Righto. So you’ve either recently bought or you’re getting close to pulling the trigger on your very own caravan, but you’re a bit iffy on a few of the finer points of the whole ‘caravanning’ thing.
Fear not, intrepid Aussie friend! To make it all a little clearer and ensure your first adventure focuses on fun and relaxation instead of ‘Bugger, forgot to put in the chocks’ after waking up in the lake you fell asleep beside the night before, here are our 5 hottest tips for newbies in the caravanning game.
Tip 1. Put a checklist together
Know what? Put two checklists together. Make it three, actually.
The first checklist should include everything that needs to be brought along for the trip. Yes, this means items like water, coffee, food and camping chairs, but don’t forget the absolute essentials specific for caravanning like wheel chocks, towing mirrors, a van jack, sway control kit, and a fire extinguisher. You’ll also need to bring along coolant and oil in case your towing vehicle overheats (and it certainly can, especially if you’re new at towing a van).
Your next checklist is your ‘pre-flight’ checklist; the one to follow before departure (from home or a campsite). It will include checking that everything is secure inside and out of the van, the hitch, and lights of the towing vehicle and van.
The final list will be the steps involved once you arrive at your destination. You won’t need this after a few trips, but it’s important to be able to run through it one by one initially so you don’t accidentally miss anything. Every van is different in terms of setup, so do a few practice runs at home before heading off.
Tip 2. Pre-book wherever possible
Don’t ever assume there’ll be a spot for you at a caravan park, especially if it’s close to a beach. If you’ve mapped out your trip, call well ahead and book in advance to avoid the devastation of being turned away on arrival!
Tip 3. Be overzealous with fuel
Towing a caravan drinks up a heck of a lot more fuel than your vehicle will usually, so we recommend being a fair bit more cautious when it comes to filling up. That is, do it much more often than you normally would. And if possible, keep a jerry can of fuel somewhere just in case.
Tip 4. Change your approach to driving
You might be an exceptional driver, but everything changes when you’re towing a caravan. Stopping distances, how your brakes perform under load, and the handling of your vehicle all change substantially. Before you do head off, it’s a great idea to hitch up and take your caravan for a drive to get yourself used to the vastly different feel of the drive.
Tip 5. Understand weights
Your vehicle will have a maximum towing capacity, and the van itself will have a payload capacity - the total weight allowed including va and anything inside it. Which means while you might want to bring absolutely everything along it might not be feasible. Consider switching out heavier items for lighter alternatives (crockery to plastic, for example).
Got your eye on a caravan? We’ll help with the finance
Now more than ever Aussies all over the country are hitching up caravans and hitting the road. If you’ve found the perfect caravan and want to join in on the fun, Stratton Finance is here to help sort out the finance.
Our team has a huge amount of experience finding customers the perfect caravan finance packages, and we’ll do exactly the same for you. Call us now on 1300 955 600 to discuss your financing needs or send us an online enquiry and you’ll hear back from us soon.