A beginner’s guide to caravanning

If you're a fan of staycations, but don't want to splash out on a hotel on every trip you go on, why not invest in a caravan?

If you're keen to try out caravanning this summer, but aren't quite sure where to start, follow our guide:

1. First, check what weight your car can tow

It is widely recommended that the weight of a loaded caravan should not be more than 85% of your car's kerbweight (so, the usual weight of your car containing fuel and equipment, but not passengers).

2. Consider what size caravan you need

Two berth or four berth? Or perhaps even bigger? It's worth viewing a selection of caravans with different berth options so you can see how much space you want, and are sure how many people will regularly be holidaying in your caravan.

3. New or old?

Next, before shopping, decide whether you want a brand new caravan or are happy buying one second-hand. New caravans, as standard, come with a 3-5 year guarantee, and tend to cost in the £10,000 mark, depending on how hi-tech you want to go. However, for pre-loved caravans, you're looking at £2,000-£3,000 and a 3-6 month guarantee.

4. Appliances

When it comes to how kitted out your caravan is going to be, make sure to buy one that has a chemical toilet, shower, gas hob, space heater and a water heater, for ease and comfort. You'll also likely require a detachable awning (like half a tent that attaches lengthways to one side of the caravan, giving you more space).

5. Twin-axle or single-axle?

Old time caravanners consider this one of the great debates: A single axle caravan is easier to move and spin, because it connects with your vehicle at one pivot point, and generally only has one-two wheels, while a twin-axle has two connection points and usually four wheels. Single-axle is more manoeuvrable, while a twin-axle has more stability – which, for beginners at least, might be preferable to begin with.

6. Book a towing course

Before hitching up and hitting the road with your new caravan, sign up for a towing course with either the Camping and Caravanning Club or the Caravan Club, just so you get the hang of it.

7. Pick your campsite

Now, as long as your driving licence and insurance are in order, you're ready to potter off on a relaxing weekend in your caravan! 

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