Everyone likes to save a bit of money, especially with the current rising cost of living. Here we share some money-saving caravanning tips.
You’ve probably invested quite a lot of money already on your dream caravan and matched it up with your tow car, but there are lots of ways to go caravanning on a budget.
You can take some simple cost-cutting steps in how you drive your tow car, how you load your caravan, how you plan your caravanning trips, how you holiday in your caravan and how you insure it.
Money-saving caravan towing tips
1. Lighten the load
An obvious one. It’s amazing what you accumulate in the ‘van over the years. Get rid of any excess weight and baggage in your caravan and have a good clear out things of you’re not going to use when touring – you could even sell some caravanning gear that you haven’t used in a while to raise some cash for some more trips.
Reducing your caravan weight and not overloading your caravan will be more fuel-efficient for your tow car.
2. Don’t go too far
We get it, there are some fantastic places to visit in every corner of the country. But you could save money by not travelling too far. The further you travel, the more it will cost you in fuel. You’ll be surprised how many great campsites or tourist spots you’ll find not too far away from home. Plus lower mileage on your tow car could mean a lower car insurance premium.
3. Take it steady
Driving smoothly, taking it steady and planning ahead will also save on fuel. You’ll also get to the campsite less stressed by checking for any roadworks and accidents before you set off.
Sticking to a steady 50-60 mph speed on flat open roads and avoiding sharp acceleration and braking will get you more miles to the gallon.
4. Make a tyre PACT
Checking both your car and caravan tyres and that the pressure it correct, as this will not only mean you’re towing outfit is safe, but it can also make a difference to your fuel economy. Also check the age and condition of your tyres and that the caravan wheels are torqued. Check out our video on caravan tyre safety.
5. Regular servicing
Keeping on top of maintenance and having your caravan serviced each year will save you money in the long run on costly repairs for things like damp or water ingress.
Money saving caravan holiday tips
6. Take your own food
A top tip from experienced caravanners James and Katy Butler (aka the Wobble Boxers) is to batch cook some meals before you go away so you’re not eating out every night or buying expensive food from the petrol station. Things like bolognese sauce can be cooked and frozen and then all you need to take is packets of pasta or rice to go with it. This means you’re not also buying unnecessary ingredients at the shops.
Also, if money is tight, ditch the cafes and brew your own coffee and tea in the ‘van (see our guide to kettles and flasks). One way of saving on gas costs is by boiling the kettle and filling up a flask with the hot water so you don’t have to keep re-boiling it!
Cutting down on expensive alcoholic drinks will also save you some cash!
7. Discount codes and subscriptions
James and Katy also recommended using vouchers and discount codes for days out, fuel and shopping. From rewards schemes, to discount codes or booking head online, there are many ways to get some money off things like attraction tickets, food shopping, and even fuel. And if you work for the NHS, police or armed forces, there are lots of discounts available with schemes such as the Blue Light Card. Also, check your bank account to see if it has a rewards scheme or money off at certain retailers.
There are also organisations like the National Trust and English Heritage which offer annual memberships. After the initial outlay these memberships can save you quite a chunk of money in the long run on regular building or garden entry fees and parking costs.
The Wobble Boxers also subscribe to the Ordnance Survey maps app so you have walks and tourist attraction locations at your finger tips.
8. Travel in the off-season
If you can travel outside of school holidays or bank holidays then you’ll save some money, as caravan sites will be cheaper. The ACSI camping card will give you discounts at more than 3,000 campsites in and around Europe, including the UK, outside the main summer school holidays.
9. Stay at smaller sites
As well as saving money by caravanning in the off season, you’ll find cheaper campsite fees if you go to smaller sites, like a Certificated Location (CL) or Site (CS), or even a pub which allows overnight stays. They’ll have limited facilities that the bigger campsites but caravan numbers will also be limited, so they can make for a great, peaceful getaway.
Choose your campsite carefully – don’t book onto a more expensive campsite that might have lots of great facilities if you’re not going to use them.
10. Use the campsite facilities
When it comes to using your onboard toilet, shower and sink, why not save on gas by using the on-site facilities for showering and washing up, and use their toilet block rather than your own.
You’ll also save a bit on toilet chemicals too and avoid a blocked pipe form washing up waste. Plus, it’s a great way to meet your fellow caravanners, when washing the dishes or queuing for a wash!
11. Be gas smart
If you have a gas-fired heating system in your caravan, take a portable heater that you can use to warm up your caravan via the electric hookup.
Longer-term you could consider having a refillable gas cylinder fitted to your caravan. Gaslow self-refillable gas cylinders claim to save you money every time you fill with LPG. The Gaslow self-refillable LPG gas-cylinders can be refilled at an Autogas garage forecourt, service station or gas bottle dealer.
12. Enjoy the great outdoors
Enjoy the free things around the caravan site. Walking around the local area won’t cost you a penny, neither will a trip to the beach or local park.
Also, consider cycling around the local area or using public transport – it will probably be less than fuel and parking costs.
Plus there are often many local free attractions, such as museums, local exhibitions, art galleries etc.
Money-saving caravan insurance cover
13. Get the right level of caravan insurance cover
Make sure you don’t pay for too much cover when insuring your caravan. So if you’re not planning on going abroad in your caravan, then don’t pay for European cover – it’s an optional cover that can be removed from Caravan Guard’s policy. Increasing the excess you’re willing to pay if you have to make a claim, will reduce your caravan insurance premium.
Insuring your caravan for market value, rather than new for old, will save you some money but will mean you’d just get a settlement equal to the caravan’s value at the time rather than a brand new model in the event of a write off or theft.
14. Safety and security discounts
You can rack up some caravan insurance savings by installing security and safety devices. An Al-Ko Secure axle wheel lock attract an insurance discount, as will an approved tracking device, and an alarm.
If your caravan has AL-KO’s ATC (automatic trailer control) fitted, this will attract a discount for helping to prevent snaking, as will a reversing camera.
Where you store your caravan can also save a few pounds, particularly if there are extra security measures, such as CCTV, access control at your secure storage facility, or security posts, and locked gates at home.
We also offer a discount for caravanners over 30 years old.
Insurance discounts and benefits are subject to underwriting terms, conditions and cover level. Minimum premiums apply.
Over to you…
Got any money-saving caravanning tips to share? Let us know in the comments box below.