Top 10 Tips for a Successful Caravan Holiday

The Advice Hub >Caravan Awning Advice >Top 10 Tips For A Successful Caravan Holiday


1. Planning

This may be an obvious one, but we have all left the house, got into the car, and started driving before realising that we had forgotten something; its then the frustration of having to turn back around and head home to pick up the forgotten items.

A checklist of the required equipment is a sure-fire way of ensuring everything is taken care of, double checked the night before travelling will ensure a restful night, rather than having disturbed sleep thinking "did we pack this" or "must remember to pack that in the morning".

Check that you are comfortable with the route you are taking, following a sat nav is fine, but just make sure that there are no ‘narrow’ roads, or areas that may be suitable for a car, but not when towing a caravan. Also gain an understanding of where the services are and pre-plan toilet breaks, refuelling and sustenance.

Ensure you have plenty of 'snacks' with you, as well as essentials for when you arrive; chances are you will be desperate for a cup of tea (or something stronger), or a bite to eat when you arrive.

Learn from Other People’s Experience

2. Learn from Other People’s Experience

Look at campsite customer reviews, websites such as TripAdvisor are a great source of information. Photographs of the grounds or facilities may be dated, and you might not get what you expected. Caravanning Facebook forums are also extremely useful, and the caravan community will be happy to advise based on personal experience. When on a caravan site, speak to other caravanners and ask them where they would recommend, everyone has their own 'hidden gem', and create your list of 'must visit destinations'!

Research your destination

3. Research your Destination

Believe it or not, the Great British weather can be unpredictable, doing a little research before you travel could pay dividends when you arrive at your destination; google nearby visitor attractions, castles, garden centres, beaches, pubs, or restaurants, as well as beaches and Parks; make a rough plan of things to do to avoid wasted days. Mixing relaxation with a little sightseeing or exercise will make your stay more fulfilling.

Vehicle Safety & Security

4. Vehicle Safety & Security

Before travelling, ensure all is in good order, check the pressure (and tread) on your car, as well as the caravan. Also check the tyres for deterioration on your caravan, even though you may not have done many miles, the rubber can deteriorate, and tyres should be changed roughly every 5 years.

Check your indicators are working on the car and caravan, as well as all other lighting.

Check your caravan’s 'nose-weight' before you start your journey; the nose-weight refers to the downward pressure on the car’s tow-ball, and it is essential that the weight at the front is correct to ensure safe towing. If the nose-weight is too light, the caravan will lean backwards, too heavy, and the caravan will tilt forwards. To alter the nose-weight, move the heavier packed items in your caravan, either in front or behind the caravan axle, depending whether you want to increase or decrease the weight on the tow ball. Although each car and caravan’s ideal nose-weight will be specific, and you should refer to the manufacturer’s literature; as a guide, the nose-weight should be between 5-7% of the caravan’s laden weight, that is the weight of the caravan when packed and ready for towing e.g., a fully laden caravan weighing 1,500kg, should have a nose weight of 75-105KG. Click here to buy a nose-weight gauge.

As far as safe laden tow weight is concerned, it is suggested that a towed load of about 85% of the car’s kerb weight is ideal; as an example, if a Ford Mondeo weighs 1,696kg, the laden weight of the caravan (the weight of the caravan plus anything you add luggage, awning, chairs, clothes, gas bottle etc) will ideally be 1,441kg. the idea is to have the heaviest tow car for any given caravan, to avoid ‘snaking’. The weight of your car, as well as caravan will be in your owner’s manual.

Always use towing mirrors, these will increase your rear vision, as when towing, you will lose the functionality of the rear-view mirror. It is a legal requirement for the driver to have 'adequate' vision around both the car and caravan; towing mirrors will greatly improve your special vision and increase safety for both yourselves and other road users. To see the full range of towing mirrors, click here.

Although caravan parks are very safe places, and caravan theft is rare, it is always better to be safe than sorry; when you venture out on your holidays, a wheel clamp and/or hitch-lock will help prevent opportunist thieves stealing your pride and joy. These security measures are, potentially more important to use when the caravan is not in use, as most thefts occur from either storage compounds or home addresses. Also, these precautions should be taken to meet insurer’s terms and conditions. To see the best range of security products, click here

Timing is Everything

5. Timing is Everything

So, the caravan is safely packed, caravan site is booked, and everyone is raring to go!! Just spend a few moments thinking about the route and the timings of the journey. Is there going to be heavy traffic from people heading into work, are you going past areas with road works or nearby schools? Preparing and packing the night before, or setting off after the morning rush hour, or in the evening could save hours of frustration. A little time spent looking at the route should give you clues reference the 'pinch points' and give you a (hopefully) trouble free journey.

Practice Makes Perfect

6. Practice Makes Perfect

If you buy any new equipment for you caravanning holidays, whether that be a new awning, new Cadac BBQ, relaxer chairs or anything with moving parts, consider having a practice run at home, or nearby, to make sure you know how the product works and to ensure you have all the accessories to make the most of the product. You do not want to get to a caravan site and realise that you need tongues for the BBQ, or you do not know how the awning should be pitched, or you can’t open up the chairs; its much better to spend a little time getting to know new products in private, than in public.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

7. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

A temptation on arrival at your destination could be to ‘go explore’, however, this puts the 'set up' either on hold, or down to one person. To avoid boredom, and to ensure everyone has an invested role within the setup, allocate tasks and ensure everyone knows what goes where and why; a vested interest will make the task of setup quicker and more enjoyable. Set up can be a long, laborious task, but with a plan, a checklist, and a team, it can be completed in a fraction of the time.

Enough Space for Everyone

8. Enough Space for Everyone

Invest in an awning!! modern awnings, especially air framed, are quick to put up and take down (especially the air framed variety). An awning could double your 'indoor' space and give shelter from either the sun, or the rain. The versatility a caravan awning brings, will add a new dynamic for your 'set-up', and will provide additional entertaining space, sleeping space, storage, or somewhere to kick back and relax on a lazy summer’s day! A veritable conservatory for the side of your caravan! There are various types of caravan awnings, Porch, traditional or residential, to gain a greater understanding of the types of awnings available click here, to see the latest range of caravan awnings click here.

Home Comforts

9. Home Comforts

Your caravan is your home from home, but to make the most of your time away, consider taking along some of the following to make the lost of your time away:

  • Pillows from your bed at home – a 'new' bed may take a little getting used to, using your regular pillows will provide a natural transition from home to the campsite.
  • Earplugs – caravan sites can be noisy, people get wrapped up in their own world and everyone has a different daily routine, earplugs (synthetic wax are good) will help to cut out unwanted noise and allow you to fully relax.
  • DVD’s – sometimes a little bit of TV is quite relaxing, however signal strength can be an issue. Taking some of your favourite DVDs will provide a nice bit of entertainment and you could also treat yourself to some popcorn.
  • Games, playing cards or jigsaws – are all ideal to keep the braincells working and alleviate boredom on 'miserable' days.
  • Pyjamas and slippers – always nice to start and end the day in something comfy.
  • Books – nothing better on a lazy day than to lose yourself in a good book.


Leave Plenty of Time for Pack Up

10. Leave Plenty of Time for Pack Up

Quite often the ‘pack down’ is always a bit of a rush-job! However, we have all gone to get ready for the next trip away and had to spend hours unravelling the awning someone rolled into a ball and threw it in the caravan, or sorting out dirty laundry, or looking for a particular item that is not where it should be. By simply throwing everything into the caravan, to get on the road as quickly as possible, could lead to things being spilled or damaged.

Simply reverse your set up checklist and allocate jobs for a perfect pack down.

Much better to simply time your journey home to make the drive efficient, and pack everything meticulously, to ensure less preparation is required on you next adventure, prevent damage, and ensure the weight is distributed correctly in your laden caravan, to ensure a safe, stress free journey home.

< Back to Articles