Guide for first time caravanners

Touring Caravan

If you’re new to caravanning, check out our handy guides, videos and expert tips so you’re safe and secure for lots of adventures on the open road.

Buying Essentials Towing Pitching Up Maintenance Gear guides Useful guides


Buying a caravan

Here we look at the key things to consider when buying your first caravan.

From buying a new or used caravan, to driving licences, checking if your car can tow your caravan, and where you’re going to store it.

Buying new

Our guide to buying a brand new caravan

Buying used

Our checklist when buying a second hand caravan

New to caravanning

10 top tips for a first time caravanner

Jargon buster

Get to know the caravanning lingo with our glossary of common terms

Caravan layouts

Choosing the right caravan layout for you

Tow match

Our guide to matching your tow car and caravan

Licensed to tow

Before hitching up check you're licensed to tow

Video: Towing B+E test

See what’s involved in the B+E towing test

Video: Secure storage sites

What to look for in a caravan storage site

Video: Storing at home

Tips for storing your caravan at home

Discounted caravan insurance: No experience necessary
Insurance savings for new owners, including a potential introductory no claim discount.

Buying the caravan essentials

Don’t leave it too late to buy the accessories you’ll need when starting to use your caravan. The last thing you want is to get off to a bad start on your first caravanning trip. Some are legal requirements, others just make a lot of sense to protect your tourer.

Caravanning essentials

Check out our list of essential caravanning kit

Tow bars

Guide to towbars and towbar maintenance

Video: Towing mirrors

We look at the importance of towing mirrors

Video: Caravan security

Locks and devices to prevent caravan theft

Caravan insurance for newbies

All you need to know about insuring your pride and joy

Caravan awning

Top tips for choosing a caravan awning to extend your living space

Getting ready for your first towing experience

Go caravanning with confidence! As you embark on your first caravan trip see our handy guides to make sure you’re safe and have an enjoyable towing experience. From checking your caravan is ready for travel, to hitching up, and expert driving tips when on the road. Then how to manoeuvre your caravan like a pro when pitching up.

Video: Loading your caravan

How to correctly load your caravan for safe towing

Video: Noseweight

Caravan noseweight gauge

How to measure and adjust your caravan’s noseweight

Video: Hitching up

how to hitch up a caravan

Step-by-step guide to hitching up your caravan

Video: Breakaway cables

Caravan breakaway cable

All you need to know about caravan breakaway cables

Pre towing checklist

Download our checklist before you hit the road

Video: Towing tips

10 top caravan towing tips from the experts

Towing stability

How to improve your caravan’s towing stability

Video: Avoid snaking

Caravan accident on motorway

Tips to prevent caravan snaking and jack-knifing

Video: Reversing your caravan

Learn how to reverse your caravan like a pro

Pitching up on site

Want to be the envy of your campsite neighbours? Here are our guides to get the perfect setup and make you look like a pro from the start, and throughout your stay.

Video: Reversing your caravan

Learn how to reverse your caravan like a pro

Video: Levelling

See how to level your caravan when pitching up

Video: Chemical toilets

How to use and look after your caravan toilet

Gas

Everything you need to know about gas in your caravan

Video: Awning set up

How to set up your awning for maximum strength

Caravan maintenance

Want to make sure your caravan is in tip top shape for every trip? Check out these handy videos.

Video: Cleaning your caravan

See our tips for keeping your caravan clean

Video: Water system

How to sterilise the water system

Leisure battery

All about your caravan leisure battery, including looking after it

Video: Caravan servicing

The importance of a yearly caravan service

Video: Draining down

Step-by-step guide to draining down your caravan

Video: Tyres and wheels

How to check your tyres and wheels to be safe

Video: Cleaning your awning

Tips from the experts on how to clean your caravan awning

Gear guides: More great caravanning kit

There’s lots of kit to make your caravanning life easier and to make your tourer more secure. Here we look at devices that are popular with the modern caravanner.

Motor movers

Remotely control your caravan with a motor mover

Caravan reversing gadgets

Products that will help you when reversing

Caravan tracking devices

A guide to caravan tracking systems

Caravan alarms

What to look for when selecting a caravan alarm

Bike carriers

Take your bikes caravanning with our guide to cycle carriers

Other useful guides

We realise not everyone caravans in the same way. Here are a few guides for those with different circumstances. We hope you find them useful.

Caravanning with kids

Our top travel tips to make sure family caravan trips are fun for everyone!

Caravanning in Europe

See our handy guide to caravanning on the continent

Caravanning on your own

Read our top tips for going solo in your caravan

Accessible caravanning

All you need to know about caravanning with a disability


Don't miss out
Sign up for our Freedom e-magazine, packed with competitions, reviews of the latest caravans, tips to stay safe and advice to help you make the most of it.
Caravanning club discount ×

The discount applies for all members of national, regional or owners' clubs.

It also applies to readers of leading caravan magazines as well as our Facebook fans, CaravannersRus members, CSMA Club members, customers of our partner dealers and holiday parks and various related online forums such as UK Campsite and CaravanTalk.

Learn more
Up to 10% for customers over 30 years old ×

We reward mature caravan owners with up to 10% discount.

No claim discount ×

No claim discount for insured and claim free years:

  • 1 year = 10%
  • 2 years = 15%
  • 3 years = 20%
  • 4 years = 22%
  • 5 years = 24%
  • 6+ years = 25%

It is possible to protect a 3 year no claim discount.

Don't miss out! An introductory discount may be available if you have previous experience of towing or driving a larger vehicle (even if it wasn't insured in your name).

Discount for caravan tracking devices ×

Such devices can help locate your stolen caravan by guiding police to its position using GPS, GSM or VHF technology. Not all tracking devices qualify for our discount. Please see our list of approved touring caravan tracking devices.

Learn more
Axle wheel lock discount ×

An axle wheel lock attaches to the caravan chassis. Once the wheel is jacked up and lined up with the chassis receiver, a locking plate is fitted through the wheel to lock it in place. Examples of axle wheel locks include the AL-KO Secure or BPW/SAS/Winterhoff Diamond Wheel Lock. We accept these devices in place of a traditional wheel clamp and you will also qualify for an additional discount.

If you are unsure whether your device qualifies please click here

Discount for a caravan alarm ×

If your caravan already has an alarm or you plan to fit an alarm you can claim another insurance discount. There are many alarm systems available for caravans. The best types of alarm monitor movement inside the caravan using Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensors and/or will trigger via tilt sensors if a thief attempts to tow your caravan away.

Learn more
Discount for secure caravan storage ×

The security in place at the location where your caravan will be stored could reduce the price you pay for your insurance. Having gates that you keep locked at all times or a security drive post at your home storage location will generally mean you will receive a cheaper insurance quote. Or if you plan to store you caravan in a secure storage facility look for sites which have security features such as 24 hour access control, perimeter fencing, CCTV, and onsite wardens in place for a possible discount.

Learn more
Discount for CaSSOA Silver/Gold Award storage ×

We reward owners that keep their caravans in a CaSSOA Gold or Silver approved secure storage site.

CaSSOA awards storage sites a Gold, Silver or Bronze security rating dependent on the number of security features they have in place. These could include perimeter fencing, access control, alarm systems or CCTV. To check if your storage site has a Gold or Silver Award, click here to visit their website

Electronic anti-snaking devices ×

Electronic trailer control systems such as 'Al-Ko ATC' or 'BPW iDC' work in a similar way to ESP in cars by braking the caravan's wheels if it senses loss of control. This helps to prevent snaking and keep the caravan under control during extreme driving conditions, such as hard braking or swerving to avoid an accident.

Some new caravans have a system fitted as standard. It can also be retro fitted to some caravan chassis.

Discount for VIN Chip Plus marking ×

We offer a discount for VIN Chip Plus where it is fitted in addition to the basic Vin Chip kit found as standard on all UK caravans from 2016 onwards.

VIN Chip Plus provides an additional electronic RFID chip, microdot solution, UV marker and additional tamper resistant labels all coded with a caravan's unique VIN number. The kit makes it even harder for thieves to hide a caravan's true identity or helps police make contact with its legal owner following theft.

Please Note: This discount is not available in combination with the discount for other security marking products.

Other security marking

Most UK caravans have a CRiS or VIN number displayed in their windows. However, additional marking kits can be bought for extra protection. Marking is often applied using a liquid containing microdots or 'chemical DNA' invisible to the naked eye but revealed using a UV torch. These carry a unique code linking a caravan back to its legal owner therefore improving its chances of being recovered if stolen. We give a discount for the following security marking products:

  • CRiS Extra/Plus*
  • Data Tag
  • DNA+
  • Micro-Tag
  • SelectaDNA
  • Smart Water
  • Stop Theft
  • Thiefbeaters

*CRiS Extra/Plus must be in addition to any standard 17 digit CRiS window and chassis markings found on UK caravans since 1992 and standard CRiS tag / chip found on UK caravans since 1998.

Window stickers are usually provided by the product manufacturers to warn thieves that the caravan is fitted with additional security marking. Please note this discount is not available in combination with the discount for VIN Chip Plus.

Please Note: This discount is not available in combination with the discount for VIN Chip Plus.

Tyre safety devices ×
Tyron bands

Tyron wheel safety bands greatly reduce the risk of accident through loss of control after tyre deflation by helping to keep the tyre in place following punctures, blow-outs and under inflation.

Discount for Tyre pressure monitoring

Incorrectly inflated tyres can affect the way a caravan tows and may lead to a serious accident. That's why we offer a discount for tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) fitted to caravan tyres. TPMS systems work by placing sensors either on the tyre valves or inside the wheels. These sensors continuously measure the pressure and temperature of the tyres and transmit information wirelessly to a monitor inside the tow car and sound an alarm if there's any abnormality. Popular makes include TyrePal or Snooper's Tyre Pilot. We don't give discounts for TPMS systems fitted to the tyres of tow vehicles.

Discount for tyre sealant

We offer a discount for pre-puncture tyre sealant or slime, which is a proactive defence against tyre punctures and can help prevent an accident. It's injected through the tyre valves and coats the inside of the tyres. In the event of a puncture, and when the penetrating object is removed, a small amount of tyre sealant is squeezed through the puncture hole to seal the tyre. We offer this discount for the likes of Phantom Tyre Protector and Ultra Seal. Please note the discount does not apply for post-puncture tyre sealant kits which are only used to temporarily repair tyres following a puncture.

Discount for reversing cameras ×

We offer discounts for caravans fitted with rear view cameras or reversing sensors, as they can help to prevent manoeuvring accidents.

Mounted on the back of the caravan, reversing cameras are designed to give drivers a complete view of what is behind their caravan. The camera transmits images to a monitor secured to the towcar's dashboard or windscreen

Please Note: We do not offer discounts for reversing aid(s) fitted only to the pulling vehicle.

Discount for reversing sensors

We offer discounts for caravans fitted with rear view cameras or reversing sensors, as they can help to prevent manoeuvring accidents.

Reversing sensors (often slightly cheaper than cameras) are usually inserted or stuck onto a caravan's rear panel. They use ultrasonic technology to emit a series of audible beeps inside the towcar, which sound closer together as the caravan moves towards to an object.

Please Note: We do not offer discounts for reversing aid(s) fitted only to the towing vehicle.

Discount for VIN Chip Plus marking ×

We offer a discount for VIN Chip Plus where it is fitted in addition to the basic Vin Chip kit found as standard on all UK caravans from 2016 onwards.

VIN Chip Plus provides an additional electronic RFID chip, microdot solution, UV marker and additional tamper resistant labels all coded with a caravan's unique VIN number. The kit makes it even harder for thieves to hide a caravan's true identity or helps police make contact with its legal owner following theft.

Please Note: This discount is not available in combination with the discount for other security marking products.

Other security marking ×

Most UK caravans have a CRiS or VIN number displayed in their windows. However, additional marking kits can be bought for extra protection. Marking is often applied using a liquid containing microdots or 'chemical DNA' invisible to the naked eye but revealed using a UV torch. These carry a unique code linking a caravan back to its legal owner therefore improving its chances of being recovered if stolen. We give a discount for the following security marking products:

  • CRiS Extra/Plus*
  • Data Tag
  • DNA+
  • Micro-Tag
  • SelectaDNA
  • Smart Water
  • Stop Theft
  • Thiefbeaters

*CRiS Extra/Plus must be in addition to any standard 17 digit CRiS window and chassis markings found on UK caravans since 1992 and standard CRiS tag / chip found on UK caravans since 1998.

Window stickers are usually provided by the product manufacturers to warn thieves that the caravan is fitted with additional security marking. Please note this discount is not available in combination with the discount for VIN Chip Plus.

Please Note: This discount is not available in combination with the discount for VIN Chip Plus.

Tyron bands ×

Tyron wheel safety bands greatly reduce the risk of accident through loss of control after tyre deflation by helping to keep the tyre in place following punctures, blow-outs and under inflation.

Discount for tyre sealant ×

We offer a discount for pre-puncture tyre sealant or slime, which is a proactive defence against tyre punctures and can help prevent an accident when towing. It's injected through the caravan tyre valves and coats the inside of the tyres. In the event of a puncture, and when the penetrating object is removed, a small amount of tyre sealant is squeezed through the puncture hole to seal the tyre. We offer this discount for the likes of Phantom Tyre Protector and Ultra Seal. Please note the discount does not apply for post-puncture tyre sealant kits which are only used to temporarily repair tyres following a puncture.

Discount for Tyre pressure monitoring ×

Incorrectly inflated tyres can affect the way a caravan tows and may lead to a serious accident. That's why we offer a discount for tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) fitted to tyres. TPMS systems work by placing sensors either on the tyre valves or inside the wheels. These sensors continuously measure the pressure and temperature of the tyres and transmit information wirelessly to a monitor inside the tow car and sound an alarm if there's any abnormality. Popular makes include TyrePal or Snooper's Tyre Pilot. We don't give discounts for TPMS systems fitted to the tyres of tow vehicles.

Discount for reversing cameras ×

We offer a discount for caravans fitted with rear view cameras or reversing sensors, as they can help to prevent manoeuvring accidents.

Mounted on the back of the caravan, reversing cameras are designed to give drivers a complete view of what is behind their caravan. The camera transmits images to a monitor secured to the towcar's dashboard or windscreen

Please Note: We do not offer discounts for reversing aid(s) fitted only to the towing vehicle.

Discount for reversing sensors ×

We offer a discount for caravans fitted with rear view cameras or reversing sensors, as they can help to prevent manoeuvring accidents.

Reversing sensors (often slightly cheaper than cameras) are usually inserted or stuck onto a caravan's rear panel. They use ultrasonic technology to emit a series of audible beeps inside the towcar, which sound closer together as the caravan moves towards to an object.

Please Note: We do not offer discounts for reversing aid(s) fitted only to the towing vehicle.

More reasons to choose us
Rated Excellent by customrs on TrustPilot - previously rated 5 Stars by Defaqto
Rated Excellent by customers
Number 1 on ReviewCentre
Number one for service and value
Royal Sun Alliance rsa Logo
Reassuringly good cover from a leading insurer
Award winning customer service
Award winning company
Web Secure online quotes
Safe and secure online quotes
Trusted family business since 1984
Confidence in a trusted family business
Highly rated claims service
Highly rated claims service
Money back guarantee
Money back guarantee
National Caravan Council NCC Logo
Member of the National Caravan Council
Heart Research Logo
Heart Research donation for every paperless policy
Plain English policy icon
Plain English policy and documents
Great value icon
Great value for money