Rons Top Tips - The top 5 RVing and Caravanning tips to know before you set off!

Caravanning and RV'ing throughout Australia is a fast growing past time (or retirement plan!) for many couples and families. It offers incredible freedom and flexibility that cannot be beaten. But before you seal the deal, pack up the gear and take off I wanted to share my top five tips I wish I knew before I embarked on my first RV'ing adventure.

Tip 1: Caravan or RV? Pop top or camper trailer? Choices, choices!

You are spoilt for choice in today's market, but your decision should come down to requirements and your budget. Head to a dealer or annual show so that you can see and experience the various options on offer. Shows can also be a great place to get a good price once you decide on an option.

Think about the duration of your travels, will you be on the road for the next two years or only on weekends?

Will you bring guests or the grandkids with you occasionally? Will you need an annexe or extra bed/s?

Do you plan to stay in caravan parks or will you be more self contained?

Can your vehicle tow the weight of your chosen caravan? Where will it be stored in the ‘off season'?

Tip 2: Ensure everything mechanical works and will last more than one trip

We all probably know that we should get our vehicles or RV checked more than we do. I will talk about this in greater detail in future RV'ing and Caravanning tips articles, but for now these simple checks gives you piece of mind and stops your first foray in RV'ing and Caravanning turning into an avoidable disaster.

Before setting off, check:

If a service date is nearly due, take your vehicle to a mechanic for inspection/service

Oil, coolant and washer bottle levels

Tyre pressure and condition of tyres, including the spare. Purchasing new tyres whilst away can make an expensive dent in your holiday fund!

Battery levels and air-conditioning

Radiator caps and hoses (are they worn and cracking?)

If towing for the first time, is your suspension and towing set up appropriate?

Tip 3: Make your first couple of trips close to home!

A trip closer to home gives you a chance to 'work out the kinks' and address any problems more easily than if you are in the middle of nowhere!

A weekend trip gives you a chance to practice setting up/packing down, driving and of course reversing your vehicle. A night or two away from home also gives you a chance to try out your accessories and fittings such as cookers or grills. Time away will show you the things you never knew you might need or want out on the road.

Tip 4: Work out your fuel range and travel speed

Get an idea of your realistic fuel economy and travel speeds when on the road. The extra weight will have a noticeable effect on your fuel range and average travel speed. This means you know how far a tank of fuel can take you and your gear (and how long that will take you).

Over time you will also discover that the best speed to travel at may not be the signposted limit (and I don't mean above it!). Most travelers tow at speeds between 80-95 km/hr on highways to give you maximum fuel economy and stability. Don't make your vehicle work harder than it needs to for the same result.

You will burn more fuel, cause more wear to your vehicles and have to stop more often to fill up – this means you don't save time at all!

Use this travel guide to see where you can end up on one tank of fuel.

Tip 5: Join a club or association

Caravanning and RV'ing in Australia has a huge following and there are many clubs and associations that consist of seasoned travelers and newcomers alike. Get great advice than from those who have done it themselves.

Joining a club puts you in touch with likeminded people so you can make new friends all over the country and gives you the ability to take trips with experienced travelers that you may not feel comfortable taking alone.

The Australian Caravan Club is a nationwide organisation that offers a wealth of resources for those new to the world of Caravanning and RV'ing including regular trips with members. There are also state based groups including Caravanning Qld who can offer support and information to travelers.

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If you have any questions or suggestions about this article why not send us an enquiry, see us in person in Brisbane or speak to us in Brisbane on 1800 612 672. You can also call our mobile agents in Cairns on 0414 862 960 or Mt Isa on 0448 012 721 for a no obligation on site quote!

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