Our guide to touring
blog / advice / new caravans / pre-owned caravans / holiday
If you’ve recently bought your first touring caravan and are new to the scene, this guide should provide a handy outline of the main things you should consider when planning and embarking on your first few trips.
It’s an exciting time, you’ve put in the time choosing your new caravan and it’s now time to get your new holiday home on the road! Be sure to take the time to think through and plan your first trip well as everything will go a lot smoother if you’re well prepared.
Where to go
The first thing to think about is where you want to go - you can stay close to home or venture further afield, whatever takes your fancy! If it’s your first time towing, it might be a good idea to do a shorter journey to start off with until you gain some confidence. We’re lucky to have dozens of amazing places to visit right on our doorstep - read our Hampshire and Dorset destination blogs for inspiration!
Once you’ve decided where you’re headed, start researching what sites are located there and what’s available. You can google ‘caravan sites in Dorset’ for example and see what comes up, or you can use a dedicated site finder such as Pitchup or Caravansitefinder. Make a shortlist of features you’d like the site to have and add these to the filters to ensure you get the type of site you’re after. This could be anything from a rural location, to sites with facilities such as shops, laundry and takeaway options, or even ones that allow dogs if you’re planning to take your furry friend along.
Research your chosen area
It’s always a good idea to research where you’re going to see what there is to do; this may also help you decide how long to go for once you know what you need to fit in! It’ll also be beneficial for checking what’s open, if there are any covid-related restrictions in place at your places of interest and if you need to book tickets in advance etc. Being well-prepared will ensure you have all the info you need and are not disappointed when you get there.
One stop or pit stops?
Would you like to station yourself in one location and enjoy what’s around you, or book a few sites and move from one to the next experiencing a number of different locations? Both options are easily achievable in a caravan due to ease of pitching so it’s up to you to decide which option you’d prefer. If you go for pit stops, plan your route logically to ensure you’re getting the best fuel economy.
How long do you want to go for? Many people caravan for long weekends as it's quick and easy to get away at the drop of a hat. You can also go for longer breaks if you have annual leave or are enjoying retirement. So have a think about the duration that would suit you - this may depend on where you’re planning to go - it may not be worth travelling a long way for just a few days and you’ll also need longer if you have a few destinations in mind.
With the ongoing coronavirus situation as it is, foreign travel this year remains uncertain. This has led to a surge in the demand for UK-based holidays, including camping and caravanning, so sites are likely to get snapped up fast. Once you’ve decided on your site, get it booked to secure your spot! Make sure you do this for each site you’re planning to visit to avoid disappointment.
Towing for the first time (or first few times!) can be a little daunting until you get used to the different driving technique required and gain some confidence. Your new caravan is precious so you’ll want to do all you can to ensure it is safe whilst you’re towing it and you’re bound to feel a little nervous at first.
Towing for the first time with a loaded car, excited children and a holiday destination to get to could put too much pressure on you, so it may be a good idea to take it out for a few practise runs prior to your trip; this will give you the chance to get used to the feeling of towing and enable you to learn to judge the dimensions and limitations.
Take it out at a time when traffic is quiet - perhaps in the evening (after the rush hour but while it’s still light) or on a Sunday. The more you tow, the more confident and relaxed you will feel.
Keep in mind that you will need to drive more slowly whilst towing, so build in extra time for your journey. Check that the tyres on your car and caravan are in good condition before travelling and remember that accelerating and stopping distances will be greater too.
Our guide to towing details all the things you need to know, so be sure to give it a read. It covers car towing limits (although hopefully you checked this before buying your caravan!) what accessories you may need, how to couple your car to your caravan safely and also includes some top towing tips.
There are some caravan accessories that you just won’t want to be without! Check out our must-have list below - some items are available in our online shop or why not pop into our on-site shop for a leisurely browse? Keep in mind that we also offer a contact-free click and collect service so if you’d rather not venture into the shop just yet, you can place your order over the phone and collect from our car park area.
Power cable - enabling you to hook up to the electrical supply and make use of all your creature comforts.
Leisure battery - get power when electrical hook up is not an option.
BBQ - great for cooking a range of quick, easy and tasty meals.
Camping chairs - make the most of the great outdoors!
Awning - double your footprint with an awning and let the kids run loose, even in wet weather!
Water carriers - an absolute must-have for life on the caravan site.
Fire extinguisher - better safe than sorry, these are handy at tackling small flames.
Kettle - everyone likes a good cuppa!
Bedding - a good night’s sleep is a must - choose between duvets and sleeping bags and don’t forget your pillows!
First aid / tool / cleaning kits - keep all those important essentials to hand!
Some of our other blogs may also prove useful when planning your trip:
If you have any questions about getting started on your caravanning journey, get in touch for a chat! Our accessory shop team is very knowledgeable on everything caravan-related and can help ensure you have everything you need to make your first trip a great one!
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