What to Know About Caravan and Camping Holidays
A camping holiday sounds like the perfect environmentally friendly, budget trip for the family. But campsite etiquette can be a minefield and if you decide to take or rent a caravan, there’s a whole new set of rules to abide by...
Plan Your Camping Trip Well In AdvanceThe secret to camping and caravan holidays would seem to be in the planning. There are hundreds of campsites offering either camping facilities, static caravans or a plot to park up for a week or two. Do your research and make sure that the facilities are what you’re looking for – are you happy to wing it and camp in a farmer’s field, or do you prefer your accommodation to have at least a few mod cons? If you turn up expecting a shower complex and well-stocked clubhouse but find out that all you have is a hole in the ground, your holiday will be ruined.
If camping in a tent, make sure that you’re fully prepared for the environment. If you’re basing yourself in a coastal area, you need to pack suitable sand pegs, but in the countryside strong short pegs could be more appropriate. Some coastal areas can be very windy, too, so make sure you’ve brought enough extra guy ropes, pegs, and windbreaks. Also bear in mind the weather conditions and pack accordingly.
Before You Take Your Tent Away
- Check the overall general condition of the tent a few weeks before you go, especially the pegs, loops, zips and fly screens
- Check the frame to ensure everything’s there that should be
- Count the pegs and guy ropes, taking into account the weather and conditions
- If you have gas stoves or lamps, test them before you go
- Check the condition of stove hoses and rings, and if you’re worried about anything, take them to a reputable dealer to be checked.
- Make sure that your air beds, camp beds and sleeping equipment are in good condition
What Do I Need to Know About Towing a CaravanIf you are taking your own caravan away with you, you probably already know the rules and regulations around towing and driving a caravan. If you’re not sure, check with the National Trailer and Towing Association (NTTA)
- You need to hold a full driving licence to tow a caravan (not a provisional)
- You must not let any passengers travel in the caravan while you’re towing, although pets are allowed
- keep heavy items low down inside the caravan, and if possible directly over the axle
- check the tyre pressures for car and caravan before you go.
If You Are Taking Your Caravan AbroadCheck with your insurer that your car and caravan insurance policies cover foreign travel. Take copies of your driving licence, insurance documents and the car registration document, and make sure that your breakdown cover is valid for foreign and caravan travel.
In some EU countries it’s required by law that drivers must carry spare bulbs for the car and caravan, a warning triangle, fire extinguisher and first-aid kit.
When You Get to The Caravan SiteThere is usually a long list of rules to consider when you pitch up at a campsite. Here’s a few things to take into consideration that might not be mentioned in the welcome pack.
- Remember that the whole point of caravan and camping holidays is to stay close to nature – so always make sure that you use existing sites and tracks, and don’t damage the environment.
- Find out in advance if pets are allowed. If not, respect this, but if you do take your pet keep it under control and always clean up after it.
- If you’re part of a large group try and pitch your caravan or tent away from others. Keep music at a reasonable volume and turn it off at night.
- If there is a speed limit in the park, stick to it
- Only build campfires in designated areas, and make sure that you burn materials that will don’t leave any residue, so no plastic!
Camping and caravanning are a great way to see the country, and other countries. A little common sense will always go a long way when it comes to ensuring a great break.