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How to park a caravan (minus the stress!)

28th March 2017

Parking a caravan can be challenging, especially if you have never done it before. Often, you feel like you are being watched by other people and this can add extra stress. You don’t want to look like you don’t know what you’re doing or embarrass yourself. Beacon team member, Lorraine, has been guiding caravans on to site for over 35 years. If you want to make sure that you park your van stress and embarrassment free (or just need some extra tips), follow Lorraine’s simple guide:

DON'T RUSH!
There is no need to rush, you’ve finally reached your destination and it’s time to start unwinding. It is much easier to make adjustments if you are driving slowly. It is the people that drive too fast when parking their van, that actually take longer to get their van on site. So relax and take your time.

INVEST IN GOOD TOWING MIRRORS (You will thank me later!) 
These will give you much better visibility when reversing. You might even want to go a step further and invest in a caravan reversing camera, especially if you don’t have anyone guiding you onto site. The camera will send a view of what is behind your caravan straight to your dashboard.

SING THE HOKEY POKEY 
When you are using your mirrors to navigate, remember you need to turn your steering wheel to the right if you want the back end of your caravan to push across to the left. I remember this using the old song, “Hokey Pokey”. When you put your left hand down, the back of the caravan goes right. When you put your right hand down, the back of the caravan goes to the left.

HAVE SOMEONE HELP YOU
If someone is assisting you, make sure your parking partner knows what they are doing. It will make life a lot easier for you because you can stay in the car instead of getting in and out to check how much space you still have.

CHECK THE SITE FOR OBSTACLES BEFORE YOU EVEN BEGIN PARKING
Even small holes in the ground can become a big issue, especially if the ground is muddy. The last thing you need is to get stuck or to accidentally drive over a low obstacle that you can’t see from the car.

MENTION YOUR CARAVAN SIZE ON BOOKING
Make sure you tell the Caravan Park on booking the right size of your caravan including drawbar and any extenders. You can’t fit a seven metre caravan on a six metre site. 

USE MANPOWER
If you think that getting the caravan into the site might be a bit trickier than usual, consider moving the caravan with manpower (as long as you have enough people!). Caravans are often easier to push into position manually.

TRY A REMOTE CONTROL CARAVAN MOVER
These days, newer caravans can be easily placed into position with a ‘caravan mover’. Once you are close to where the caravan needs to go, unhook it from the car and use the remote to move the van into position.

KEEP LEFT
When travelling to the site, keep as far to the left hand side of the road as possible. This allows for the swing of your car across to the other side of the road.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Practice, practice, practice! Parking a caravan is tricky and most people need to do it a few times before they feel confident. Go to a large, spacious area where you can practice parking. Make sure you do it a few times so you can see what it feels like to move the caravan different ways.

Keep in mind that, like most things, nobody was born a caravan backing expert. Don’t stress and do take your time. Even if people are watching, most of them will understand (as they would have already backed their van in before you) and caravanner people are a nice bunch – someone might even offer to help! If not, just ask a caravan park team member. They’ve done it plenty of times – it’s what they are there for! Let the caravan park know it is your first time and they will be happy to assist.