Bought a Caravan? Make Sure You're Ready Before You Set Off on Holiday
So you've decided to take the plunge and buy your first caravan. Excited, you immediately start planning a trip, deciding where you're going to go, where you'll be able to park up and sleep, and what you'll do while you're there. You go shopping for all the things you'll need for your new home on wheels: plates and cutlery, bedding, and all the gadgets and appliances you need for total comfort.
Except for one thing: you've never towed a caravan before, and suddenly you're feeling apprehensive. Since there's no license required in Australia, you haven't needed any training or practice before towing your caravan for the first time, and suddenly it seems daunting.
Don't panic! Here's how to make sure you're ready for your big trip.
Get your car ready
First and, without a doubt most importantly, you need to have a tow bar on your vehicle, otherwise, you're not taking that caravan anywhere! If you're not confident fitting it yourself, get a professional to do it so it's definitely secure and safe.
That's all your car needs, but another useful item well worth considering is some extra towing mirrors. These will increase your visibility, which helps you drive more safely when towing and can give you a big confidence boost.
Understand the law
The precise rules in place for towing caravans may vary by state, so find out what you need to know before you set off. One rule that's often in place is a different speed limit for vehicles used for towing. This will be less than the regular speed limit, and it allows for stopping times and other safety concerns when you've got a small house dragging behind you.
Make sure you're also compliant with laws concerning the displaying of a license plate, and anything that governs other signs and warnings that need to be displayed.
Practise the fundamentals
There are two main areas where driving is going to be different while towing: turning and reversing. It's never a good idea to set off on holiday before practising, so find somewhere quiet and make sure you can do all your driving manoeuvres confidently.
In addition to the actual driving, it's a good idea to ensure you understand how to set up your caravan for camping when you arrive. Get used to any parts that fold and unfold, any gas and water connections, and the internal appliances.
Don't rush it
It's probably not a good idea to buy a caravan and immediately set off for a holiday if you've never towed one before. Give yourself plenty of time to get used to it, practise, and make sure you're completely ready.