10 things you should never do on a caravan!
Travelling with a little house attached to the car is now, after three years, our favourite style of travelling. For us, lazy couple, this is a compromise between comfort and freedom and is the perfect solution to really enjoy every trip, even the shortest one.
During these three years we’ve done also some experience we would like to share with people who just started or who would like to try to travel on these so-called “recreational vehicles”, like caravans and campers. Most of the points in this list works both for caravan and camper travelling, except for the first one.
Let’s go deeper in what I’m talking about!
1 – Travelling inside the caravan. Absolutely NOT! Never! You could think this is a great idea, maybe even for taking a nap while someone else is driving, but a caravan is not a camper or a van: it’s made of materials not designed for protecting you from accidents, unlike campers and cars. In the event of a collision, even if light, the caravan could easily roll over and its sheets and panels could be unable to hold external stresses. Furthermore, in a caravan you can’t open portholes and windows while it is in movement, so you could choke or die of the heat very soon.
2 – Leave portholes or windows open. It’s not forbidden by the law, but windows and portholes should be always closed, for at least two reasons. First, they’re not designed to hold the continuous air flow and the stress of travelling by 80 km/h and there is a really high risk to lose it during the travel (causing mortal accidents or killing a biker, and it does not seem a good idea to me). Second (and venial) reason, when they’re open, they modify the shape of the caravan and this could cause a fuel consumption growth. If you want, you can open a sliding window, but we don’t recommend doing it because of the consumption growth and because the air flow could ruin curtains and mosquito nets or open internal doors. In short, it is not worth it, because in any case you cannot stay there! Same rules, more or less, for campers, except for sliding windows, designed to remain open. Someone travels leaving the portholes open, but it’s dangerous, please, don’t. Never.
3 – Leave wander objects on the caravan when travelling. Generally, a caravan moves very faster than a camper, because it rides on two wheels and a pin (unlike a four-wheels camper). Any wander object left unattended inside the vehicle…will wander! The most common risk is that objects break, but damages for the internal fixed furniture and for the floor are not excluded.
4 – Be unaware of noises and structure when travelling. On our last trip in Slovenia and Croatia we happened to see a caravan losing a wheel while it was overtaking us on the road. I don’t even want to start talking about speed, it seems stupid to me (repeating it’s not a good idea running by 120 km an hour with a caravan behind a car) but you must be aware of any noise or asset change when you’re travelling. It’s not a big deal to stop and check if you hear suspicious noises or sudden snaking movements. Ignoring them could claim a lot to you or people behind you.
5 – Drain off water on the ground. I don’t even want to think that there can be someone so savage that he drains off waste water (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look at this article!) in not dedicated places, so I will talk only about grey water, namely hand wash basin waste. Sure, you can say it’s not a drama to drain off on the ground the water used for washing your vegetables in a camping, but if you use soap or wash food waste left on, perhaps, oily plates, don’t be rude throwing all to the ground! Just don’t. Buy a tank or a bucket, please!
6 – Lean on the inner dividing walls. Before the tuning operations we made on Martha, our little bathroom was really uncomfortable and we often used to lean on the inner wall moving between the sink and the Porta Potti. WRONG! The bathroom wall, especially on older vehicles with plywood interiors, can be really thin and easily bend (when they don’t break!) It can be a common mistake for the new users of campers and caravans.
7 – Leave the light on in the evening with the open door. During our last stay on Lake Garda, at San Biagio Camping, we had a really annoying accident: swarms of mosquitoes, attracted by the light, slipped into Martha, and she has not a mosquito net on the door at this moment, but just a chenille curtain. What a bad night…
8 – Switch on high power appliances. Another beginners’ mistake we made during our second trip on caravan! I had the great idea to switch on a phon. As result, a fuse has blown inside the switch cabinet. WRONG!
9 – Light stoves when kitchen cabinets are closed or semi-enclosed. We learned to avoid this mistake because when we bought Martha part of this cabinet was already scorched. You must always open both the cabinets when you want to cook, also the skin’s one, and you can’t use pots too bigger. Fire is not a joke, especially in very little wood-made spaces…
10 – Leave the fridge dirty after your trip. We made this mistake one time and we’ll never do it gain! Old mildew and dirt stains are really difficult to remove and you will need a lot of time to vanish the horrible smell which permeates the entire vehicle!
We listed here some typical mistake for the beginners of campers and caravans.
And what about your mistakes?