Things to check

Things to check before your holiday

Before setting off on a touring holiday, whether you’re caravanning, motorhoming or camping, make sure you’ve checked that you have the following:

  • insurance on your caravan, motorhome or car
  • breakdown cover
  • correct road lighting and registration plates on your vehicles

We’ve drawn up a couple of handy checklists for you to use before you set off. Whether you’re heading off on a caravan break or on a motorhome holiday - we’ve got your back.

Caravan checklist

  1. Check the tyre pressure on your caravan – don’t forget the spare.
  2. See if the car tyre pressures are within the correct range and adjust for towing if the manufacturer advises.
  3. Take a look at the tightness of the wheel nut. Use a torque wrench to do this not the wheelbrace - you can find out about the correct torque to buy for your vehicle in the caravan handbook.
  4. Switch off the LPG gas cylinder and make sure it’s strapped securely in an upright position.
  5. Make sure that the water tanks are empty, particularly behind the axle – it’s not a good idea to travel with the water tanks full – if you need to carry any water, perhaps take it in a small plastic container inside the car.
  6. Check that the noseweight is at its optimum - the optimum noseweight is generally around 5-7% of laden weight but you can check the recommended figure in your caravan handbook.
  7. See that the exterior locks are both latched and locked.
  8. Secure any loose items in the caravan – make sure you close the windows and fasten the travel catch of the fridge and cupboards.
  9. Set your 12V control panel on your dashboard to 'Car' or 'Off' – do the same for your fridge.
  10. If you’re using an electric manoeuvring device to position your caravan for hitching, make sure it’s been disengaged.
  11. Check the hitch mechanism is fully engaged – some of the more modern hitches have a coloured indicator or you can check by just winding down the jockey wheel to see if it starts to raise the back of your car.
  12. Make sure your jockey wheel is wound up, unclamped and raised to its highest point whilst you’re hitching – be sure to re-clamp securely and ensure stabiliser if correctly fitted.
  13. Check that the breakaway cable is attached – preferably to a designated attachment point on the towing bracket (much better not having it looped around the tow-ball).
  14. Check that any ‘system check’ function hasn’t indicated a fault.
  15. Double check your 12V cables are connected and that there’s enough slack to turn corners – but not too much so it drags on the road.
  16. See that all the road lights are working fine.
  17. Make sure all normal or extending mirrors are in the right position to give you the best view to the rear of the caravan.
  18. Have another final check around the caravan to see that all items are stowed – make sure both your vehicles look level too.
  19. Now just before you set off check that the caravan handbrake is fully released.

And you’re off!

To be on the safe side, hop out of your car after about 20 minutes and have another walk around the caravan for:

  • Windows and roof lights - are they still secure?
  • Wheels - are they cool? If they’re warm you might have binding brake.
  • Handbrake – is it still fully off? It might have been pulled on if your breakaway cable is a little short.
  • Wheel nuts - are they still on tight?
  • Hitch head stabiliser (if you use one)? – Make sure it’s still engaged.
  • Items inside the caravan - are they still secure?

After you’ve done your last check you should be all set for a smooth journey.

Motorhome checklist

  1. Check the tyre pressures – don’t forget the spare.
  2. Switch off the LPG gas cylinder and make sure it’s strapped securely in an upright position.
  3. Empty the water tanks if you can – full tanks can seriously limit your capacity and you may be at risk of overloading. Water in partially full tanks can slosh and have a negative effect on the handling of your motorhome – if you need to carry any water, perhaps take it in a small plastic container.
  4. Disconnect the mains cable and stow it away.
  5. Secure any loose items in your motorhome and fasten the travel catch for the fridge and cupboards.
  6. Check all your locks are latched and locked.
  7. To save yourself a headache, pad areas that are prone to rattling with tea towels.
  8. Set your 12V control panel on your dashboard to 'Car' or 'Off' – do the same for your fridge.
  9. Raise your corner steadies and stow away the step.
  10. Check all your road lights are working.
  11. See that your mirrors and rear vision camera are in the correct position.

Now off you go!

To be on the safe side hop out of your motorhome after about 20 minutes and have another walk around to double check everything is still OK.

  • Is everything still secure inside and out?
  • Is there any rattling? You can always adjust your padding at this stage.

Top questions

I'm new to caravanning, how can you help?

Take a look at our advice for beginners section to get you started. You may also be interested in our training courses, outfit matching service or information on where to buy/hire.

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