With so many different layouts to choose from, there are many
that do now have fixed beds already in place, whereas some beds have to be converted from
the seating areas. Now, the beds only take minutes to set up, but if you do have the
option of fixed beds, you may find these beneficial when you are travelling a long
distance, like we do when travelling
through France, as it means when you stop in a lay-by, after a long journey, at least
you can crash out without having to make up a bed! Also if your are a family with
children, sometimes, having a double is not a good idea compared to bunks or even a drop
down bunk, especially if they are teenagers!
But, once you have purchased your caravan, before you even contemplate what type of
accessories and items you want to make your caravan holiday more enjoyable, you need to
consider some security products as there are hundreds of caravans that get stolen every
The first thing you need to invest in is a hitch lock, and there are numerous different
types, but we feel that the type that you can put onto the caravan hitch even when it is
attached to your vehicle is the best type. It is alright having one just for the
caravan, but if you are stopping in a service station and re-fuelling yourselves as well
as the car, then you could be away from your caravan for quite some time, and lets face
it, this is such an opportune time for the caravan to be stolen. However, when you
have arrived at your chosen campsite, or if just storing the caravan, then it is also a
sensible idea to invest in wheel locks and even some locking wheel nuts as well, as an
added deterrent to any would be thief.
Now lets first take a look at some of the essentials you are going to need. Do make
sure you have got a hook-up lead for electric but bear in mind that in France you may need
an adapter for a continental plug, as some of the campsites still use a two pin.
Also, you can get numerous different lengths of hook-up lead and we would definitely
recommend you get one of a very sensible length, because not all of the points are going
to be as near to your caravan as you would like.
Another thing we found, is that if you have an adapter that will plug straight in at home,
then you can run up the fridge before you make a move, so that you can put some supplies
in, such as margarine, etc and keep them cold from the word go. This is great to be
able to have a nice evening meal or breakfast when you have arrived at the campsite,
without having to contemplate rushing down to the local convenience store and it then
gives you more time to relax and chill out.
Ok, so on to some additional items that can make your caravan touring holiday more
comfortable, and one thing we have found invaluable is having a full awning.
Obviously, the larger the caravan, the larger the awning and you are far more limited in
choice the larger you go. In fact, they can cost thousands rather than hundreds,
especially if you want one that has an annexe, which becomes a separate bedroom, attached
to the awning, rather than taking up space inside.
With an annexe it can make someone, especially a teenager, or if you have friends stay,
feel like they have their completely own separate space and you then still have the whole
awning for setting up a table and chairs, etc.
Unless you are going to buy one of the more expensive models, you will very rarely find
that it has extras like an external satellite and TV point, or even an outside power
socket, which you can get as a 240 volt and also as a 12 volt. Now this is something
we have found essential, but even if you are buying one that has not got these, you can
purchase the points easily and with a bit of DIY know-how can easily remedy this
Invaluable? Yes.. Most caravans do come with a fridge, but have you ever really
thought about how small most of them are? Try putting all your groceries and fresh
food that you picked up from the local supermarket in the fridge, then try even getting a
couple of cans of beer or a bottle of wine in!!
Well, we use the outside point, which of course is situated inside the awning, to have a
combi-fridge that runs for the ever essential adult drinks and it even works great for the
kids coke, etc as well!
But when it comes to satellite and TV points, some of the well equipped campsites do have
these facilities available just to hookup, which is great for those wet days, but, you
would need to have an external TV and satellite point on the caravan, so you can connect
to your own satellite dish, or the campsites hookup, otherwise you will be running cables
through open windows! However, do bear in mind that a small satellite dish will not
get much reception abroad, if any at all. You will need to think about where you are
going to ensure that you can get a reception, and although a standard dish may be used in
some parts of France, the further down you go, or if travelling into Spain, Portugal, etc,
then you will need a far larger dish.
If you have a shower and toilet in your caravan, then you will need certain chemicals for
the cassette toilet, but it is also worthwhile noting that on many of the campsites in
France and touring caravan sites in Spain, they now require you to use biodegradable
chemicals for being more environmentally friendly, so do check before you go.
Obviously you will have your water butts, one is used for the fresh water supply to
caravan, like the aquaroll system, then the other one for your waste water, which is also
called grey water, but on some of the campsites you can actually have a water hook-up as
well as an electric hook-up. Yet do remember that you will need certain pipes,
connections or pump to be able to use a water hook-up, or the water butt, but this is a
very low cost investment and will save you an awful lot of hassle of continually
re-filling the fresh water tank manually!
There are of course so many other points and tips to help you to have a great caravan
holiday, but even a novice who has never owned a caravan before will be able to have a
great time with very little hassle if you get the basics right in the first place.
So just go out there and enjoy the freedom and facilities on offer all over France and