Are you curious about caravanning or heading off on your first caravan trip? Here are a few fast facts you need to know.
1. You’re not cut off from society
People often worry that if they go caravanning they’re going to lose all contact with the outside world. That’s not the case anymore and most caravan sites now have 4G ensuring that you will get a great internet connection. Dongles and other gadgets can help here too.
2. It’s insanely popular
According to Visit England, there were over 11 million trips in caravans across the UK in 2016. iN 2017 There was a 7.1% increase in sales of caravans and caravanning pastime contributes £6 billion per year to the UK economy!
3. The line of caravans would be crazy
There are countless caravans touring Britain at any time in the year. Indeed, if they were all put in a line bumper to bumper, they would stretch for just over 3000 miles, equivalent in length to the distance between London and New York!
4. They’ve been around for years
Caravans have probably been around for a lot longer than you think. They were first documented in the 13th century but the first use of caravans for leisure was in the 20th century. They've evolved a lot in the last 100 years!
5. 'Caravan' is not a Romany word
A lot of people think that the term 'caravan' is of Romany origin but this isn’t actually the case. Instead, the word is derived from the Persian word, Karwan.
6. You may need a license to tow a caravan
While it’s common to think that you don’t need a license to tow a caravan, this isn’t quite true. It all depends on when you first received your drivers' license. If your license was issued before 1st January 1997, you can tow a trailer and/or a vehicle that weighs up to 8,250kg. If you received your license after this date you can tow a trailer up to 750kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) or over 750 kg if the MAM of the trailer and/or vehicle weighs no more than 3,500kg.
7. Caravans have entered the digital age
Some models allow you to control your caravan through a smart system like Pure Control. Offered by Swift, this provides you with the ability to free up more leisure time by controlling onboard systems using your smartphone.
8. There’s a really useful rule when choosing a caravan
Caravanners tend to stick with a rule when choosing a caravan to match their car or vice versa. This is the 85% rule and it dictates that a caravan shouldn’t weigh more than 85% of the tow car’s kerb weight.
9. You can book a pitch for a long stay
Have you found a caravan site that you love? Some sites will allow you to book a long stay pitch. This means that you can leave your caravan there and come back throughout the year. It becomes a semi-permanent holiday home.
10. Caravans can be luxurious
Nowadays a lot of caravans are now built with luxury living in mind. This means that you can benefit from at least one bed that is a permanent part of the layout and marble style kitchen countertops alongside many other mod-cons.
11. New caravans tend to have removable carpet
Since 2003, caravans have typically had removable carpet. This has been a welcome change with caravanners as it means that you no longer need to worry about trying to drag the hoover inside. Instead, the carpets can quickly be taken out for cleaning.
12. There’s a rivalry between motorhome owners and caravan owners
Motorhome owners tend to be jealous of the fact that caravan owners can drive their car once they reach a destination. Caravan owners are jealous motorhome owners have a far easier set-up. The rivalry is certainly apparent but kind-spirited!
13. Caravans can be custom built to your requirements
If you have some extra money to spend, then you might want to consider a custom-designed caravan. This can be completely personalised to your needs and while the exterior can look a tad odd, the interior can be absolute heaven, filled with the latest tech and styles.
14. Caravans needs to be level
You might think that getting the level of a caravan just right is unnecessary. However, that’s not the case. On the contrary, aside from making you feel like you’re on a hill, a caravan that isn’t level can mean certain parts don’t work, like the fridge.
15. The speed limit is lower
If you haven’t towed a caravan before, you might not be aware that the speed limit for towing vehicles is lower. In the UK, you can only travel at 50mph when towing a caravan on a single lane road and 60mph on a dual carriageway.
16. You can get countless accessories for caravans
We would have had a hard time listing them all and some are more useful than others. An awning is one of the most popular pieces of equipment. It provides you with more sheltered space and is useful during the rainy season.
17. There are various ways to protect your caravan
Protecting caravans includes lasering ID numbers onto the window to deter thieves or locking the wheels. It is also worth choosing a private, secure location to store the caravan when it’s not in use.
18. You won’t always need extension mirrors
While extension mirrors are a common requirement with caravans, they’re not always necessary. It depends on the size of your vehicle and caravan. With a 4x4 and a smaller tear drop, for instance, you will likely be legally fine to drive without them but we always advise customers to check the official Government advice just to be absolutely sure.
19. There are hundreds of pet-friendly caravan sites
A lot of caravan sites will allow you to bring your pet with you. However, usually, you will need to keep them on their lead when on the site itself. Pet-friendly caravan sites will often have walks and play areas for dogs close by where you can take your pet to give them a good run.
20. Speed limits differ by country
Finally, the speed limits provided above are for driving within the UK. If you are heading to the rest of Europe there are different limits. For instance, in France, the speed at which you travel depends on the weight that you are towing. Always check local rules and regulations before you leave.
The Alan Rogers Team
Every year our team of expert assessors visit hundreds of campsites throughout Europe, in search of the best.
Alan Rogers started with the specific aim of providing people with the necessary information to make an informed decision about their holiday destination. Today we still do that.
The information we provide now takes many forms, not just printed guides. One element that has not changed is our expertise.