The joy of owning a caravan is that you can take it almost anywhere and with a little bit of preparation you can set off for foreign shores and explore further afield than just the UK. Europe and beyond is accessible with your caravan and you can travel as far you fancy!
When you are venturing abroad with your caravan it is essential to ensure you have everything you need, so here are our top tips for travelling abroad with your caravan:
1 – Get your caravan serviced
Ensure your caravan is fully operational before you go on holiday. You can book in for a service with Roundstone Caravans and we will ensure your caravan is fully serviced ready for your trip away. This will reduce the chance of a breakdown whilst in a foreign country and give you peace of mind the caravan has been checked over by experts before you go.
2 – Check what you need onboard
Different countries have different laws about the emergency equipment you need to carry with you in your caravan. Many European countries require you to have:
- first aid kit
- high visibility vest
- warning triangle
- spare bulbs
- fire extinguisher
You could incur a hefty fine if you’re found not to have the right items if you are stopped, so make sure you have what is required, particularly if you travelling through more than one country with your caravan; it could vary as you travel across the borders. If you do not have the items you need, we stock all the essentials here in the Roundstone Caravans shop so pop in for everything you require.
3 – Documentation
You will need your UK driving licence with you and if you are travelling out of Europe, an International Driving Permit as well. You can get this at the Post Office and you will need your driving licence, a passport photo and proof of identity. The licence currently costs £5.50. You should also check your insurance covers your caravan for foreign travel and take a copy of the documents in the caravan with you. We would recommend taking a copy of your MOT certificate as well.
4 – Check your lighting
When you are towing your caravan abroad you will generally be driving on the right and your headlights are set for driving on the left. You will need to fit headlight converters to ensure you do not dazzle oncoming traffic. Some countries also require you drive with daytime lights on during daylight hours so check the requirements for each country you will be visiting with your caravan. If you need assistance fitting headlight converters, we are happy to help you.
5 – GB Stickers
What does the number plate look like on your caravan? If you do not already have the blue badge with 12 stars and GB on it then you will need to add stickers to the number plates or the back of your caravan to meet European requirements.
6 – Security
We recommend that you use some security measures whilst holidaying with your caravan. You can use a hitch lock which fits over the towing head and fixing bolts, preventing anyone from towing your caravan away. Alternatively, you could use a wheel lock or clamp as a precaution. Other considerations are an immobiliser, alarm and tracker. If you would like some advice about security for your caravan please do ask us and we will be happy to help.
7 – Seeing and being seen
In Italy and Spain outfits over 12m must have marker boards on the back of the vehicle. The size and construction of these boards is critical to comply with legislation and we can advise you on this. You also need to ensure you can see clearly whilst towing your caravan. You need to have touring mirrors that meet EU standards, so check yours for the e-mark and pop in to the shop if you need mirrors. You need to be able to see 20m to the rear of the caravan and 4m either side so please check your distances.
8 – Watch your speed
Many countries have speed limits that vary in line with your towing weight so make sure you know the weight of your caravan. Speed limits don’t just vary based on your towing weight, they also vary from country to country, check the speed limits for the countries you are visiting before you go. Generally, speed limits abroad are in km per hour rather than the mph we are used to in the UK so do keep an eye on your speed.
9 – Navigation systems
Navigation systems are fantastic when you are out and about in your caravan, particularly when you are abroad and do not know the roads or the route you need to take. Be warned though, France, Germany and Switzerland have banned systems which give advance warnings of speed cameras, so if the system in your vehicle does this, make sure it’s turned off whilst in those countries. If you are stopped and the system is on you will receive a fine. You also need to have a breathalyser on board in France with an NF number on it.
10 – Supplies
Make sure you have sufficient supplies to keep your caravan running smoothly whilst away. Many petrol stations are closed on a Sunday on the continent so always make sure you have enough fuel to keep you going. Also, some gas bottles cannot be refilled in Europe so do check before you go to ensure you don’t run out. If you need guidance on this, please talk to us as we can advise you.
Enjoy travelling with your caravan, you can have a real adventure exploring new places and foreign lands. If you’d like more advice on travelling with your caravan, please come in and have a chat with our team of friendly professionals; we’ve 80 years of experience and can help you plan the perfect trip abroad with your caravan.