Thinking of going on your first caravaning holiday? We did earlier this year and we learned a lot. The first mistake we made, was that of taking too much, our second mistake, was not taking the things at home we use day in and day out.
From buying our first caravan, to setting it up at the first site, we can hopefully pass on some useful tips that will help you with your first caravan adventure. We'll get right to it, here are the items we brought, or wished we had brought with us on our first few weeks away in our little caravan. The same could also be useful for campervan holidays and touring in your car that you've converted the back of.
Things You Should Already Own You Can Bring With You From Your House
- A dish washing pad, scrubber or cloth.
- Dish washing liquid
- Dustpan & brush
- Clothes drying rack
- Monitor or small TV
- Kitchen utensils
- Chopping board
- Dirty clothes bag
- Footwear tray
- Dog bed
- Food basics
- Flip flops or crocs
Dish Washing Cloth & Liquid
This one is simple, just bring what you use at home with you. More often than not you'll find fantastic dish washing services at the caravan park. We only have a small sink and whilst we did do a fair few dishes in it, it was much easier to use the facilities at the caravan park.
This is a huge priority, not just for using to dry yourself with, but to keep the floor of your caravan dry. We would recommend two towels just for this job that are quick drying. If you don't bring a towel for this you'll end up with a wet, muddy or grassy floor in a matter of minutes, especially if you are using the toilets on the campsite.
Another thing we brought was a towel that you could wear like a poncho with a hood, this was perfect to use with showering as we were able to go back and forth between the caravan and showers with this on and didn't need to carry a change of clothes and other items with us. We found that sometimes the showers had no space for our change of clothes and would get splashed by them so leaving them in the caravan helped because of our poncho towel.
To go along with the towel idea which keeps your floors and entrance to your caravan clean and dry, we would recommend a footwear tray, or to use one of the floor towels in a small footwear compartment somewhere close to the door. In our caravan we had 3 little compartments at floor level near our door which we could stow away footwear until they were needed.
Because we were walking in wet grass a lot, especially in the morning when grass was damp, we would bring in damp footwear, so it's great to have something to put them on.
Dustpan And Brush
This was one of the most used items we brought from home with us. No need to buy a new set, just put it in your caravan before you set off. We had a mix of carpet and hard floors and a stiff brush with a dustpan did wonders for our flooring and every few days we would brush it out with this and it would keep the floor clean.
Clothes Drying Rack
We had an awesome summer in the caravan, especially with the weather and we really wished we had brought a clothes drying rack with us. We saw a few other caravans using their own and when it came time to doing a wash on the caravan site we could have utilised a drying rack. Instead we had to settle with the clothes dryer at the site which cost every time we wanted to use it, wasn't suitable for some of our items and sometimes we had to wait if others were already drying their clothes.
This is obviously a given, but we brought extra bedding with us, it's easily stored under the bench seats and if you don't need it, just leave it, but much better to have extra bedding when caravaning, you never know when you'll get a few cold nights and you need that extra layer.
We were very lucky with our caravan and it had a very comfortable bed for the two of us and didn't need to bring any extra layers for underneath. If yours is too soft or not high enough, or some other problem, you can use a thin memory foam layer than you can roll out on top of your actual bed.
Monitor or TV
We don't own a TV so instead took a spare computer monitor, literally all things you could think of watching are online and you have so many options to get your picture on to the monitor or TV.
We used a laptop which was set up underneath the monitor and closed underneath, so wasn't in the way and we could use the laptop in the day time to do a little work or chill if we wanted. You could also use chromecast from your phone, a small android box or ask for a tv aerial as most caravan parks have them for you to use.
We're not big TV watchers, but it was nice to have options on an evening and watch a film or documentary together.
Our home kettle is an on the stove kind and we just brought that with us. It sits on top of a gas ring and boils water in no time. The first thing we did when the caravan was set up was put the kettle on.
Make sure you bring your best kitchen utensils, when it comes to cooking, you have to do it right. If you are happy at home with what you use to cook, then you need to bring that setup with you.
Some things we would bring:
- Garlic press
- Two good sharp knives (bread and cutting knife)
- Knives, forks, spoons
- Wooden spoon
- Tin opener
This is vital, you can prepare any meal on it, even use it to eat from and saves you having to dirty your kitchen tops all of the time.
Don't forget that salt, sugar, oil, even basic baking food would come with us. It's not hard to make a flat bread and you'll just need some bread flour for this.
Flip Flops Or Crocs
One of the hardest things when caravaning was getting used to walking in and out of the caravan and to the toilet block to do dishes, shower, go the toilet. With crocs or flip flops you can put them on your feet quickly and use them even when showering which really helped us.
Dirty Clothes Bag
We brought with us a roll up and waterproof dry sac. This was vital in keeping our dirty clothes together and stopping the smell leech in to the caravan. We had a weeks worth of dirty clothes stored up in one, which took up little space, was closed and sealed by rolling it and then clipping the top together and it did a perfect job of keeping them stored until we were ready or needed to clean the clothes inside.
Finally, we would recommend a bottle opener, so on your first evening, you can open your favourite bottle of wine, pour it in to your big cup and enjoy your first nights experience with a drink.
Other Caravaning Tips
If the showers cost money, make sure to bring as many of those coins as you can. We had showers costing 20p and 50p at the sites we visited. We made sure to have plenty of these, at least £5-£10 in coins, as running out when you really need a shower is not a good thing.
A basic check list of things you can bring on your first caravaning holiday that you should already have with you in your house.