Everything You Should Know Before Going Caravanning

How to prepare for a caravan or motorhome road trip that's fun, safe and memorable-for all the right reasons.

Everything You Should Know Before Going Caravanning
photo: istock

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to see the country, travelling in a caravan or motorhome is an excellent way to go. In a sense, you get to take your house with you, and you can stop anywhere you want along the way. Before you hit the open road, however, it’s a wise idea to make a few preparations. Driving motorhome is different from driving most other vehicles, and being aware of those differences can make your journey safer and more enjoyable. Here are five things to keep in mind before you cruise off into the sunset.

1. Have your vehicle serviced and inspected
No matter what kind of vehicle you’re driving, you need to make sure it is roadworthy before you pull out of your driveway. Whether you own the motorhome or are renting it, always insist on a pre-trip service and full inspection. Once it gets a clean bill of health, you can pack it up and hit the road with confidence. The last thing you want is to have your long-anticipated road trip come to a premature end because of a preventable maintenance issue.

2. Practice driving the motorhome before you hit the road
Chances are you won’t have a lot of problems driving a motorhome on the highway, but navigating smaller streets can be a real challenge in such a large vehicle. Put in plenty of driving practice before you leave home and learn how to use all of your mirrors to determine your position and back the vehicle safely.

3. Consider installing a reversing camera
If your motorhome doesn’t already have one, consider installing a reversing camera. It’s a handy accessory that will make pulling into those tight parking spaces a lot easier and give you additional peace of mind. (Alternatively, if you’re traveling with passengers, you can always ask them to check behind the vehicle before you reverse.)

4. Be aware of handling differences when driving
Driving a motorhome is different from driving a car or even a full-sized utility vehicle, for that matter. The higher centre of gravity means you need to take turns wider, and the large size means you’ll need a bigger turning radius. Again, practicing ahead of time can help you get used to handling such a large vehicle. You will also need to be mindful of the wind speed as you drive. When the winds get strong, it could cause the vehicle to drift unexpectedly. Take a tighter grip on the wheel when it’s windy, and give other drivers more space.

5. Consider forming a convoy!
Chances are you’ll meet other motorhome drivers on your road trip, particularly if you’re traveling down a popular road trip route. If you are all going the same way, consider teaming up with the drivers you meet at campgrounds, local attractions and restaurants, and forming a motorhome convoy. Traveling with other drivers is fun, but it can also enhance your sense of safety: a large convoy of motorhomes will be easier for other drivers to spot.

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