First Time Caravanning

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First Time Caravanning

First Time Caravanning


So we’ve all been there, weeks spent planning the most picturesque family camping trip possible; you have the location, you’ve spend hours convincing everyone this will be one to remember, and the car is full to the brim with tents, sleeping bags and supplies to last a lifetime. You get to your destination and it does not disappoint, then, the trouble starts...

Four hours into your holiday the campsite might just be set up, minus a few tent pegs of course, and your escape to the country can get under way… over the next few days you turn into Bear Grylls, surviving in the wilderness, taking on mother nature in her finest forms from your temporary textile home. Then, when you get home, ‘never again…’ are the words on everyone’s lips. This time you have had enough, it’s time to upgrade. But we aren’t talking tents anymore, oh no, you’ve decided to treat yourself to your own home away from home, a caravan.

Here at Autoleisure we believe if you are a keen explorer, or just like a change of scenery every now and then, a caravan can’t be beaten! We have compiled some helpful tips and tricks to make your holidays as enjoyable as possible!


Which caravan is right for you?


As with many things in the modern world the choices are endless! But the are some key components which remain after peeling back all of that fancy décor. Berth number is one of the most important factors in caravan choice as this dictates the number of people the caravan will comfortably accommodate. In order to choose the right size caravan, think about the number of people who will mostly likely be joining you on your adventures. It is usually a good idea to also allow for any visitors you might have on your journey, so there is always enough room for everyone!

Caravans are highly customisable; awnings allow for additional space to be created outdoors without the need to have a caravan with a higher berth number. It is always good practise to research the accessories which can be fitted to your caravan of choice before purchasing it so you know it will fulfil your needs.


Caravan Interior


It is vital to check the towing capacity of the vehicle you will be using to tow the caravan as exceeding this is illegal and can lead to insufficient control while towing or even an accident. We recommend you take time to practise towing and manoeuvring the caravan in an open area before taking to the road to familiarise yourself with how it effects driving. For smaller vehicles towing mirrors should be fitted to increase visibility.


Plan Ahead


A good idea is to make a checklist of items and things you need to remember when going away. There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination after a three hour drive and having to explain why you forgot to take the mother-in-law, so always make a list! The most important items for basic caravanning include a water container, gas bottle, regulator, waste container, toilet chemicals, caravan batteries with sufficient charge, first aid kit, spare tyre, and fire extinguishing equipment. Research the local area you will be staying in, it is likely that there will be camping/outdoor shops near campsites where you can purchase items if you do require them.

Be sure to do a walk-around check before taking your caravan on any long journeys to check for any damage or wear which could compromise the safety of the caravan; both in transit, and while be inhabited. Some important things to check are the tyres, towing equipment, gas lines, brakes (for braked caravans), waterproofing, and security features. Before towing the caravan ensure any loose items are either put away or secured to avoid movement while in tow.


Route Planning


Whether you use a navigation device, or go old school with a map, it is important to have a good idea where you will be heading, what road conditions you will come across, and how long it will take to get there. Researching a route will give you the opportunity to plan out stops along the way and ensure roads are caravan friendly; caravans are much heavier and wider than cars so wider roads are always advised. Road rules also differ when towing a caravan when compared to a car, the general rule is 10mph less than the normal speed limit. For motorways and dual carriageways this means a maximum of 60mph, while on single carriageways you should not exceed 50mph.

A lower speed limit can result in a queue forming behind you, so you should always be aware of the road users around you and consider pulling over to allow traffic to pass if the queue becomes too long.


The Site


Caravan and camping sites vary greatly on facilities, ranging from a full package of toilets, showers and restaurants, to… nothing. Make sure you know what you’re heading into, so you have prepared your caravan for what lies ahead! It is a great idea to create another checklist for when you arrive at your destination to ensure the caravan is securely parked. If the caravan is on a slope it is advised to chock the wheels and level the caravan, these can be found here. Familiarise yourself with the surrounding area and any procedures that should be followed in the case of an emergency.

Caravan Levelling

Finally, enjoy your holiday and make the most of your home away from home, wherever it takes you!