caravan owner, you’re all set for your first caravan trip…the excitement! You can hardly contain yourself. The world awaits ahead of you…but the nerves begin to kick in. Have you taken on too much…can you really do this?
With a few important caravan tips and hints, you can ease the burden and ensure a smooth caravanning experience.
At Caravaner, handy hints for caravanning is what we love. We want you to enjoy yourself. If you are towing a caravan, suddenly there are a few more considerations you need to make. You need to plan ahead…impromptu trips without any planning can be fraught with difficulty.
So, lets run through some of our caravanning tips and tricks. Remember, they all have some value to you…consider them and make your time away stress free and enjoyable.
The importance of planning
Your first caravan holiday will be a nervous time. The importance of planning cannot be underestimated. Whether this is planning the route, the time you travel or the equipment you need, you need to stay on top of this. Even the slightest oversight may lead to a really big headache.
Experienced caravanners understand the importance of planning but it also becomes second nature after a while. They understand the risks their caravans pose and the scenarios they may have to deal with.
When you are a beginner, you need to plan for theses eventualities. Read the articles on Caravaner, read other forums and websites, basically, understand what might just happen and how to deal with it. This may take some time but it is time well invested.
Ensure your vehicle and caravan are safe to travel
It may sound obvious, but it is amazing how many people fail to make even the basic of checks before they travel. Assuming that your caravan is fine because it was fine the last time you travelled in it is not a good starting point.
It is always best to assume the worst, it therefore motivates you to be meticulous in your checks. Remember, even the most basic checks can save you plenty of time later on.
We will cover the basic checks you need to make in another post. Aside from checking the vehicle you are towing with is road worthy and capable, you also need to make checks to ensure the towing aid is safe and secure, everything is secured down to prevent any damage, the tires are correctly inflated and everything is locked and closed. Of course, there is much more you need to do but this is just a taster of what is to come.
Settle back and relax
You probably understand the frustration of being stuck behind a caravan. Yes, it is frustrating and can cause you great annoyance. However, you are now towing the caravan and your priorities have to be different. Do not under any circumstances go faster than you are comfortable with because you are being pressured from traffic behind you. This is a recipe for disaster.
Stay within your comfort zone and accept that your pace is dictated by the safety aspects and road conditions. Just settle back and relax, whatever is happening behind you is not your problem.
The early bird catches the worm
Yes, you will irritate some people with your caravan…that is just how it is. However, there is a real benefit to starting your journey early in the morning. The roads are quite and making progress is much quicker. Being stuck in heavy traffic is not an enjoyable experience…especially towing a caravan.
You also have the added benefit of arriving early to your caravan site which may make pitch selection much better.
Manoeuvring a caravan isn’t easy and takes plenty of practice to be competent at it. Of course, you can buy movers that will help you but I always feel it is worth it to take the time to gain this skill. Before you set of for the first time, consider practicing the manoeuvres that are most commonly made.
In fact, I always recommend taking your caravan to a car park one evening and practicing there. There is plenty of room to move your caravan around without damaging anything and the painted lines can really help you gage the accuracy. This is one of our best caravanning tips.
Give each other space
I know this better than most…I need my own time. Caravanning is a great way to see the country and discover new places. However, there are social aspects that you need to consider. In most cases, you are travelling with your partner in a confined space on the way there…and then living in a confined space while you are at your destination.
This is where you need to be a little careful. Make sure you give each other time…and space. Your travelling experience will be better for it.
You are part of a team
You may be driving the vehicle, hitching the caravan and pretty much doing everything. It was your idea…this caravanning lark…this is your baby. STOP. As much as you are passionate about your new horizons, you need to recognize that your partner will also have a role to play.
The last thing you want to do is to exclude them. It’s important that they also know how things work and why. They will also be acting as your co-pilot, eyes and ears whilst driving, and speeding up the set up when you get there. Your partner has a role to play so encourage and embrace it, it really is worth it.
Efficient set up
Once you arrive at your destination, the last thing you want to do is spend hours setting the thing up. You want to relax after a potentially long journey and discover your new home.
This is why it is important that you have a clear visual of what needs to be done and in what order. Setting up takes time but you can hasten the process by being organized and working systematically, ideally with a checklist.
This checklist will serve you well…whilst setting up and packing up. It gives you a clear idea of what needs to be done and it will also allow you to share tasks with your partner.
Reverse set up…packing up
I mentioned this above but I will highlight the point here. Packing up efficiently is just as important as setting up. I see this a lot, people taking their time to set up meticulously…then throwing everything into the caravan at the end. They just want to get on their way…I get it.
It does however pay to pack up properly for a number of reasons. It protects your things by ensuring that they don’t get damaged on the journey back. You also have the chance to ensure there is no damage to anything that needs your attention. There is nothing worse than arriving at a new caravan site to find something does not work. Finally, packing up properly means that you need to spend less time preparing the next time you set off to a new destination. This alone makes it a great reason to be meticulous. Remember that checklist I mentioned above?
Fast forward your learning
There are plenty of places dotted around that you can take a caravanning course. They really do speed up your learning and can make your journeys a lot safer, especially in the early days.
You may make the argument that you will learn as you go along…and that is perfectly fine. One thing is for sure, if you do take the courses, you wont regret doing so.
So, there you have it, these are the top 10 caravanning tips and tricks for beginners. Pay attention to them as it will make your caravanning experience better, especially in the early days.
Of course, there are other things that are just as important. Let me know what you think…what do you wish you learnt in your early caravanning days or what you actually learnt…often the hard way. Let me know in the comments below.
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