You've spent weeks planning your next big trip and you've got a list of 'things to see' so long that you’re not sure you’ll even get through it. But what you take with you on your trip can be as fundamental to a trip’s success as where you go and what you do.
You want to have everything you need right there with you, without being overloaded with things you would have been better off leaving behind. So what do you actually need to take on your caravan holiday? And what do you need to do to your rig to make sure it’s ready for the gruelling kilometres you’re about to embark upon?
To help you work out the perfect balance for you, we've created a checklist of caravan holiday essentials, and we've added some suggestions around checks you should make before embarking on your next caravanning adventure.
Things to check and service before you leave
Of course, your number one consideration should be your car. It’s always a good idea to get your car serviced before heading off on a big expedition. So book it in a couple of weeks before you leave – this way, if repairs do need to be made, the mechanic will have plenty of time to order spare parts and get everything purring along nicely.
Even after your car’s been serviced, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick check yourself to make sure all lights are working both on the car and the van – many accidents have been caused by faulty brake lights!
Make sure the gas system is in excellent working order – check all your appliances and, if something’s not working as it should, get it looked at by an authorised gas fitter.
Check all your water hoses to ensure they are not cracked or broken and be sure your brakes are serviced and the tyres are in good condition.
Fire extinguishers should be up to date and serviced by a specialised service person. Your local fire emergency services organisation will be able to do this.
Things to take with you
Make sure you’re able to get in touch with roadside assistance and emergency services should you need them. If you’re travelling to remote areas, this will mean either buying or hiring a satellite phone.
If you’re not sure which type of satellite phone is right for you, check out our article on how to choose a satellite phone.
Printed maps and a GPS
A GPS will get you where you want to go 95% of the time, but like any piece of electrical equipment, they can fail. So to ensure you’re not navigating completely blind if it does, be sure you’ve got a set of paper maps you can refer to if you need to.
A first aid kit is one of those things that everyone knows they should have but many people still don’t bother with. Just pack one – if you need it, you'll be super glad you did.
Have a think about what outdoor furniture you’ll need. For most people, this means a folding chair for each person on the trip and an outdoor table as a minimum.
Do you want a ground covering for the area under your awning? This can be as simple as a piece of shade cloth cut to size.
A brasier is also worth considering as there’s nothing quite like having a campfire just outside your van (of course, ensure fires are permitted at your site beforehand).
Buying all the ingredients for a delicious meal only to realise at the last minute that you don’t have the right pot or pan to cook it in can be annoying to say the least. Writing up a meal plan and working out what you’ll need for each meal is a good way to avoid this.