We’ve teamed up with RAC Insurance to help you prepare for your next caravanning adventure around WA.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the popularity of caravanning and camping has exploded as families young and old embark on great Western Australian road trips exploring our spectacular backyard. With that in mind, if your upcoming road trip involves a caravan or camper trailer – we’re here to help! Read on for a few handy tips to check off before you embark:
Mapping the journey
Having an idea of where you want to go and places you want to stay is a key component of caravanning. The app WikiCamps is a great resource to lean on for up-to-date caravan park information including site reviews, costs and types of bays available (concrete, grass, dirt etc.). It’s also important to remember that certain times of the year will be more popular such as school holidays so you will need to book ahead.
It’s a good idea to download some maps if you’re heading into a remote area– it’s best not to rely solely on getting mobile phone reception. Be sure to check the road conditions ahead of your journey too, looking at things like road closures and hazards, recent flooding and unsealed roads. Plus, make sure you’re aware of petrol station locations as there can be significant distance between them once you’re away from major towns.
Developing a checklist
As with any road trip, it’s important to make sure your t’s are crossed and i’s dotted before embarking. Creating a checklist of caravan trip essentials is an easy way to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything:
– Check your tow vehicle and caravan are in top mechanical condition; make sure all lights are working and your tyre pressure is correct.
– Watch your download – the download on your towbar should never exceed the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maximum;
– Check your wheel bearings – caravans need their wheel bearings checked every 12 months (this ensures there’s no excessive play and the grease is in good condition);
– Make sure to check the weight distribution in your caravan before setting off – this article offers an excellent guide;
– Fridge (turn it on 24 hours before leaving);
– Double check your connection – make sure your caravan is hitched correctly as a final measure;
– Make sure you’ve got the right level of insurance cover. Local RAC Caravan Insurance will cover you for accidental loss or damage, towing, essential temporary repairs plus much more*.
What to pack
What you need to pack will depend on where you’re headed and how long for, but some general items include:
– Clothing suitable for various/unexpected weather conditions; think wet weather gear, sun protection and extra blankets;
– Folding chairs/picnic table;
– Laundry items (Clothesline, laundry bag, washing powder);
– Heavy duty extension cords for powered sites and chargers for any devices you take;
– Personal toiletries;
– Safety essentials (fire extinguisher, first aid kit, torches);
– Kitchen utensils, appliances, and cleaning products;
– If you’re travelling with the family, make sure the kids are well-catered for with things like bikes, sporting gear (beach cricket anyone?), board games and iPads to keep them entertained.
Photo via Shutterstock / Electra
While you’re on the road
Caravanning is an excellent chance to get away from the humdrum of daily life and have some fun, but it’s important to keep safe while you do it!
Wide turns and reversing are a big part of the caravan life, investing in tow mirrors to extend your range of view around the front, side and rear of the vehicle is a great way to make sure you do both safely. It’s also important to stay within a safe speed limit – a safe towing speed is between 80-90km/h. This allows for a safer braking distance, offers more control in windy conditions and makes it easier for cars to overtake you.
Did you know RAC offers caravan safety training? Find out more here.
To keep things fun, account for regular stops while driving – it’s also a great opportunity to see parts of the State you never knew existed. Western Australia is littered with quirky roadhouses, animal parks and historic sites that’ll enrich your caravanning experience exponentially.
*Issued by RAC Insurance Pty Limited. Check the PDS & TMD to make sure this product is right for you.
All Photos (Unless marked): Shutterstock / Philip Schubert