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Tips For Your First Caravan Trip

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  • 01-09-2022
Tips For Your First Caravan Trip

Have you been asking: what do I need for my first caravan trip? We look at the top tips for your first caravan trip.

The freedom of caravan trips can be incredibly enticing for some people. Being able to head out into the countryside on holiday with your family and friends whenever you like, taking all the home comforts along with you, is an attractive prospect for anyone. 

It's also a very affordable and cost-effective way to explore everything the UK has to offer since you won't be throwing money away on hotel bookings.

But however attractive caravanning might be, there are certain things you'll need to consider before heading out to purchase a caravan. 

As you can imagine, there are many different types of caravan, each with its own positives and negatives. Therefore, before you can escape to the great outdoors, you'll need to consider what you'll need from your caravan. For starters, we'll take you through the different caravan types.

Type Of Caravan

Again, if you've never bought a caravan, the place to start is considering which type of caravan would be best. Regarding size, most people find that modern caravans with two berths provide enough space for small families or independent travellers who might want to bring a friend or two along. 

The Bailey 2 berth also has a sofa bed which turns into a double, with two single berths besides providing plenty of space. Alongside the space you need, the type of caravan you buy is also crucial. 

The main difference is between touring caravans and motorhomes. The former is a self-contained unit that you hitch to your car or towing vehicle, while the latter can be thought of as a caravan with a car attached to the front. Motorhomes drive themselves, and touring caravans have to be towed. 

Therefore, if you want to opt for a touring caravan, you must ensure your tow car has enough power to pull it. Most caravan enthusiasts recommend tourers for beginners, given how cost-effective they are. 

What Weight Can My Car Tow?

Join A Caravanning Club

Another fantastic place to start when entering the world of caravanning is to join a caravanning club. Organisations like the Caravan and Motorhome Club provide guidance to beginners, including numerous online articles with technical advice and training courses.

These courses will give you the skills and confidence to go caravanning independently. The club also has over 2,500 sites throughout the UK that you can stay at, with discounts on on-site fees for members. They can also give you advice on the types of caravan insurance that would be best for you. 

Safety Checks

Safety checks are an important part of any road trip, but especially so for your first trip towing a caravan.

Starting as you mean to go on with good habits is the best way to improve your caravanning experience.

These checks involve things like checking your tyre pressure is at the correct level and that any towing aids you have are fitted properly.

The contents of your caravan should all be secured for travel, and the appropriate safety equipment, such as fire blankets and extinguishers, should all be in place. 

 What Do I Need For My First Caravan Trip?

Make A Caravan Checklist For The Road

Before you head out onto the road, it's helpful to make a checklist of the things you'll need. Some of the essentials you're likely to need include:

Gas bottle

Water carrier 

Large Waste containers 

Toilet chemicals 

First aid kits 

Fire blankets and extinguishers

Leisure battery

Spare tyres

Towing mirrors

Caravan steps

However, don't worry if you forget any of these, as most of them can be bought at outdoor shops and camping stores. Therefore, it can help to research your destination to see if you can find any of these outlets in the local area.

It will also help if you get used to driving your caravan, whether it's a tourer or a motorhome. Given that it's one of the most difficult manoeuvres to make, it's a good idea to practice reversing frequently before your first proper caravan holidays. 

Your Essential Caravan Starter Kit

While lists like this can be debated until the cows come home, we feel these are the essential items you'll need when you start with your caravan:

 Towing mirrors

 Water container

 Wastewater container

 Spare rear number plate

 Gas bottle

 Gas spanner

 Gas regulator

 Gas hose

 Electric hook-up lead

 Hitch lock

 Wheel clamp

 Levelling ramp and blocks

 Wheel chocks

 Caravan step

 Jockey wheel

 Corner steady winder

 Smoke alarm

 Carbon monoxide alarm

 Leisure battery

 Toilet chemicals

 Toilet rinse

 Outside awning

 First aid kit

 Fire bucket

 Fire extinguisher

 Fire blanket

 Tool kit

There are also several optional items, but depending on how comfortable you want your caravan's living space to have or how much luxury you want, you might consider including them in your own lists. These items include:

Bed Sheets


Mattress Toppers


Sofa Seats





Washing Up Liquid


Shower Gel 



Condiments & Seasonings

Tin Opener 


Dustpan & Brush


Corkscrew / Bottle Opener

Toilet Roll



Cooking Oil

Research The Site

Alongside researching the route to your location, you'll also want to research the site you've chosen itself.

Of course, you'll want to know how to get there, but it's also helpful to look at the kinds of pitches they have and the on-site facilities.

Once you reach the holiday park or camping site, you'll want to go through a hitching-up checklist, which you can find online.

Besides this, you'll want to go through all your safety and security checks. These are fairly straightforward, including things like making sure your handbrake is on and that you chock the wheels securely. 

researching the Caravan Trip route

Plan Your Journey

Every enjoyable journey requires planning. Whether using your phone, Sat Nav or if you want to try the old school way, a trusty Ordnance Survey map, knowing which route you will take is essential for a smooth journey. It also lets you work out where you can stop along the way and how long your chosen route will take.

Naturally, you'll have to account for the difference in driving a caravan compared to a car. Since they're wider and heavier, you're route and travel time will be much longer given the extra care you need to take. 

It will also be helpful to familiarise yourself with the relevant speed limits for caravans. Here in the UK, caravans are limited to 60mph on the motorway, so you'll have to stick to the slow lane on your journey. The same limit applies to dual carriageways, while you'll be limited to 50mph on single carriageways.

Given these limits and how difficult it can be for other vehicles to overtake your caravan, it's much easier to pull over and let the traffic pass if you notice a build-up behind you. There's no point getting into a road rage incident when all you're trying to do is get away for a relaxing caravan holiday. 

Familiarise Yourself With The Site Rules

After you're all set up and secure, familiarising yourself with the site rules is the next step.

Once you know what you can and can't do on site, you're free to kick back and relax. 

Caravan Packing Essentials for touring caravans

Most new or expecting caravan owners might be unfamiliar with the essentials you need for an average holiday.

You can add these to your budget if you haven't bought your first caravan yet, given that they're necessary for any fun and trouble-free break.

You can even leave these things inside your caravan between caravan holidays to save having to pack and unpack every time you want to get away. 

Caravan Packing Essentials For Touring Caravans

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