Nowadays, people in search of adventure are towing caravans in plain sight. And why not when there are several reasons why caravanning is so much more fun?
First, you basically get to bring your home with you as you explore the country and delve into the wild. You save time in planning, looking for and booking places to stay. And oh, have we mentioned? A spot for your caravan is a lot cheaper than a hotel. What else? Nothing beats your view when you step out of your caravan in the morning plus your proximity to the places you want to see. You don’t need to worry about carrying heavy bags. You don’t have to worry about fitting big, rolled up tents into your car. Lastly and perhaps the most exciting reason is you get to meet people who love the caravanning lifestyle. You get to be part of a community. You can share stories with them and even learn more things about caravanning. However, despite all this excitement, it is understandable for first-time caravanners to be anxious or worried. But don’t let your fear of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with a humongous vehicle stop you. Here are some tips to make your first caravan trip a smooth, enjoyable, and memorable one.
First on the list, is of course the car that will tow your caravan. Your car should be in its best condition. Everything from the physical parts to the overall performance should be working perfectly. To ensure this, it is best to consult your mechanic and have them assess your car before your big trip. Having big clear mirrors will also help you drive easier.
After making sure your car functions well, you need to make sure your caravan is ready for your journey. There are several parts of it that needs to be assessed. The hitch should be tightly fixed to ensure that it will not get detached from your car. Safety chains should be properly connected as they provide additional support in towing. Make sure everything that might open or move during the travel should be closed and secured –the drawers, cupboards, roof hatches, and windows.
Switch your refrigerator to DC mode when driving to conserve propane. Also, you should ensure that the gas bottle is off and the jockey wheel and step are up. Lastly, just like with any vehicle, the tires should have the appropriate air pressure.
Before going for a long journey with your caravan, it is recommended to practice first since driving while towing a caravan is tricky for first-timers. You should try stopping, reversing, and making turns several times to get the hang of it. Do this in an environment you are most familiar with and try to relax. Once you are comfortable with it, apply these tips when you are actually driving:
- Drive slow and take in the view.
- Be mindful of traffic and road situations so you do not need to keep hitting the break. This will also help in saving fuel.
- Overtaking is also a tricky part as your length has increased and your engine power decreased. Hence, it will take you longer to overtake.
- Exaggerate you turns by making a wide swing to ensure you will not hit anything.
- It is possible for the caravan to start swaying, but do not panic. You can either slowly apply the caravan’s brake or decelerate the car. Never hit the break abruptly.
- Remember that your vehicle has become wider and taller. Parking will be more difficult since you might hit the curb sooner or hit trees and slopes.
- Since you are towing another vehicle, it is possible that you will drive slower. Therefore, being courteous to other drivers is as important as anything else mentioned above. Make signals when necessary to alert other drivers.
It can be difficult towing a caravan at first but with practice and a relaxed driving mind, you will learn to manage possible problems and difficulties that you might encounter in your journey. If you need more guidance, courses to help you gain confidence in driving with a caravan are available.