Caravanning for Beginners: 10 Top Tips

If you’re planning your first caravan holiday, our beginner’s guide to caravanning will soon have you up and running!

A young couple on a caravan holiday, sitting on the grass outside a touring caravan

You’ve chosen your caravan and now you’re starting to plan your first caravan holiday. It’s exciting but there’s a lot to organise and you may well be feeling a little nervous as well.

You might not know quite what to pack for a caravan holiday, or feel like you need some tips for towing a caravan before you leave.

Don’t worry – our beginner’s guide to caravanning has 10 simple caravan travel tips to help make your first caravan holiday a great success!

Safety first

Before you head off on your first UK caravan holiday, make sure that you’ve done the necessary safety checks on your caravan.

You should check that your towing aid is correctly fitted and that you have checked the condition, tread depth and air pressure of your tyres. It’s also worth doing a general car safety check to make sure your car is in good running order.

Make sure that you have all the essential safety equipment on board, including a fire blanket or extinguisher, first aid kit, smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm.

Check that door and windows locks are in good order, and that everything in your caravan is securely fastened down so it won’t move around when you’re on the road.

Check your caravan insurance

It’s also important to make sure that you get a caravan insurance quote before you travel.

Caravan insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but your caravan would be expensive to replace or repair so it’s a good idea to take out insurance. Not only does it cover your caravan in the event of it being damaged or stolen, but it also means that you’ll be covered if your caravan causes any damage to anything else.

Using security devices like a wheel clamp can help to reduce the cost of your premium, as will storing the caravan in a secure CaSSOA when you’re not using it. And you could also be offered lower premiums if you have passed an approved towing course.

A car towing a caravan on a holiday trip

Don’t go too far

When you’re planning your first caravan holiday, don’t look too far afield at first.

Towing a caravan will take some getting used to, so you probably don’t want your first experience to be a six hour drive or one which involves twisty, single track country roads.

Of course, one of the bonuses of owning a caravan is the ability to plan short trips close to home without worrying about the expense of the overnight accommodation. So make the destination for your first caravan holiday somewhere close to home or near the dealership where you bought your caravan.

That way, you’re close to help if you do have any problems.

Adjust your driving

You’ll need to adjust your driving when you are towing a caravan. This will mean allowing for the extra length behind your car, allowing more time for braking, avoiding sudden lane changes and using your steering and pedals more smoothly.

It’s also important to plan extra rest stops along the way as towing is more tiring.

You’ll also notice that your fuel consumption increases. Keeping your speed down will help to minimise this, and you should also be aware of the different speed limits that apply when towing a caravan.

It may be worth looking into an approved towing course, which will give you extra confidence on the road and could also reduce the cost of caravan insurance.

Pack your caravan safely

When you’re kitting out your caravan, it’s important to pack things safely. Loose or badly positioned items could affect the stability of your caravan on the road.

Make sure that you pack the heaviest items in your caravan above the axle, and then medium sized items next to them.

You can put lighter items in the cabinets if you want to, but it’s better to store as much on the floors as possible. Pack clothes in soft holdalls rather than suitcases, so that you can fold the bags up and stash them away more easily during your holiday.

A woman pouring water from a kettle into a cup, inside the kitchen of a caravan

Plan your menu

You don’t need to plan every last detail of your holiday, but it’s a good idea to plan a few easy meals to cook in your caravan.

Cook and freeze a casserole, chilli or similar before your holiday, and then take it out of the freezer on the morning that you travel. It will defrost throughout the day and be ready to cook on your first evening.

Pack a box of the staples that you’ll need in the kitchen, such as tea or coffee, sugar, salt and pepper, washing up liquid and so on. Then take a look online to find out what supermarkets are near your site so you can stock up on everything else you need.

You’ll need snacks to keep you going after a day of sightseeing or relaxing, and the odd takeaway won’t hurt either!

Pack Extra Towels

You’ve probably already got towels on your caravan packing list. You’ll need hand, face and bath towels plus extra towels if you plan to go swimming or paddling in the sea.

But it’s worth popping a few extra ones in if you have the space. They’ll be very handy if the weather turns inclement and you don’t have a chance to dry your towels properly. They’re also useful to put down as a floor mat in the shower room, or to have on hand in case of spills.

And don’t forget to pack plenty of tea towels as well!

Plan for Rainy Days

And talking of inclement weather, don’t forget to plan some activities for rainy days.

The British weather is bound to deliver the odd day of rain, so you’ll need some entertainment to keep you occupied til the sun comes out again. You might like to take along a pack of cards or board games, DVDs for a movie night, or whatever craft activity you enjoy.

It’s also worth doing a little research into indoor activities in the local area, just in case the bad weather lasts more than a day or two!

Camping chairs and bikes outside a caravan on a holiday in the mountains

Don’t forget the camping chairs

Your caravan will have plenty of comfy seating inside, but you don’t want to spend all your holiday indoors. Of course you could just sit on the grass or a blanket, but that’s not the most comfortable option.

So make sure to add some camping chairs to your caravan holiday checklist. They’ll be great for sitting outside your caravan in the morning or when you come back after a day out.

And they’re also useful to have on hand in case you fancy a day on the beach.

Don’t forget to pack…

A few extra things that you need to remember to pack for your caravan holiday:

  • Bedding
  • Loo rolls
  • Laundry detergent
  • Rainwear and wellies (bang sticks into the ground to hang them on upside down)
  • A torch or two
  • Phone chargers
  • Bin bags for rubbish, recycling and for dirty laundry
  • Electric hook-up cable

You’ll soon find your own must-have items and familiar routines, and will be able to look forward to plenty of exciting caravanning holidays!

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