Is a stress-free break in the great outdoors with friends or family calling your name? Have you considered caravan holidays? They might be easier to achieve than you think.
You might love the freedom and sense of adventure camping offers, but don’t want to leave the creature comforts of home behind. Or, you might want to experience more of our beautiful Aussie landscape up close – whatever it is, considering caravan holidays might give you the affordable solution you need.
If towing your home around for a few days or weeks sounds daunting, we get it. By the end of this article, we hope you’ll have the confidence and the info you need to book your first caravan road trip. You don’t even need to own a caravan.
Why Go On Caravan Holidays?
There are plenty of reasons why you might consider hitching your temporary home to your people mobile and head out onto the open road. Here are our top six:
You can be spontaneous
Caravanning gives you the opportunity to seize the day and plan your trip as you go, with little worry about where you’re going to spend the night. There are over 4000 free and low-cost camping areas across Australia and with the help of Google Maps you can grab your partner/friends/family, jump in the car and go! Just remember to check the local council by-laws when it comes to setting up for the night.
Bring the perks of home with you
Ever been camping and set up the tent only for it to rain the entire time you’re away? You can easily head off down the road to somewhere rain-free. Or, stay put and congratulate yourself on avoiding camping regret (and a tonne of smelly washing) by choosing the weather-proof, home-comfort-rich version of camping. Many caravans have their own dining area (aka games table), fridge, private toilet and shower, and even home entertainment equipment, making an outdoor adventure holiday far more fun in any kind of weather.
It’s uber affordable
Compared with the cost of a resort (usually at least $250/night for a mid-range room), or even a cabin stay (usually at least $150 for a tourist area), booking your spot at a caravan park will likely set you back $30-$50 a night or less. Add that to the cost of hiring a caravan if you don’t have one (from as little as $40 upwards) and it’s a clear dollar-conscious winner. Of course, fuel costs are also a consideration.
Caravanning brings people together
The confined living spaces, shared meals and time to explore the outdoors together is sure to teach you more about your travel companions. And it will give you plenty to talk about while on the road as well as back at home, re-hashing those memories. A dash of patience will help you establish a routine while on holiday that suits all of you, before coming together to connect and wind down in the evenings.
You’ll make new friends
Sharing the cooking facilities at the caravan park? It’s the perfect opp to swap travel tips, check out other caravan owners’ set-ups and bond with interesting new people. Travelling during school holidays might be busier, but you and your kids are guaranteed to make new friends while you’re away.
It’s the digital detox you need
A few nights away from your usual digital distractions is sure to give your brain that much-needed break. Sit back under the stars, revel in reading again or connect over a game of cards. We know you’ll thank us for it.
Don’t Have a Caravan? Don’t Worry!
If you’re after your slice of caravan pie and you don’t have access to one, there’s no need for you to miss out. There are plenty of caravans, motor homes, campervan and camper trailers for hire out there. Here’s a few to get you started:
Don’t have the right car to tow a caravan or trailer? No problem. Get your caravan delivered to your chosen site and meet it there. Sorted! Just set up and stay for a few days.
Destinations You’ve Only Dreamed About
One of our fave things about road-tripping with a caravan is the flexibility and freedom it gives you to be adaptable on the road. Freedom is a big factor in Australians’ desire for driving holidays. Our latest research found ‘I like the sense of freedom’ was the reason why 49% of respondents were looking forward to their next road trip.
Caravan and holiday parks
- Without a Hitch shares everything you need to know about national parks, state by state
Caravan route planner
- Camp Around Australia – Road Trip Planner
- Roadtrippers Australia
- Get tips from any of the Facebook camping communities
WikiCamps is another great resource – it proclaims it’s Australia’s largest database of campgrounds, caravan parks, backpacker hostels, points of interest, dump stations, visitor information centres, water taps, toilets, showers, and more.
Travelling and Driving Tips for Caravan Holidays
If you’re a newbie to the world of caravanning, the thought of towing one might seem daunting. The key to making your voyage stress-free is to be prepared.
You’ll be pleased to know that towing a caravan is mostly common sense, but if you want to make sure you’re 100% across all the rules and regulations and are comfortable adapting your driving for the heavy load, we recommend taking a caravan towing course.
If you’re still worried, then opting for a smaller camper trailer might be a better option for you.
Before You Depart
If you’re hiring your caravan, your hire company should make sure it’s in great working order before you leave. If you’re hiring it privately, ask when the caravan was last serviced and checked for roadworthiness. Tyres should be secure, brakes in good working order and lights working.
If you can, take a test drive to ensure you’re comfortable with the way it drives and feels under your hands.
- Write and carry a checklist of everything you need to do to prepare for your trip
- Double check all external fixtures are in their travel position
- Attach towing mirrors to your car, and check you have a clear view of the road behind the caravan
- Get your towing car serviced, including tyres, brakes and suspension
- Remember to release the caravan’s handbrake before you leave!
Caravan Driving and Towing Tips
- If you can, pay for any camp fees and permits ahead of time
- Stay safe and drive smart: Stay vigilant, maintain an even pace, leave ample stopping distance and avoid trucks when possible
- Take the main roads where possible to reduce twists and turns; it’s easier to tow on straight roads
- Know where you can park your caravan and where you can’t
- Practice reversing before you go
Caravan Holidays: The Pro’s Packing Checklist
Packing well will help with the load distribution between your car and your caravan. This is important because correct weight distribution will help it stay upright and balanced throughout your trip.
Make sure you’ve ticked off – or at least considered carefully – these items before heading off:
- Follow the manufacturer’s guide for your towing setup and store spare wheels, gas cylinders in the recommended spots
- Load the heaviest stuff over the caravan’s axle
- Distribute everything else evenly throughout the caravan, balancing the weight of the internal fridge/stove, etc
- Bring spare tools, wheel chocks and jacks in case you need to change a tyre or perform basic maintenance on your caravan or car
- Freeze meals ahead and store them in airtight containers to avoid the cost of takeaway while you’re away
- Install rubber mats on shelves to stop things sliding around during transit
- Get smart about storage with these hacks and read through these tips for surviving family road trips
- Pack plastic instead of glass to avoid breakage or wrap it in tea towels and secure before you go
- Check your insurance cover and update it before you go
Is Your Insurance Up to Scratch?
Sometimes things don’t go to plan even if you’re prepared for the worst on your road trip. We recommend reviewing your car insurance before you go on any caravan holidays, to check if there’s any gaps in your coverage.
At PD Insurance, we don’t want you to be out of pocket. Check your car insurance PDS, or give us a call to discuss your policy. We offer affordable, comprehensive car insurance and provide discounts for people who are the only driver of their car.
Hit the Road Today
As you can see, there’s no reason to wait until you’re retired to take that caravan road trip. It’s an affordable, flexible and lets you unwind in the picturesque outdoors. With the right info in-hand you can now confidently book that caravan holiday in.
Over to You
Have you been on caravan holidays? What tips do you have for making your trip a success? We’d love you to share them with us.