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Buying A Touring Caravan

Caravan touring holidays can be a fantastic way of seeing different areas with very little expense, especially compared to booking a holiday home or hotel and if you have a large family, this can be far more cost effective than even booking a package holiday deal.

So when you are first looking at getting a caravan, you do have to think about the size of your family, but the most important thing to think about is what vehicle you are going to use to tow it.

After all, the larger in size the caravan, the larger the vehicle needed, and many over twenty feet in length are going to need a sensible 4x4 vehicle.  Now there are places on the internet that you can actually check the compatibility of the type of caravan you are looking at purchasing with the type of vehicle you have and lets face it, the last thing you want to do, is get your caravan hitched up and put your car under too much strain, or you will not have the car for very long!!

Ok, so you have decided on what type of caravan you want, whether it is a four birth, five birth, etc and what length is going to be suitable, but there are so many to choose from, how do you decide?  Well the next most important question you need to really think about and discuss with everyone is the layout that is going to be most suitable.

Touring Caravan
Buying A Touring Caravan

With so many different layouts to choose from, there are many that do now have fixed beds already in place, whereas some beds have to be converted from the seating areas.  Now, the beds only take minutes to set up, but if you do have the option of fixed beds, you may find these beneficial when you are travelling a long distance, like we do when travelling through France, as it means when you stop in a lay-by, after a long journey, at least you can crash out without having to make up a bed!  Also if your are a family with children, sometimes, having a double is not a good idea compared to bunks or even a drop down bunk, especially if they are teenagers!

But, once you have purchased your caravan, before you even contemplate what type of accessories and items you want to make your caravan holiday more enjoyable, you need to consider some security products as there are hundreds of caravans that get stolen every year.

The first thing you need to invest in is a hitch lock, and there are numerous different types, but we feel that the type that you can put onto the caravan hitch even when it is attached to your vehicle is the best type.  It is alright having one just for the caravan, but if you are stopping in a service station and re-fuelling yourselves as well as the car, then you could be away from your caravan for quite some time, and lets face it, this is such an opportune time for the caravan to be stolen.  However, when you have arrived at your chosen campsite, or if just storing the caravan, then it is also a sensible idea to invest in wheel locks and even some locking wheel nuts as well, as an added deterrent to any would be thief.

Now lets first take a look at some of the essentials you are going to need.  Do make sure you have got a hook-up lead for electric but bear in mind that in France you may need an adapter for a continental plug, as some of the campsites still use a two pin.  Also, you can get numerous different lengths of hook-up lead and we would definitely recommend you get one of a very sensible length, because not all of the points are going to be as near to your caravan as you would like.

Another thing we found, is that if you have an adapter that will plug straight in at home, then you can run up the fridge before you make a move, so that you can put some supplies in, such as margarine, etc and keep them cold from the word go.  This is great to be able to have a nice evening meal or breakfast when you have arrived at the campsite, without having to contemplate rushing down to the local convenience store and it then gives you more time to relax and chill out.

Ok, so on to some additional items that can make your caravan touring holiday more comfortable, and one thing we have found invaluable is having a full awning.  Obviously, the larger the caravan, the larger the awning and you are far more limited in choice the larger you go.  In fact, they can cost thousands rather than hundreds, especially if you want one that has an annexe, which becomes a separate bedroom, attached to the awning, rather than taking up space inside.

With an annexe it can make someone, especially a teenager, or if you have friends stay, feel like they have their completely own separate space and you then still have the whole awning for setting up a table and chairs, etc.

Unless you are going to buy one of the more expensive models, you will very rarely find that it has extras like an external satellite and TV point, or even an outside power socket, which you can get as a 240 volt and also as a 12 volt.  Now this is something we have found essential, but even if you are buying one that has not got these, you can purchase the points easily and with a bit of DIY know-how can easily remedy this situation.

Invaluable?  Yes.. Most caravans do come with a fridge, but have you ever really thought about how small most of them are?  Try putting all your groceries and fresh food that you picked up from the local supermarket in the fridge, then try even getting a couple of cans of beer or a bottle of wine in!!  Well, we use the outside point, which of course is situated inside the awning, to have a combi-fridge that runs for the ever essential adult drinks and it even works great for the kids coke, etc as well!

But when it comes to satellite and TV points, some of the well equipped campsites do have these facilities available just to hookup, which is great for those wet days, but, you would need to have an external TV and satellite point on the caravan, so you can connect to your own satellite dish, or the campsites hookup, otherwise you will be running cables through open windows!  However, do bear in mind that a small satellite dish will not get much reception abroad, if any at all.  You will need to think about where you are going to ensure that you can get a reception, and although a standard dish may be used in some parts of France, the further down you go, or if travelling into Spain, Portugal, etc, then you will need a far larger dish.

If you have a shower and toilet in your caravan, then you will need certain chemicals for the cassette toilet, but it is also worthwhile noting that on many of the campsites in France and touring caravan sites in Spain, they now require you to use biodegradable chemicals for being more environmentally friendly, so do check before you go.

Obviously you will have your water butts, one is used for the fresh water supply to caravan, like the aquaroll system, then the other one for your waste water, which is also called grey water, but on some of the campsites you can actually have a water hook-up as well as an electric hook-up.  Yet do remember that you will need certain pipes, connections or pump to be able to use a water hook-up, or the water butt, but this is a very low cost investment and will save you an awful lot of hassle of continually re-filling the fresh water tank manually!

There are of course so many other points and tips to help you to have a great caravan holiday, but even a novice who has never owned a caravan before will be able to have a great time with very little hassle if you get the basics right in the first place.  So just go out there and enjoy the freedom and facilities on offer all over France and Europe.


Touring Caravan Holidays



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