Caravanning is one of the most thrilling experiences. 

But as with any trip or vacation, caravanning isn’t without its pitfalls. Most challenges experienced during a typical caravan trip are either due to inadequate preparation, ignoring simple caravanning rules, or both. 

In this article, we narrow down our focus to the seven rookie mistakes to avoid before setting off on your next caravan trip. Read on and be inspired!

1. Buying or Renting the Wrong Caravan Size

One great thing to love about caravans is that they’re readily available for purchase or rental. All you need to do is locate a reliable caravan finder UK to hone in on the best caravan of your choice. 

Buying your caravan means you can hit the roads or the woods whenever you wish. It’s also cheaper in the long run, especially if you prefer to vacation during the peak seasons. 

On the other hand, renting a caravan reduces maintenance costs. In most cases, you also won’t need to worry about parking and insurance fees. 

But regardless of the direction you choose to go, it’s imperative to invest in the right caravan size. Remember that this is going to be your home away from home, probably for several weeks. 

Choose a caravan that’s large enough to accommodate your travel companions as well as your belongings. 

2. Choosing a Static Caravan When You Needed a Touring Van

Caravans fall into two distinct categories – static and touring. 

Static caravans, also known as holiday homes, are permanently stationed at parking sites. That makes them ideal for travelers who prefer to lounge the whole day, marveling at nature’s beauty. 

Touring caravans, also known as motorized caravans or homes on wheels, are caravans meant to be hauled from one location to another. They’re perfect for road-trippers who desire to explore multiple destinations during their vacation. 

In terms of cost implications, static caravans require less maintenance than their touring counterparts. That’s because they lack certain expenses associated with motorized vans, such as tire replacement and refueling. 

Assess your needs carefully before choosing either caravan type. That’s especially if you’re planning a whole-family vacation where interests can easily conflict. 

3. Setting Out Without a Clear Understanding of the Destinations and Routes

One of the worst caravanning mistakes you can ever make is setting out without knowing where to go and how to get there. 

There may be numerous touring caravan sites you can explore. However, it’s essential to plan your destinations ahead of time. 

Picking the right destination for your caravan trip depends mainly on what you intend to do there. If unsure, go with the most scenic locations you can find. That’s because caravan trips tend to follow the less-traveled paths. 

Most importantly, be sure to map out the routes to avoid unpleasant surprises. 

It’s okay to take the longest route to your destination if it provides a scenic drive. Just ensure the road is accessible enough, especially during foul weather. 

4. Ignoring Repairs and Maintenance

A caravan may appear excellent at face value, only for issues to crop up barely an hour after retreating into it. The best way to avoid these unpleasant surprises is to have the van fully serviced ahead of the trip. 

Check that all components and appliances are working properly. These include the plumbing fixtures, electrical connections, the heating system, etc. 

Early repair and maintenance is especially important if it’s a touring caravan. Besides checking the plumbing and electrical systems, a motorized caravan would require additional inspections, such as pressure-checking the tires and testing the axle. 

The conventional wisdom is to invite the relevant technicians to inspect your caravan before the trip. 

You may incur some repair costs, alright. But it’s better than the mental agony you’d suffer if you were to get stranded in the middle of nowhere. 

5. Overloading Your Caravan

It’s intuitive to bring everything that can get into a caravan before setting out for the trip. However, experts recommend treading cautiously to avoid overloading the van. 

One way to go about that would be to establish the vehicle’s weight rating and towing capacity and then pack items bearing that in mind. Alternatively, simply follow the traditional rule of packing strictly what you need. 

It’s better to bring only a few gear and purchase the rest when you get to your destination than to overload your caravan with unnecessary items. 

Overloading a caravan places undue strain on it. This can adversely impact the van’s speed and stability while also creating additional problems in the long run. 

Moreover, overloading a caravan is illegal. The last thing you want is to have your otherwise exciting trip cut short for a totally avoidable mistake.

6. Forgetting To Carry Extra Fuel

You won’t need to worry about refueling if you’re retreating in a static caravan. But the converse is true for motorized vans. 

Remember what we mentioned about most caravan trips following less-traveled paths? The implication is that you could drive dozens of kilometers without coming upon a petrol station. You can only imagine the mental torture you’d subject yourself to if your fuel tank were to run dry in the middle of nowhere. 

Therefore, always make provisions for extra fuel. A good thumb rule is to estimate the projected distance and then have several jerrycans more than what you’ll need before getting to the nearest petrol station. 

However, be sure to establish that it’s legal to travel with fuel in a caravan. It’s also essential to carry the fuel in approved containers for your safety. 

Remember that fuel doesn’t only imply petroleum. It may also include kerosene used for everyday cooking. 

7. Picking the Wrong Campsite

The importance of choosing a good campsite is worth reiterating, whether you’re planning a localized or motorized caravan tour. And as you shall find, there are several factors to bear in mind. 

First is proximity to amenities. You want a campsite that gives you access to basic amenities like water, electricity, and waste disposal. 

Next is size. A campsite should be large enough to accommodate your caravan while also providing ample wiggle room for other activities like playing, walking around, and lighting bonfires. This is especially necessary if traveling with kids. 

Safety and terrain are other major factors to consider when choosing a caravan campsite. Not only should the area be protected against adverse weather conditions like flash floods and storms. It should also be safer to drive into and out. 

Safety, in this respect, relates both to low crime rates as well as reduced deadly human-wildlife confrontations.

The Bottom Line

A caravan trip can turn out to be a smashing success or an epic failure. It all depends on how diligently you avoid the mistakes. Take all the points mentioned above into consideration and make your travel a thrilling journey.