Taking your caravan abroad

Posted on December 2nd, 2013 by GEM Motoring Assist

Useful tips for your European caravan holiday

Before you go

  • Have your caravan serviced by a professional. Not only does this ensure that work is carried out by fully trained technicians but if something does go wrong you have something to fall back on for insurance purposes.
  • Check the insurance for your caravan is correct and not out of date. GEM’s caravan insurance could be just what you’re looking for. Find out more by clicking here.
  • Think about spares of everything to take with you. Keys, cables, batteries, winders etc – you can bet that if something’s going to go wrong or missing it will be when you’re a long way from a spare parts store!
  • Decide on a basics list of groceries and what you will want to take with you. Then pack them efficiently into the caravan cupboards, doing your best to ensure there’s no chance of items becoming loose or bouncing around too much.
  • Check certain travel documents well in advance such as passports, visas, immunisation records and international driving licences. These can take a long time to acquire or replace.
  • In case you need to replace a lost passport whilst away, or may require further travel documents, take surplus passport photos with you.

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Vehicle checks

Take your car and caravan on a short test drive shortly before your European trip. It’s a really good way to check that everything is in working order. But make sure you allow time to put anything right if it needs remedial treatment!
Ensure all lights and indicators are working properly before you leave. Check the flasher rate is correct.

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  • Ideally try to spread your load in the caravan, to maximise towing safety. An equal spread of weight at front, middle and rear will usually be the best policy and is likely to ensure your fuel economy and wear and tear are improved.
  • Secure the heaviest items over the axle. Follow up with medium weights and then the lightest ones at the edge.
  • A torch is a great tool! Don’t forget to take a torch and to check the batteries.
  • Always take a first aid kit and keep it up to date. Carry remedies for day to day ailments as well as plasters, tweezers, an unbreakable thermometer, scissors and a first aid manual. Be sure to keep it out of the reach of children.

Route planning

  • Check carefully where you are heading in Europe. The longer ferry crossings (such as the North Sea and Western Channel) will at first glance seem very expensive compared to the ‘bargain’ prices available for crossing from Dover. But when you add all the extra fuel and toll charges, the price difference can be a lot smaller than you thought.
  • Check Mappy or Michelin for details of likely fuel prices and current toll charges for the route you are planning.

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  • If you need to jack up your vehicle on soft ground, rest the jack on a board to help stop it sinking under the weight.
  • If your car and caravan becomes bogged down in mud, it’s handy to have some lengths of old carpet to put under the driving wheels or your car. Use second gear and with the revs low, steer ahead in a straight line.

Odds and ends

  • When packing, always keep the kettle, tea, coffee, milk and stove where it is most accessible.
  • Two small water carriers are better than one large one. They’re much easier to carry around.
  • Keep a separate note of credit card numbers as well as the emergency telephone numbers in case you lose them or they are stolen and you need to cancel them.
  • Sleeping bag? A down filled one is warmer and lighter to carry when dry, but a bag containing synthetic fibres cost less, is easier to wash and dries out more quickly.
  • In case you lose or are robbed of your travellers’ cheques or credit cards, keep a separate note of their numbers as well as the emergency telephone numbers for cancellation.

The information on this Site is provided on the understanding that GEM Motoring Assist is not rendering legal or other advice. You should consult your own professional advisers as to legal or other advice relevant to any action you wish to take in connection with this website.

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