Caravaning remains a British pastime. No fewer than 1.5 million people regularly take touring caravan/motorhome holidays, according to the National Caravan Council UK. But before travelling the length and breadth of Britain and beyond, caravan owners can consider a few tricks of the trade before setting off.
Planning your journey
Destination and route will likely dictate how you go about planning and preparing your caravan trip and the essentials you’ll need for the journey ahead. UK-based holidays are arguably easier to plan because you don’t have to consider ferry crossing time tables or European road networks; however the continent is easily accessed. The rule of thumb goes that the longer the distance, the greater and earlier the preparation required.
A key factor is determining whether your ‘home on wheels’ and the towing vehicle are fully roadworthy. If the vehicle needs a refit or you’re in the market for a second hand or new one, the choice is yours. So, in addition to budgeting for your holiday, it can be important to first budget for the caravan itself. This may involve assessing your savings or researching the various loan options available to make an informed decision. .
Preparing for the trip
A pre-requisite for any caravan owner is having the vehicle professionally serviced and maintained – but there are few aspects every owner is responsible for:
- Keeping the vehicle and its lights clean
- Routinely checking the tyre condition and pressures
Alongside the caravan, similar basic checks apply to the towing vehicle. This includes checking its tyre pressures, oil and ensuring all other liquid levels are topped up. Safety applies equally to both the caravan and vehicle regardless of the towing distance. Does the caravan and vehicle have correctly inflated spare wheels and a jack? How about a reflective jacket and warning triangle if a wheel needs to be changed? Is the car insurance up to date – and does it cover the country in question? Prior to hitting the open road, it’s wise to brush up your knowledge of caravan safety and maintenance.
What to take
A tip when travelling with a caravan is to travel as light as possible. This is not just from a safety perspective, but also because too many belongings take up room and increase weight and fuel consumption. Roof racks and boxes are handy for taking a few extras that won’t fit in the boot. Also, books, games and DVD players are handy for keeping children amused if travelling a long way. Plus if you’re going abroad, a foreign phrase book and a GB sticker are among some of the items needed.
Where to go
The world, or least Europe, is your oyster when travelling with your caravan. A great aspect of the UK is that, as an island, it has multiple ferry ports making it easy to reach the continent. Ports around our perimeter include Weymouth, Portsmouth, Dover, Harwich, Hull, Newcastle, Roysth and Aberdeen, not to mention Holyhead, Liverpool and Plymouth.
Why not venture further afield to one of the holiday parks or camping sites in Europe? Once on the continent, the caravanner is spoilt for choice with locations throughout France, Italy and Spain as well as Germany, Holland and Belgium. There is something to suit many holidaymakers – from stunning scenery, together with warmth and sunshine on the cards the further south you travel.
This guest post was written by Andy Moore on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog. It aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include handy tips and tricks, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Any links to Sainsbury’s Bank product pages contained within this post are there to provide information, not to directly promote financial products. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.