Caravans are a popular choice for those wanting to travel Australia, and make popping away for a few days here and there easy. Caravans (or motorhomes) offer a great number of benefits, including:
- cheaper accommodation
- ease and speed
If your aim for retirement is to enjoy it, investing in a caravan for your senior years makes great sense – life doesn’t get much more enjoyable than with a caravan in tow! But still, there are a few things that would make life in a caravan a little more glamorous…
Tips for making a caravan more comfortable
1. Plan ahead
Whether you’re travelling for three months or for three nights, planning ahead will make life on the road much easier. Depending on the season, campsites can book up fairly quickly, so before you arrive in a new town, be sure you have somewhere to stay. Plan your time wisely too and remember to factor in the time it takes to really explore. The beauty of caravanning is that you can get off the beaten track, so make the most of it. Nobody wants three months’ worth of photos that were taken out the car window from the highway.
2. Stay organised
If you’re travelling for some time, organisation is an absolute must. You will be amazed by how much stuff you can store in a caravan when you stay organised, so look for clever storage solutions and be disciplined on a few principles such as:
- keep similar items together
- keep frequently used items on top or in front of things
- choose one spot for dirty or wet gear and keep a waterproof bin near the door for shoes
- stow top-heavy items with care
- have a ready supply of ziploc bags, Tupperware containers and garbage bags
- remove dry items from bulky boxes and store in smaller, sealable containers
- make use of all spaces, such as under the bed
- utilise over-the-door hooks
3. Plush touches
It’s amazing how luxurious you can make your caravan feel with just a few plush touches. A big doona, fluffy pillows, a throw rug and some cushions for the sofa is all it takes to make your space feel a little more homely and personal.
While we’re not suggesting you spend the day indoors watching TV instead of exploring the country, there are times when a good movie night is in order. Stock up on plenty of DVDs before you go.
The beauty of caravanning is in its quietness, but sometimes all that quiet can get a bit tiresome. To break up the boredom, be sure to pack some cards, Scrabble, puzzles and a book of crosswords.
If your caravan fits an awning and you’re going away in summer, it’s a really good idea to have one fitted. An awning allows you to set up a table and chairs outside, extending on your space to enjoy the outdoors.
7. Flip or pop-up table
Pop-up and flip tables will make eating dinner, playing cards or planning from the laptop easier on your back, and they can be tucked away when not in use. You’ll also want to invest in some foldable chairs.
8. Pack only the food you’ll need
If you know that you’ll be away for 8 nights, pack only enough food for 8 nights. Portion things up into ziploc bags and small containers, and pack spices into old Tic Tac boxes.
9. Reduce movement
If things tend to slide around when you’re on the move, find solutions to keep things in place. Stick strips of Velcro to objects to hold them all together, or staple strips of elastic or garter in your bathroom wall for your toiletries.
To stop your caravan from becoming too hot or cold, plus to add some privacy, visit your local home improvement store and invest in a roll of Reflectix. (This is the bubble-wrap type material that sits between two silver layers you see in the front of some cars.) Reflectix will keep the heat in and the cold out in winter, and the opposite in summer. Simply cut pieces slightly bigger than your window opening and then push it against the glass.
11. Towel grommets
Putting grommets in your towels, hand towels and tea towels will allow for easy hanging over hooks. In the wash cloths and tea towels, place the grommets in the corner, and in large towels place the grommet halfway along the long edge.
12. Reminder flags
Reminder flags are essential for forgetful folk that have a habit of leaving something out or worse, driving away while still plugged into power! Reminder flags tell you of all the critical things that need to be done before hitting the road and can be made from clothes pegs or anything else you find. Alternatively you can create a checklist to tick off.
13. Shoe pockets
Shoe pocket storage hangers are not just great for storing shoes, but work really well for bathroom and laundry storage too. Try to look for one with clear pockets, which will allow you to view the items inside.
When you sleep inside a vehicle the windows can easily fog up. While using Reflectix helps cut down on window moisture, a chamois can wipe the insides of the windows without dribbling water.
15. Condiment jars
If you need to leave valuables in your caravan, find ways to hide them somewhere it’s doubtful a thief would look. Condiment jars are a good one, as you wouldn’t think to rummage around something labelled “ketchup”. While you’re at it, invest in travel insurance for added security.
A doormat is a must if you’re in and out of your caravan all day, keeping the dirt and dust out. Just don’t forget to bring it inside in the rain and give it a good dust off every few days.
Invest in a portable hammock and you’ll have yourself the comfiest seat in the campsite. The great thing about a hammock is that it can be rolled up small and tucked away when there are no trees around, but do take care while getting in and out of it.
18. Make a DIY washing machine
If your caravan’s not fitted with a washing machine, make your own using a 18.9 L bucket with a lid. Fill with water, add your clothing, pour in some detergent and plunge away with a plunger. To stop the clothing from getting too sudsy, cut two or three holes into the plunger and always rinse before hanging.
19. Portable clothes line
A portable or foldable clothes line is a must if you plan on washing while you’re away. The Versaline Traveller clothesline is a really handy tool, being easily clipped on your caravan and removed in seconds. It can be adjusted to any width to suit stud or framework parameters, and offers four rows for hanging. And don’t forget to install an indoor clothesline too, for hanging things like raincoats.