Touring is an exhilarating way of seeing the country. With your home on wheels towed behind you, you have the freedom to explore at your leisure - you could even sleep at a different holiday park each night if you choose! Touring, also known as caravanning, is more popular now than ever before. This is because touring caravans allow you to be completely self contained, with your own toilet and often shower facilities on board. You can also tour via a motorhome.
If you’re about to set out on your first ever touring trip, here are some top tips to get you started. We've compiled a list of all the things that we think touring caravan beginners should consider.
1. Practice your towing
First things first, you will need to ensure your car is appropriate for towing. You will also need to understand how it feels to tow a caravan and finding out the day you collect it isn't ideal. Consider a driving course with The Caravan Club to ensure you are familiar with the feel, how to manoeuvre and the legal aspects of towing. Don’t forget that your car insurance will probably cover your vehicle for towing, but not the caravan itself. Ensure the appropriate level of cover is in place for your maiden trip. You should also check that your driving licence covers towing.
2. Coupling up
Something you’ll become a pro at will be hitching and unhitching. This too will come with practice. You’ll need to be clear on the process and how to make the caravan safe. Be sure you know how your caravan couples up with your own equipment, it's best for it to be demonstrated to you using your own set up, so you know exactly how everything works. This way setting off for your holiday park of choice will be a breeze!
3. Travel essentials
Ensure you have purchased your travel essentials, including your tow bar, towing mirrors, number plate for the caravan, a spare wheel and the security essentials for parking up safely. And all the all important step to enter your home away from home! You may wish to create a checklist before heading out to make sure you haven't left something vital at home. If you're unsure what to bring they're are plenty of helpful tips at home. If the caravan is second hand or you're borrowing a family members for your trip, make sure essential maintenance has been carried out in preparation as safety should always be a priority.
4. Choose the right pitch
You’ll probably be keen to book a serviced pitch - which provides an electric hook up, fresh water and waste water connections. The services provided by parks should make you feel just like you're at home. Many pitches are hard standing, with grass pitches typically used over the summer months into autumn. At Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park, a fully serviced pitch comes with an electric hook up, an individual fresh water tap, grey water drain and TV hook up point.
Awnings are hugely popular and can help add living space to your caravan. Both caravans and motorhomes can accommodate awnings and there are now inflatable versions to make life even easier! A good awning is a real investment in your holiday as it will provide you with vital extra space to relax, unwind and spend quality family time together. When booking a pitch, ensure you book space for your awning - most parks require you to make this known at the time of booking.
6. Choose the right touring park
You might want to stay fairly local on your first trip, so you can practice your touring skills. Don't be too ambitious on your first try, we recommend staying only an hour or two from home. This means you'll have ample time when you arrive to set up correctly without being too tired from the drive. The Best of British group have touring sites located at key locations across England, Scotland and Wales, so you'll guaranteed to find one of our fantastic independent parks nearby.
When you head further afield, be sure to see what facilities are available. From fishing to swimming, our holiday parks offer so much. You may prefer adult only parks or to take your canine companion! There’s something for everyone, beginners or highly experienced! Here's Eye Kettleby Lakes, where you can pitch up and fish too in the beautiful Leicestershire countryside.
7. Pitching up!
If you are new to touring and nervous about positioning correctly or getting the etiquette correct, speak to the park owner or reception team. Everyone was a beginner once and they would much rather you get settled safely and securely. In fact, some of the Best of British parks offer a parking and levelling service while you check in with reception! Give the park a call at the time of booking to see whether this is an option and let them know your concerns, they will be happy to help!
Caravan parks are friendly places with a real community feel. If you need advice on the do's and don'ts make sure you ask your neighbours, they should be able to point you in the right direction.
All images courtesy of Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park, Bath unless otherwise noted.
Whether you're in a motorhome or a caravan, we hope you enjoy your first touring experience. Remember, the Best of British parks offer 5 star service and are very happy to help new-to-touring visitors. Everyone was new to touring at some stage!