Here are a few helpful tips to enable you to enjoy a safe, relaxed time away and avoid some of the problems and aggravations that can so easily mar your trip.
Don’t forget that safety should always be your first priority, and there is no substitute for checking relevant handbooks and manuals.
To ensure that your caravan is correctly loaded, secure the heaviest items over the axle. Follow up with medium weights and then the lightest ones at the edge.
To avoid damp electrics on your car, park it with the engine sheltered from the wind by your caravan.
Always ensure all lights and indicators are working properly before you leave. Check the flasher rate is correct...60 to 100 times a minute.
To avoid potential problems with your caravan on holiday, take it, fully loaded if possible, on a short test drive shortly before your trip. It’s the best way to check that everything is in working order.
If you want to take along a plant to cheer up the caravan, choose an aloe vera plant which will come in useful if you suffer from insect bites or sunburn. Just snip off a leaf and apply the soothing gel inside to the affected area.
For pure drinking water without the taste or smell of chlorine, add a little Elsil to your drinking water tank which will keep it safe for months at a time. You can use Elsan Fresh Water Tank Clean to sterilise your tank.
To ensure a constant electricity supply in the caravan, take a lead with you to run the supply from the car battery, in case the caravan battery should fail.
Don’t let your toilet spread disease and ruin your holiday. Make sure you use a quality toilet sanitiser such as Elsan. Although you may find some cheap products on the market, they are invariably weaker and less effective, so without frequent recharging they could cause your toilet to smell and become a danger to health. Buying for less could in this case, cost you more.
Don’t forget to take a torch and to check the batteries.
Having a picnic outside? To stop the wind carrying your table cloth away, use clothes pegs.
If you are thinking of buying a motorhome, try hiring one first, similar to the model you are considering. The initial outlay could save you from making a costly mistake.
If you think you will be using your new motorhome abroad more often than at home you may be better off buying a left hand drive model.
If you have to jack up your vehicle on soft ground, rest the jack on a board to help stop it sinking under the weight.
To extract your bogged down caravan from a muddy site, carry lengths of old carpet that you can place under the driving wheels. Use second gear and with the revs low, steer ahead in a straight line.
To prevent the light fading the interior fabrics, screen the windows when the caravan is not in use.
To sanitise your toilet with the minimum of fuss and mess, use Elsan Blue bags. There is no measuring or pouring. You just drop the sachets into the tank and they dissolve completely on contact with the water.
Be prepared for emergencies. Always take a first aid kit and keep it up to date. Carry remedies for day to day ailments such as pain killers, cough medicines, indigestion tablets etc. as well as plasters, tweezers, an unbreakable thermometer, scissors and a first aid manual. Be sure to keep it out of the reach of children.
To rid your Vacuum flask or water carrier of stale smells, fill it with water mixed with Elsan Fresh Water Tank Clean. Allow to soak, rinse thoroughly and drain.
When fetching water, take two small water carriers rather than one large one which, when full, will be very heavy to lug around. The weight will be balanced and even children may be able to help share the task.
To avoid food contamination, never store cooked food under raw food. It may drip blood.
When packing, always keep the kettle, tea, coffee, milk and stove where it is most accessible.
Prepare the caravan or motorhome for winter. Use Elsan Anti-Freeze to protect all taps, pipes and tanks against freezing conditions down to -40oC.
If your septic tank smells, it is a sign that the normal, natural digesting action of micro-organisms is breaking down. This can result in clogging and even a risk of overflowing. To restore and keep your tank functioning at its best, use Elsan Septic Tank Clean. Using processes found in nature, it will degrade fat, oil and grease to prevent clogging and accelerate the decomposition of waste and organic matter, whilst preventing bad odours.
When choosing a sleeping bag, remember that a down filled one is warmer and lighter to carry when dry, but one containing synthetic fibres costs less, is easier to wash, dries out more quickly and should be warm enough for most occasions.
Never pitch your tent at the bottom on a dried stream bed. If heavy rain arrives, so may the stream. Ensure your site is level and well drained.
If in any doubt about your ability to wade across a fast flowing stream...don’t! You’d be surprised how quickly a strong current could sweep you away.
When camping away from mains water, make sure that the water you drink is free of bacteria and viruses and pack a small bottle of Elsil. A few drops ensure that the micro-organisms are destroyed.
To prevent body heat loss in cold conditions, wear a hat. Never wait until you feel cold before putting on warm, windproof clothing. Keep dry and find shelter from cold winds.
If walking in a group around unfamiliar territory, always stick together. Ensure the first person along the trail waits for the others at a junction before moving on or changing direction.
If you get caught in a lightning storm stay away from isolated trees, masts, high exposed ground and the bottom of cliffs. Keep a good distance from metal objects and remember that areas of water can also conduct electricity. Shelter in low ground, ideally in a dip. Crouch rather than lie to minimise contact with the ground and if possible, insulate your body by putting a foam or rubber sheet underneath.
In case you run into trouble whilst sailing, climbing or on a remote walking or camping trip, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. It will help the authorities to organise a search.
Break in your new walking boots gradually before your first long walk.
If you get your walking shoes wet, donʼt put them in front of the fire as it will make them hard and uncomfortable to wear. Instead, stuff them with newspaper and put them in a well ventilated area to let them dry out.
Never operate a boat whilst under the influence of alcohol. One third of all boating accidents are alcohol related. As it enters the blood stream, alcohol impairs judgement, coordination, vision, and sense of balance as well as slowing reaction time and increasing susceptibility to hypothermia.
Make sure that safety on board is your first priority: Never overload your boat and ensure you carry all the necessary safety apparatus, keeping life saving equipment visible and easy to access. Always check the weather forecast. Stay safe by wearing life jackets whenever necessary and if you canʼt swim...learn.
If you need a toilet fluid while on board, use Elsan Boatkem because it is especially formulated for marine use. It is fast acting, long lasting, safe to handle and completely harmless to the aquatic environment.
In case your propeller should encounter weed or a rope, carry a mask, flippers and a sharp knife.
To avoid the risk of spilling chemical whilst charging your toilet in a rough sea, use Elsan Blue Bags. There is no measuring or pouring. Simply drop the sachet into the tank and it dissolves completely on contact with the water. Elsan Blue Bags are supplied in plastic tubs to keep water and moisture out.