Reversing your motorhome into a tight spot in a caravan park can be tricky. Here’s our ‘How To’ guide to manoeuvring and reversing, and for making the most of your camp.
There is literally nothing as invigorating as packing up your motorhome and hitting the open road. With the wind in your hair, the GPS locked in to your next destination, you have the world at your feet.
The one consistent kink in the plan, however, is the stress that many people endure when it comes to manoeuvring their motorhome into a tight spot in a caravan park.
We understand reversing isn’t everyone’s superpower, especially with a larger motorhome. Luckily, RV Sales Centre Sales Consultant David White is on hand to offer his expert advice. As a former pilot and avid motorhomer, he’s the perfect person to ask about finding that ideal spot, nailing the reverse into it, and then making the most of it once you’re all set up.
Here are his top tips.
Get Comfortable With Your Motorhome
When you first get your motorhome, you should walk around have have a good look at it. See how long, how wide and how high it is, and get comfortable with the size of it before you get behind the wheel.
When you are driving, if you are not sure if you will fit under a branch or tree or whatever it may be, stop, get out and have a look. Motorhomes drive like a large SUV – the gear change is smooth, the steering is light, the seats are comfortable.
But before you go to a caravan park, you should be confident in parking it. If you have some concerns, go to an empty local car park and practice driving in and out to get more comfortable with handling it.
Arrive Before Dark
I always try to get to where I am going by 4pm. Arriving after dark is stressful because you can’t always see where you are going in the dark. At 4pm you have enough daylight to set up, to not rush, time for Happy Hour and time to relax.
If you have kids they can go and explore and you can have time to get dinner ready. Stress is the biggest killer of a holiday so do whatever you can do to reduce it.
Find the Right Spot
Sometimes you don’t get an ideal spot – it might be too small, too close to the toilets or a noisy pool or there are others that have a better view. Go back to the office and ask for a different spot – if they are not fully booked they can most likely move you somewhere more suitable.
Take Your Time
Caravans and motorhomes are getting bigger, but the spaces in the parks haven’t changed. So it is important to be cautious.
When you have to reverse, just take your time – back out two, three, four times. But always make sure you know what is behind you.
You shouldn’t rush it. If backing in is a problem, you might be better off driving in nose first.
Line it Up
You don’t want to position your motorhome centrally in the spot – you need room for your own chairs, table etc. Generally, caravan parks will have a gravel space for your outside area and the vehicles will be parked on the grass or concrete.
As your outdoor area will be on the passenger side, make sure you align the vehicle with the tarmac area. You need to be able to see the line of the gravel or concrete when reversing.
Make sure you know where the power connection is and that it will reach your plug-in point as well as the water tap on-site.
Remove All Distractions and Ask For help
When you are reversing there can be distractions from other people or other passengers. So ask them to get out of the vehicle and get them to assist you in moving the motorhome and getting into a spot. Other caravanners will always be glad to lend a hand as well.
Get the Approach Just Right
Angle your mirrors so you can see the ground. Then try and move your vehicle as far forward as you can. Give yourself plenty of room even if you have to back up a few metres before turning. When you start turning the back, just do it gently.
Don’t try and do a hard turn initially, just do a slight turn and gradually increase it. If you cut it too short or go too long you may run into somebody next to you. Drive forward and then back a little bit, and then forward and back a little bit until you get it right. Don’t rush – just take your time.
Watch for Your Neighbour
The other thing to be mindful of is that a lot of people have TV dishes, chairs, tables, clothes racks and all sorts of things outside their vans and motorhomes. Be aware of these when you are reversing or driving into a spot.
Make sure you are happy with the position of your parking and that you are near the services, for the vehicle – the water, the waste and your power. You then connect your power and water if you want to fill up, pull the awning out and get your chairs out and you are ready to go.
Once you are sorted, settle in with a well-deserved drink over Happy Hour because you made it!
Time to Get Social
Always be aware of your neighbours. Be social and say hello. Embrace the community spirit, especially if you have kids and there is a pool and playground. It is amazing the number of like-minded people you will meet doing the same thing as you are. And they have all very different experiences. People will always share their travel tips and advice and that gives you a sense of wellbeing, that somebody understands exactly what you are doing.