Once upon a time, caravan holidays were primarily associated with the grey nomad movement and retirement. Nowadays, the great Aussie road trip is back on the map, with more and more families hitting the road in search of adventure.
If you’re planning to join the caravan movement and ride off into the sunset, here are a few pointers to make for happy travels.
Tip #1: Plan ahead
One of the biggest mistakes first-timers make is not booking a site in advance in camping hot spots. The most popular locations can be booked out months in advance, so secure your site in each place you want to visit before you set off. If you’re on a tight budget, there are free camping sites around Australia – check them out at www.freecampingaustralia.com.au
Tip #2: Arrive during daylight
Towing a caravan takes practice. You have to reduce your speed, allow for the wind factor and avoid creating a traffic jam. It pays to start early to avoid heavy traffic and ensure you can arrive at your destination and set up while it’s still light.
Tip #3: Practice reversing
Reversing a caravan is a difficult skill to master, so we recommend you practice before setting out on your big adventure. It helps if you have a partner to give you directions – walkie talkies can be a big help and will save you yelling and attracting an audience.
Tip #4: Get caravan insurance
When you’re towing your own accommodation, it pays to get an insurance policy. Check out insurance that covers you for loss or damage anywhere in Australia due to accidents, storms, impact, vandalism, fire and theft. It’s also a good idea to ensure it covers your caravan contents (we can help show you some options if you like).
Tip #5: Don’t leave the Esky outside
The interior space in a caravan can be limited, so when bedtime rolls around, you might be tempted to put the Esky outside the door. Rookie error!
You may totter outside in the morning ready to devour some breakfast, only to discover the wildlife has beaten you to it. If there is no room for you and all of your foodstuffs inside the caravan, put them in the car at night.
Tip #6: Choose your timing with laundry
We know, we know – who wants to be bothered with laundry on holidays. But there will come a time when you do need clean clothing. Most good caravan parks provide laundry facilities, but it’s Murphy’s Law that everyone will want to use them at the same time. Consider doing your laundry at night. Remember to bring your own pegs if you’re not using a dryer.
Tip #7: Don’t rely on the kids for company
Caravan parks offer great amenities for the kids. If they’re old enough to explore by themselves, you may only see them when they’re hungry. Bring a good book, a board game to play with your partner or a podcast to listen to.
Tip #8: Plan your meals
If you’re going somewhere off the beaten track, there may be no local shop if you run out of essentials. Plan your meals so that you have everything you need, from the cooking equipment to salt and pepper. And remember to always bring plenty of fresh drinking water – the local water may not be drinkable.
Tip #9: Don’t depend on a campfire
Don’t count on using a campfire to cook with. In many locations, campfires are prohibited or there may be fire bans. On the other side of the coin, if it rains, you may not be able to light a fire. If your van doesn’t have cooking facilities, bring a BBQ.
Tip #10: Bring a first-aid kit
It should include band-aids, bandages, antiseptic, sterile wipes, sunburn ointment, insect repellent, insect sting lotion, and burn cream. You should also include tweezers, scissors, safety pins and a knife.
Ready for the adventure of a lifetime?
Summer is a great time of year to hit the road on an adventure – all you need is the caravan.
If you need help financing your caravan purchase, speak to our lending specialists about your options. We can help you with a suitable loan for all kinds of large purchases – not just home loans, so give us a call today.