It’s never a bad time to take some time off and head out into the open road for a caravan holiday. Nothing compares to the feeling of freedom that you get when you don’t have to adhere to any train or plane schedules, or deal with hotels. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want it.
Still, if you want a truly perfect caravan holiday, you’ll probably want to take at least some time to make sure that you are well prepared for the trip. There are many things to think about, check, and even do before you leave.
So here are some of the most important steps you need to take before you head out on your trip if you want to ensure that you’ll have a time worth remembering for the rest of your life.
1. Map Out Your Trip
The first thing you’ll want to do when organizing your caravan holiday is to think about the destination. Of course, that does not mean you have to know exactly where you’re going minute by minute, but it does help a lot when you can fall back on some sort of plan; the trip becomes more purposeful this way.
You can always make detours if needed along the way, or even change course completely if you find that another destination seems more interesting. But planning out the itinerary, at least to some extent, does help a lot too. You can look up the most interesting attractions in different areas and see much more in your time. Few people like wandering around an unknown area without having any clue where they are going.
Here are a few simple tips:
1. Make an Outline of Your Route Preferences. If you take the time to consider the scenery you’re looking for, terrain you want to travel on, and even how much you want to get away from civilization, it will help you tremendously in later planning stages. When you know what you’re seeking, it’s much easier to find the perfect travel routes for it.
Tip: Consider the time of the year, because some parts are better suited for a summer trip, while others may be the opposite.
2. Make a Budget Estimate. If you don’t know how much you’ll be able to spend on your caravan holiday, it’s hard to get a move on the planning process. After all, how much you can spend determines if you can constantly stay in paid RV parks, whether you’ll have to stock up on food to prepare it yourself or if you will be able to afford eating in restaurants and diner’s, and also what kind of attractions you can afford.
3. Check the Roads. Now this one might be a little difficult to properly assess, but at least you should have an idea of what road you’ll take to get you where you’re going, and if you won’t run into any kind of problems along the way. A good idea is to simply get in touch with fellow campers. You can simply go online and get all the answers from one of many RV travellers’ forums.
2. Thoroughly Inspect the Caravan and the Car
Before heading out to the road, probably the most important step to ensure a safe and fun caravan holiday is thoroughly inspecting both the caravan and the towing vehicle. They are going to be exposed to a lot of stress and environmental factors during the trip, so everything has to work properly and be in good condition before you can head out.
It would be best if you could leave this part to professionals, but if not, you can do the essential check-up yourself. Below are the most important parts of the caravan and the towing vehicle that need to be inspected one by one.
- Thoroughly inspect the tyre pressure and general condition. They will inevitably wear out as years go by. If you feel that their condition is starting to deteriorate, don’t hesitate to replace them. Good tyres are essential for the safety of your trip.
- Check the rims and wheel nuts for any damage, as they also may contribute to bad tyre pressure and deflation.
- Inspect the lighting on all sides, as well as any important connections between the car and the caravan. The safety of towing largely depends on them.
- Look for any damage to the gas utilities. Any sort of damage could lead to serious problems and even life-threatening situations. If everything looks in order upon inspection, you can do a simple test to make sure: light the flame on the cooker and see its colour. If it stays blue, that means everything’s working properly, but if it gets a yellowish shade, you should consult with an expert.
- Finally, check if the towing car is in a proper state as well: from simple things like batteries, to oils, brakes and everything else. Towing a caravan requires the vehicle to be in good condition in order for your caravan holiday to be safe.
3. Don’t Forget the Essentials
One of the most annoying things that could happen on your holiday is if you realized in the middle of nowhere that you forgot something essential, like matches, or a wine opener. So in order to avoid these kinds of misfortune, here’s a pretty comprehensive list of common things that should be taken on a caravan holiday, in no particular order:
- Umbrella; toilet paper; sunscreen, rubber boots; power lead; matches; maps/GPS; first aid kit; can opener; bottle opener; hose; insect repellent; spare keys; extra set of toothbrushes; camera; flashlight.
Of course, there are plenty of other things that you’ll want and probably should take on the trip, but these are some of the more commonly forgotten items that can later cause inconveniences when you need them.
Pro tip: Since you might be travelling in places with weak cell phone reception, you might want to prepare for it in advance. There are a couple of different approaches you could take. One is to simply get a satellite phone, which works almost anywhere in the world. The other one is to install a cell signal booster. These are relatively cheap, easy to install, and can help you catch a signal in places where it would be nearly impossible otherwise.
4. Pack Enough Food and Entertainment
It’s hard to imagine a perfect caravan holiday if you’re sitting someplace on an empty stomach, or if you’re bored out of your mind. Consider stocking up on plenty of food, as well as bringing enough entertainment to outlast your trip.
Since you have a fridge, you have pretty good food packing options. But it’s probably a wise idea to leave the fridge for the more essential items like meat, cheese or some vegetables. Also, stock up on longer lasting bread, and, most importantly, plenty of canned goods.
As for entertainment, this is more of an individual matter, but some popular items to bring on longer trips are board games, books and some sports stuff. You could always bring a computer, or even throw in a guitar – when you’re sitting beside a fire in a camp, nothing beats singing a few nice tunes.
Pro tip: Wondering where you’re going to fit all this stuff? No problem! You just have to get creative with your storage – use under the cabinet stemware racks to place glasses, bottles of wine, or even plates and pots or pans in a space that would otherwise go unused. You can use magnets for the same purpose – stick metal kitchen utensils and always have them close, without needing any extra space. Finally, you can install slide-out drawers under the bed or stairs and create even more space for your belongings.
5. Improve Your Caravan
Lastly, in order to make your caravan holiday truly perfect, spruce up your caravan a bit more to make it more comfortable. A few clever storage tips were mentioned in the previous section of the article. Here, we’ll focus further on how you can make your caravan more convenient (most of these tips are from a great article on Buzzfeed that you can find here).
- Over the cabinet wastebasket. A terrific solution that allows you to have all of the cabinets for actually storing things instead of wasting space on a wastebasket.
- Inside of doors. Normally an empty space, these can be great for installing a net to hold slippers, using broom holders to hold flashlights, or simply brooms themselves.
- Velcro for remotes. Nothing is more annoying than having to look all over the camper for the remote, but you can forget that if you use Velcro to have them conveniently at your fingertips.
- Use brackets to mount cleaning equipment on the ceiling.
- Hanging baskets. In order to use space that is near the ceiling, you can use hanging baskets – a very convenient way to store small items you need often.
A lot goes into a truly memorable caravan holiday. Make sure that you know where you’re going, as well as what you can spend. It is also very important to ensure that your trip is safe. You’re better off checking that your caravan and your towing vehicle and both in great shape; you don’t want to have something go wrong in the middle of nowhere!
Finally, for the trip to go smoothly, you need plenty of food supplies, as well as entertainment, to keep you busy and having fun. Also, to make your stay in the caravan more convenient, you can make a lot of small improvements to help with increasing the storage space or simply helping to have things easier to reach.
Now all this might seem like a lot of work, and it does indeed require some effort, but one thing is clear – if you take the time to prepare for the perfect caravan holiday, you will most likely be glad you did when you’re out there enjoying it.
Craig writes here on behalf of Explorex Caravans, a caravan manufacturing company based in Western Australia.