The most important currency when you're about to drive off towards the horizon, is information. Details on where to go and what to see are gold . . . as are these tips about how to make life on the road even better.
What to pack:
● Think minimalist and casual because space is at a premium in motorhomes and let's face it, you don't really need to dress up in a caravan park.
● Remember the 3:1 tops to bottoms ratio.
● Pack hot and cold weather clothes separately. They can be stored away when not needed.
● Pack in collapsible bags – there's no room for big suitcases in motorhomes.
Parking: Parking isn't easy in a big motorhome so be prepared to park on the edge of towns, away from overhanging verandahs and where you don't have to reverse into cramped spots. Some of the easiest parking spots are in supermarkets (and sometimes you can stay overnight).
More motorhome holiday inspiration:
• Six top tips for a campervan holiday
• French couple's first aid turns old ambulance into luxury camper van
Checklist: Have a checklist to remind you of the necessary tasks before you take off, like close windows and skylights, lower antennas, lock doors, drawers and the fridge, and detach from power and water — don't laugh, I've seen people drive off while still hooked up.
Shop before you stop: One of the most annoying things when you park and set up for the night is discovering you've run out of important groceries. To get back to the shops, you have to walk or pack up your home again.
Save take-away containers: They fit perfectly in the tiny on-board fridges and the lids help keep them in place when stacking.
Op shops are fab: Fabulous when you break or lose something and need to replace it — think saucepans, casserole dishes, coffee cups, champagne glasses!
A thermos is a hot accessory: Boil water once in the morning and store in a thermos for use during the day. Saves gas and makes morning tea and lunch stops even easier.
DIY ice blocks: Freeze 2-litre cordial or milk containers full of water – they make great, cheap blocks of ice for the bottom of your chilly bins.
Upsize your toiletries bag: Insulated shopping bags make the best toiletries bags. They're waterproof, so can stand on the ground, and are large enough to carry your toiletries, clean undies and a towel. They also make great beach bags.
BYO bath mat: Luxury in shared facilities — so good when you get out of the shower and don't want to try the balancing act on your jandals.
Spare fuel and water: Always have a jerry can of spare fuel and a plastic container of spare water on board.
Freeze for ease: Freeze a few dinners in takeaway containers and use them as ice when you set out.
Let there be light: Torches are mandatory. I like my head torch with rechargeable batteries because I don't have to hold it and, apart from looking a bit geeky, comes in very handy for midnight toilet runs or nights out fishing on the jetty.
Ziplock bags: So many uses – space-saving containers for leftovers in those tiny fridges or half-finished packets of biscuits (like that ever happens); waterproof containers for mobile phones in backpacks; perfect for smelly bait or fishing tackle if you don't want to carry a tackle box.
Paper towels: Another best friend on the road. Use as tea towel, serviette, to wipe up spills then use them as a fire starter.
Wet wipes wise: Wet wipes are brilliant when you have limited water. Start with your face and work your way down!
Spares: Specs, batteries, screws, nuts, hose fittings (for when you leave yours attached to the caravan park taps).
Gold coins: Start a collection for caravan park washing machines.
Repair kit: Start with duct tape and add glue, cable ties, rope, sharp knife, lighter / matches and a multi-tool.
First aid kit: Don't leave home without this. Basics like bandaids, pain killers and antihistamines can make life comfortable and bandages and knowledge can save lives – do a first aid course.
Play time: Take books, books and more books (maybe on a Kindle to save room) … puzzles, playing cards and crosswords, pen and paper.
Walkie talkies: These have saved many a partnership on the road. Telling the driver to go left or right and back up just a smidge more is much nicer than yelling at them and swearing when they don't hear you.
They can also help keep track of the kids.
Solar lights: Reduce tripping hazards at night by placing these around awning struts. Pool noodles cut in half and wrapped around ropes also stop many a hazard.
Backpack: Have one packed and ready to use with all the essentials – water, sunblock, fly nets, insect spray, bandaids and hats.
Doggy poo bags: You can buy whole rolls of these biodegradable bags and, apart from their obvious use, they make eco-friendly rubbish bags.
Security: Never leave your vehicle unlocked – even if you're just ducking to the loo. Don't tempt thieves by leaving valuables in sight and don't leave anything of value near the door – it's very easy for thieves to reach in and steal your keys, handbag or camera.
Talk to people: It's the best way to learn the ropes and pick up new tips on places to go, things to see and more handy hints for on the road.