Gone are the days of caravanning being seen as something only grey nomads do. We’ve finally woken up and realised they were onto something this whole time! There are few things in life more amazing than being able to hitch up your van and get out there to experience some of the most incredible spots Australia has to offer, spending a few nights away from home without having to pay to sleep in some seedy motel with a questionable bedspread.
Whether you’re currently shopping for your first caravan (chat with us on 1300 787 288 - we’ll help with finance!) or you’ve already bought and are ready to make tracks for the first time, there are a few things you should be aware of first.
5 top tips for new caravan owners
Tip 1. Stay on top of fuel consumption
When you’re towing a van your car will become a fair bit thirstier, so keep in mind that you’ll be spending more on fuel costs. The best way to minimise this cost, though, is to tow with a turbo diesel with a good towing capacity as you’ll get a lot more out of your tanks of fuel. Use our online car finance tool to find out how low your monthly repayments could be for a new 4WD that’ll handle your van with ease.
We also reckon it’s a solid idea to fill a couple of decently-sized jerry cans (20L or so) to take with you just in case - nothing spoils a weekend away like running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere and having to radio for help!
Tip 2. Be aware of all the hidden costs
There are quite a few add-ons you should strongly consider purchasing for your caravan such as:
- Locks: for windows, doors, wheels, and hitches. It might also be worth investing in a GPS tracking device in case some dirty bugger decides to hitch your van and take off with it while you’re off exploring.
- An awning: this doesn’t have to be some fancy-schmancy walled awning, but just something that’ll give you some shade while you sit around outside for a couple of cold drinks. Many caravans have one in-built these days, but if yours doesn’t it’s really a must to buy one.
- Accessories: these may include creature comforts on the inside that didn’t come standard with the van or external add-ons like a bike rack.
And don’t forget about the servicing, repairs and insurance costs!
Tip 3. Read the manual
It may be twice as thick as War and Peace by Dostoyevsky, but let’s be honest - it’ll be more interesting! When purchasing your new caravan, the salesperson should take you through all the features and functions from top to bottom. But it’s also important that you read the manual to ensure you know well how everything works - this may well save you money on fixing damage caused by not being aware of how something is properly opened/turned/screwed, etc.
You might also like to practice setting up and packing away the van and all the quirks and features at home a few times so you’re comfortable with it all before hitting the road.
Tip 4. Remember to pack the essentials
Before you head off on your very first caravanning adventure, make a list of everything that MUST be packed such as toilet paper, phone chargers, electrical extension leads, gas connectors and the like. Physically ticking everything off a list will put your mind at ease when you’re on the road. Oh, and remember to turn off the oven/heater/AC/stove/hair straightener at home before you leave!
Tip 5. Driving dress rehearsals
Driving with a caravan in tow is very different than without. Make sure you’re aware of how it feels to drive towing your van, and take it to an empty lot for some reversing practice (this may take a while, but in our experience one you ‘get it’, you get it). It’s also imperative that you have towing side mirrors fitted.
You should also be well-versed on the towing laws in your state (note: ACT information was unavailable):
Finance a new caravan today
Do you want the freedom to just pack up and hit the road whenever you feel like it? A caravan will let you do exactly that. We can help you find caravan finance that suits your needs, and will get you on the road quicker than you can say ‘hi ho silver, away’. Use our financing quote tool to discover what your monthly repayments might look like or call us today on 1300 787 288 to find out exactly what we can do for you.