Category: Personal Development Written by Rebecca Smith
Traveling in a caravan comes with numerous perks, including the freedom to spend your night anywhere. The costs of caravanning also tend to be considerably lower than those of typical holiday homes. Plus, you can always customize the vehicle to suit your own needs.
Other notable benefits of caravanning include higher prospects of meeting new people and the fact that caravans are ideal for all seasons.
However, the prospect of going on a caravan adventure for the first time can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. The situation can be even more challenging if you’ve never driven a caravan before.
Fortunately, we’ve prepared some of the best tips to help you enjoy your maiden caravanning trip.
Be Sure You Can Drive It
Driving a caravan is not a feat for the faint-hearted. Much less if you’re attempting it for the first time.
However, you don’t need to fret. All you need is a proper approach, confidence, and the will to learn.
For starters, ensure that you can legally drive in your native country and in the country where you intend to go caravanning. You’ll need to prove that by providing a valid driver’s license. So, remember to carry your driver’s license if you’re planning to go caravanning in an overseas destination.
Also, note that you may be required to take further tests to be allowed to drive a caravan.
Even with a valid driver’s license, there are a few caravan driving tips that you’ll need to practice from time to time, including reversing.
Another invaluable caravan driving tip is to take the widest line you can while attempting to negotiate a corner. That’s especially if your caravan has a longer trailer.
Choose Whether to Buy or Rent
One of the most common dilemmas faced by new caravanners is buying or renting their first van. Now, either option comes with its perks and drawbacks.
Buying a caravan is generally recommended if you plan to go on frequent caravanning adventures, say, once per week. In that case, you won’t have to incur rental costs each time you wish to embark on a caravan trip.
Buying your own caravan also allows you to customize the vehicle to suit your own tastes and preferences. Note that some rental companies may impose restrictions on the extent to which you can personalize their vans.
The best part is that numerous companies are offering sited caravans for sale. You only need to know where to look.
On the other hand, renting a caravan is recommended if you only go caravanning occasionally. There’s no logic in owning a caravan if you only use the vehicle once a year.
Another notable benefit of renting a caravan over buying one is that you can experiment with a newer vehicle each time.
Know How to Buy/Rent
It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying or renting; there are certain features to look out for in a caravan.
For starters, shun the temptation of buying the first caravan you set your eyes on.
Since you’re new to caravans, every vehicle may appeal to you. But remember that there’s a lot more to consider other than the van's mere layout and interior design. Plus, you may end up purchasing or renting a second-hand caravan that’s marketed as brand new.
So, whatever you do, prepare yourself adequately for this arduous task.
The following are some of the common tips when looking for a caravan to buy or rent;
- Bid for what you can see
- Establish the vendor’s feedback and reputation
- Inspect the caravan for odd stains and malfunctioning engine
- Consider the resale value and after-sale services (if you’re buying the van)
- Pay on collection
- Insist on purchase/rental documentation
- Ensure the van (if you’re buying it)
Choose a Great Caravanning Destination
A caravanning adventure is nearly similar to a road trip. The only difference is that almost all caravans are rough-terrain vehicles.
Since caravans are designed for off-roading, it’s intuitive to imagine that you can drive these vehicles across all manner of terrain. But that’s not entirely true.
To enjoy your maiden caravanning trip, you’ll need to choose a great caravan holiday destination.
When choosing a caravanning holiday destination, the focus should be on the scenery and wildlife. The more scenic the drive is, the better.
Personal safety is also a consideration when choosing a caravan destination. That’s especially if you’ll be spending most of your time off the grid.
Choose a Great Camp Site
One advantage of caravanning is that you don’t need to retreat to some designated hotel at the end of each day. However, that freedom often comes with a tradeoff – finding the right camping site.
Now, it may be tempting to camp anywhere at the end of each day, including by the roadside or in the bushes. But for safety reasons, it’s prudent to find a decent camping site nearby.
A good camping site for caravans should generally have enough parking space. There should also be proper ground control. Watch out for slopping areas, rough surfaces, sandy patches, or loose dirt.
Lastly, the site should offer maximum security. You don’t want to wake up the following morning to the sad realization that your van was burgled.
Going on your maiden caravanning adventure is just as challenging as embarking on any road trip for the first time. Despite how prepared you think you are, it’s important to always watch out for unpleasant surprises.
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