The summer months are practically upon us, and chances are you haven’t finalised your summer holiday plans yet. The domestic holiday remains a popular choice in the UK, as families can explore the great outdoors in excellent weather for minimal cost.
One of the best ways to enjoy a domestic holiday is by caravan – the comfortable portable home that affords modern conveniences wherever you go. But before you buy the first one you find, there are some things you should take into consideration.
Can Your Car Tow a Caravan?
The first question that many budding caravanners ask is if their car is even viable for the towing of a caravan unit. The answer is ultimately individual to the vehicle, as the maximum tow weight for car models can usually be found in the handbook for each model. It is usually safe to assume that your car is capable of towing a caravan load – though smaller vehicles may benefit from towing lighter or smaller caravans.
One important thing to note is your vehicle’s towbar. Even if your vehicle is rated to tow the load represented by your caravan, the strength and safety of the fixture between the two is a crucial point of failure. Different towbars have different benefits; you should ensure you have the right towbar for your choice of the caravan.
Do You Need a Caravan License?
Recent changes to the driving license legislation have rendered the requirement to obtain a license for towing a heavy load unnecessary for a majority of drivers; those who passed their test after July 2007 are legally permitted to tow loads up to 3,500kg MAM. As such, checking if you are licensed to tow a caravan is a thing of the past.
What you may need, however, is insurance for your caravan, to protect its value from any potential incidents.
What are the Pitfalls of Caravanning?
Caravanning is a beautiful way to see the country, but comes with its own unique pitfalls and challenges. For starters, you will need to have a solid grasp of vehicle maintenance in order to ensure the smooth running of car and caravan alike throughout any holiday trip. Having a spare tyre to hand will always be handy, especially when driving on fire roads to and from campsites.
Driving with a caravan can be a complicated affair, and there are some specific problems that can arise on the road from towing a caravan – in particular, pitching and snaking.
Snaking is the lateral movement of the caravan, which can pull a car’s back-end left and right as it worsens; pitching is the vertical movement of the caravan, pulling the rear of a car up and down as it moves. Both can be caused by weight imbalances and speed, with the best course of action being the easing off on both pedals, and calm slowing to halt the movement.
What are the Advantages of Caravanning?
There will always be disadvantages to any form of holiday accommodation or transport, but the advantages of caravanning more than make up for its potential difficulties. The creature comforts of a home from home can make rural getaways that bit more relaxing, while the freedom to choose where you sleep opens up a world of possibilities.