According to DH Lawrence the great home of the soul is the open road, and anyone who has done a driving holiday will likely agree.
Holidays don’t come more flexible than driving a home-away-from-home, where you’re only ever a handbrake away from putting down roots for the night.
A caravan, camper trailer or motorhome is your hotel, restaurant and day spa on wheels, only room service is replaced by camp oven cooking and concierge by having everything within arm’s reach.
If it’s your first time in the captain (or co-captain) seat of your caravan, motorhome or camper trailer, we’ve got you covered with six tips to ensure the only hitch you come across is the one attached to your car.
Plan your trip and book parks you don’t want to miss
Sure, loose plans and spontaneous adventures are all nice in theory but come peak summer periods it pays to have a few bookings so you don’t find yourself booked out of your favourite holiday park.
Planning early and booking your site, particularly in peak periods, could mean the difference between a site with beach and garden views.
When reserving a site, ask the friendly reception team for the availability of a site close to the amenities that mean the most to you – whether it be BBQs, ensuites or children’s playgrounds.
Size might not matter, but the weight does when you’re driving your home-away-from-home behind you. Every additional suitcase, esky and camping accessory beyond what’s necessary is quite literally weighing you down – so pack judiciously, asking “do we really need this?” before adding it to the van.
Pack only the essentials, and remember, anything you forget can be bought along the way. After all, holiday souvenirs make for great reminders of your adventures.
Take it slow – you’re driving a wide load
When you’re towing approximately 1,600kg of mass behind you, it’s not the time to practice chicanes like you’re on the Nürburgring Track.
Take it slow for the safety of yourselves and those around you, keep left out of courtesy to other (faster) motorists and manage your driving distances for the day.
You’re on nomad time now, so there’s no need to burn the candle at both ends trying to cross the country before sundown. Take regular breaks (at least every two hours) and don’t forget that you have the advantage of a bed in the back if the driver needs a quick-kip reviver.
Prepare to catch every sunrise and sunset
You’re about to find proof that no two sunrises and sunsets are the same. The caravanning community and sparrows tend to have their sleeping hours in common.
Pack provisions like camping chairs and coffee tables, so you can lap up the golden hours outdoors.
Brush up on small talk
Be prepared for caravan chat. Chatting with like-minded strangers is what caravanning culture is all about. Don’t be surprised if they ask for more specifics about your van than a police interrogation.
If you prefer to keep to your introverted self, steer clear of communal kitchen areas, but if you do find yourself there we guarantee you’ll walk out with at least three new friends.
Tell your friends and family where you’re going
This may come in handy if you fall out of phone reception on any inland routes or if your mobile phone decides to go swimming on the coast.
All Ingenia Holiday parks have WiFi, which means you can still keep up with the regular FaceTime schedule to call the grandkids.