Take some time now and read the following ways to get a little bit more out of your caravan or RV ownership.
1. Insure it
If you are driving an RV or towing a caravan you will no doubt be bound by the local rules of the road where you are. This will mean that you must insure it according to the laws in force or else you end up in hot water when you are stopped and your vehicle is inspected.
If you are towing a caravan you need to be very sure that firstly you are licensed to do so. Not all levels of vehicle licencing allow you to tow and it is better to find this out the easy way rather then when a police hand goes in the air and you have to pull onto the hard shoulder, to learn a hard lesson.
In addition to all that you are required to do by law, do have a good hard look at the many insurance packages that are available to you on a voluntary basis. This is particularly applicable to caravans or travel trailers which may not be comprehensively insured under your vehicle or road usage laws. While you are doing this ask yourself if you can afford to replace the caravan and it’s contents. Ask yourself also, if you are involved in an accident or if somebody injures themselves on your property are you covered for any ensuing actions.
This is simply to sound a note of caution rather than to cause alarm and despondency. I have placed it at number 1 on this list simply to emphasize that it is probably the most important step you can take in terms of owning, loving and enjoying your RV. There is a whole lot more information on this subject on these pages. Just follow the links when you get there and if your country or area is not included just let me know via the contact me page and I’ll write it up for you.
2. Secure it
Insurance and security go hand in hand. It makes sense to keep you new travel trailer or motor-home as safe as you possibly can in order to have it at your disposal when you want to use it.
if you can keep it out of sight and behind locked gates at home that is probably the best solution you will find. It is a cheap, or even free, option and it is under your own very watchful eye.
You next best option is a secure facility that is designed for storing caravans and other types of RV. Make sure you have a look before you commit to see if it looks clean, well organised and, if indoors, dry. Can you access your vehicle when you want it and if the worst comes to the worst are there alarms, security personnel and cameras in place to take good care of your precious property? I’ll take you through a more comprehensive explanation of what you need to consider over on the security page. Follow the links there for thoughts on different options.
3. Store it
This is like one of those stories that get longer each time a new subject is introduced, however insurance, security and storage do go very much together.
There are some options for storing your new caravan that we are all familiar with; At home, at somebody else’s home, in a caravan storage facility or in a general storage facility. Are there more options out there? Some caravan parks will store them for you, for a fee, during the off-season. Wherever you store it there are a two main things that you need to keep in mind; is it safe and can you get at it when you want to? You can have a look here for a few more thoughts on the subject.
4. Maintain and Service it
Take your caravan to a registered, reputable and experienced service agent each year for a full check and service regardless of it’s age, condition or level of usage. Some of the stuff that should be attended to is detailed here. This seems like a very common sense thing to do but many of us simply forget.
5. Learn to Tow
Rather than just hitch up to your caravan it is worth learning properly how to tow it. There are many and significant differences between zipping around unencumbered in your tow-car and having a great big caravan attached. The Camping and Caravanning Club and other organisations run courses which are often available at RV exhibitions and rallies. Keep an eye on your club magazine and sign up for one.
6. Clean it
I remember when I was a small wee boy, a long time ago, getting my first bicycle. As part of my research at the time I read that one should always keep ones bicycle clean and well oiled. This ensures both that it will run well and also that your sense of pride in owing it will be enhanced. This does work and there is nothing like giving the caravan or motor-home a really thorough clean before heading out. If gives you a sense of a making a fresh start to a new and exciting holiday or even a short trip away. When you get there a quick wash to take off any road grime will help you to enjoy returning to a nice clean and shiny caravan each evening. The less dirt and grime that sits on the external surfaces the longer you are likely to maintain the factory fresh shine that it came with. This is especially true of the outsides of the windows, which if carefully and properly washed on a regular basis are less likely to become scratched and damaged.
7. Keep it Dry
This is probably a strange thing to say about things that are designed to be outside in all weathers, but dampness is one of the enemies of your RV, whether it is a travel trailer or a motorhome of one type or another. While you can of course safely drive your unit through rain and wet conditions and use it to be safe and warm from the storm, when it comes to storing it you need to be careful that it doesn’t get damp. If it does the best that can happen is that the inside and things stored in it will become mouldy. The worst is that timber-work will begin to deteriorate and the structure of the caravan may be compromised.
If your unit is stored outdoors make sure that air can circulate freely around it and also that it is placed on a hard dry surface. Do not store it on soil and never allow vegetation to grow underneath it. If at all possible store it indoors in dry conditions and away from rain, bright sunshine and other extremes.
8. Learn About it.
Read the manual and the other bits and pieces of literature that came with you caravan when you bought it. You can of course go on to read up a lot more on your particular caravan and on caravans in general. In fact I hope you do & that you do at least some of that reading on this website. One way or the other do read the manual from cover to cover and become an expert on you’r own caravan.
9. Learn to drive.
“But, I can drive already. I have my licence which says that I am allowed to tow a caravan.”
That’s a great start, however it is worth taking the time to at least think about what it means to have a large addition to your vehicle stuck on the back. It will take you as bit longer to pick up speed and to brake. You will need to allow more space on corners, and yes you will need to reverse it from time to time regardless of whether you’ve fitted a mover.
It is therefore worth at least reading up on advanced driving techniques or even signing up for an advance driving course in your part of the world. You will help to increase your skill levels and possibly become a better insurance risk as well; many companies offer discounts to qualified advanced drivers.
10. Use it.
At the end of the day, and I am serious, don’t forget to use it. You’ve invested a lot of time, money and effort in selecting it, buying it, taking it home, protecting it and keeping it safe. It really would be a pity to use it for only a week or two each year. Sometimes we chat and try to decide will we go out next week or not. If we decide not to we always regret it and whenever we go it is always the right thing to do, regardless of the weather.
Use it, enjoy it and hopefully we’ll see you a campsite somewhere soon.