Caravans are wonderful. They’re a hugely versatile way to enjoy a holiday, and having the freedom to sleep and eat wherever you want makes any trip more special. From young children to adults, caravanning holidays are enjoyed by multiple generations and can build memories to last a lifetime. But while they are wonderful, they can be lacking in certain areas like storage and comfort, so that’s where caravanning hacks come in! These 15 caravan hacks are designed to change your travels forever and help to make your trips easier, more comfortable and more special. They’re all designed to be as easy as possible and cost as little money as they can, so you don’t need to worry about needing extensive DIY experience, or breaking the bank.
Bubble wrap and foam floor tiles are the ideal way to do this. Being able to stay warm is of the utmost importance, because as most caravanners know, clear, sunny days lead to low temperatures at night. It’ll make you so much more comfortable, and it will make your caravan somewhere you really look forward to coming home to in the evening.
Metallic bubble wrap is often the tool of choice for caravanners – it’s relatively cheap, it’s possible to install yourself and it makes a huge difference in terms of warmth. Whether you use it on the doors, windows or even the floor, it’s worth taking the time to measure around correctly. Read a few different guides that relate to the model of caravan or camper that you have, as every each will be slightly different to insulate.
Insulation is the one thing that you really want to make perfect, so if you are struggling with the insulation don’t feel shy to ask for help. We’ll talk about foam floor tiles in more detail later on in this article, and they’re a great way to keep the floor warm in cold weather. It doesn’t matter what type of flooring you currently have – foam floor tiles can be fitted over whatever’s already in place!
Having safe places to store your belongings in your caravan is worth its weight in gold – and the joy of building your own shelves means you can build them from whatever you want! Pretty much anything can be turned into your very own storage space, and if you want to be creative and use things like old piping, driftwood, books on brackets – anything with a flat edge can be used as a shelf. All you need is some brackets to attach them to the wall, which can be picked up from DIY stores for very small amounts of money.
If you want to be able to store things on your shelves while you’re driving, look at installing some shelves with non-slip matting on them. These can be picked up for just a few pounds, and will help you to know that your belongings will be safe while you’re driving! Simply cover the surface of the shelves you make with non-slip mats, and make sure you stick the non-slip mats on securely so that they don’t move while you’re driving. Don’t be afraid to experiment while you’re making shelves – if you’re going to take the time doing up your motorhome to make it your home away from home, you should absolutely make sure that you love the shelves that you put up and they meet your needs both functionally and aesthetically.
Storage solutions are perfect for your caravan or campervan conversion. So much space is available in the roof that it’s a waste not to use it. This way you’re maximising the space that you’ve got and you’ll be able to carry a lot more with you while making sure it doesn’t get in your way. Hanging wardrobes normally cost around £15, and they are often the storage system of choice for caravanners, for items of clothing. Hanging shoe racks tend to cost a little less than this, and if you travel with one of these it’s possible to hang it outside the door when you’re parked up.
This will encourage people to take off their shoes, to store them outside, and you’ll keep your sleeping and eating space nice and clean. When you’re ready to set off again, simply move the hanging shoe rack inside. Hanging utensil storage systems can be easily hung on the inside of kitchen cupboards, saving you valuable drawer space. These are very cheap to buy online but if you don’t want to buy them, simply install hooks on the inside of your cupboard doors to hang utensils from. Doing it this way means you can plan your space perfectly too, and only put in as many hooks as you need. Bungee cords also make great storage accessories – they can be stretched around pretty much any surface to securely fasten whatever you need to keep inside, and having a wide selection of bungee cords means you’ll have huge amounts of versatility when it comes to designing your own storage solutions.
Keeping you and your family safe is of the utmost importance when you’re staying in a caravan or motorhome, and there are a fair few travel hacks that will make your adventure as safe as possible. Non-slip mats for everything that is loose is the first place to start. It costs very little to buy a large roll of non-slip matting, which can then be cut down to whatever size is needed. Glass bottle protectors are also essential for any bottles that you’ve got – these can be picked up cheap, and they’ll make sure that you don’t end up with smashed glass everywhere.
Glow in the dark tape is also really handy. This can be placed on the edge of steps, on any overhanging gazebo or awning and anywhere else where there is a trip hazard. This will make sure that you and anybody else visiting will be able to see potential tripping points and avoid them – even at night!
Having either a chalkboard or a corkboard with your location and all the emergency numbers for the area you’re in is hugely important too – if something does go wrong, it’s very important that anybody who needs to be able to contact emergency services is able to do so quickly and easily.
You can then keep all your clothes clean, wherever you are. While many caravan parks have launderettes in them, if you want to take your venture off the beaten track you’ve got to make sure you’ve got a way of washing anything you’ll need while you’re on the road. While it’s possible to buy a small, portable washing machine for around £100, it’s a lot cheaper and a lot more fun to make your own! The easiest way to do this is to take a large bucket on the road with you, and a plunger. Also take with you some soap for your clothes – if you buy washing tablets, you can cut these up into small pieces to give you the kind of ratio you need when you’re hand washing. When you need to wash some clothes, simply add your clothes, soap and hot water into the bucket, and use the plunger to agitate the washing and pound the clothes around in the bucket. It may be a little more effort than a traditional washing machine, but you’ll often find that kids find it a lot of fun to see how fast they can move the plunger in the bucket!
When you’ve finished washing the clothes, you can leave them to soak for as long as you want before rinsing them and hanging them out to dry. If you want to dry them slightly more quickly and you want to tire your children out easily, peg the clothes SECURELY to a pole and let your children run around with them waving them dry – it’s surprisingly fun!
There’s nothing worse than having a sleeping and eating area that’s dirty, and there are quite a few things that you can do to help keep the inside as clean as possible. Dirty shoes can be put in plastic bags before being put in a shoe rack, which will keep the shoe rack or shoe hanger that you’re using nice and clean. A welcome mat at the door for people to wipe their feet on is a good idea too.
When you go out for the day, make sure you leave a big bucket of clean water outside the door. This way when you get back from a day at the beach or a walk, you can clean your feet/hands quickly and easily outside without having to dirty the inside of the caravan. If you have a dog, it’s a great idea to invest in some baby wipes for dogs as it can be very hard to give your dog a bath when you’re on the road.
If you do find that you’ve run out of cleaning materials and they’re proving hard to buy, mixing bicarb of soda and water makes a cleaning paste that’s good to use on pretty much any surface. Cheap shower caps can be used to put dirty clothes or shoes in to keep them separate from clean ones, and they take very little room to transport.
Laminate style floorings are the easiest to keep clean inside your motorhome, especially if you’ve got children or dogs as they wipe clean very easily! Many flooring places will be happy to do you a deal on any ends of laminate that they have, and you can pick them up really quite cheaply.
If you’re not worried about the floor looking completely uniform then factory ends are perfect – you’ll be able to make them fit into your motorhome, and they work out much more cheaply than buying brand new, made to measure laminate flooring. They’re quite easy to fit yourself too – set aside a day to fit laminate flooring and that should be more than enough. While carpet is warmer, foam tiles can be placed over laminate floors – the type that is often used for children’s play areas – and they really help to keep the floor warm in those cold winter months. They also provide a lovely soft surface to walk on, and if they do get dirty it’s incredibly easy to take them apart, take them out of the motorhome and clean them outside.
Remember to be creative! Space is at such a premium when you’re on a camping holiday that you really want to make the most of everything you’ve got available. Decanting dried foods like pasta, rice etc. into tupperware containers means you’ll be able to stack them easily, and you’ll have much fewer gaps between storage containers than you would if you left them in packets. A pillbox organiser makes a great dried herb container – put a different dried herb into each section of the pillbox and you’ll be able to transport and store all the herbs you want to take on the road with you to cook some fantastic home cooked meals. One like this should do the trick:
If you like scrambled eggs, simply crack some eggs into a tupperware container, and put the container in the fridge. When you want to cook your eggs, just mix the eggs with milk and pour the liquid straight into the pan and start cooking with it. You’ll cut down on the need for egg boxes, and you can carry a whole load of the mixture with you without having to worry about any eggs breaking. Mason jars are also great space saving storage solutions too. Cereals, jams, yoghurt and so much more can be added and again – when they’re a uniform size they’re much easier to store together. Make sure you bring mason jars that are exactly the sizes that you need and consider the use of non-slip mats to keep these secure when driving, even if they are stored in a cupboard.
Water is the one thing you don’t want to run out of, as it’s absolutely essential for keeping you healthy and you don’t want to have to risk drinking unsafe water. Always take double the amount of water that you think you’ll need – you always end up getting through a lot more than you expect to!
Freeze packs of water – if you’ve got a freezer in your campervan then you can put as many packs of water in the freezer as possible to ensure you’ve always got a steady supply. If you’ve not got a freezer in your caravan, then pack all the freezer bags of water together in one place, and keep any fresh fruit and vegetables in with them. This will help keep your frozen water bags as cold as possible for as long as possible, and it’ll keep your fruit and vegetables fresh for a longer time too!
One thing that’s also a great idea to have with you is a water purifier. If you do find yourself in a situation where you have run out of water and you’ve got no way of buying any more, having a water purifier with you for emergencies will enable you to have water that’s safe to drink wherever you are. For around £20 you can buy a purifier or 'lifestraw' that’s reliable and high quality.
If you’re going to be living in your caravan for an extended period of time away from home then you want to make sure that you’ve got as many home comforts as possible. Don’t be shy to bring the things that you feel you can’t live without in life – there’s nothing wrong with bringing a coffee machine on holiday! Things like dressing gowns and slippers are often overlooked when packing, but sometimes there’s nothing you want more than to be able to get warm and cosy in a bathrobe and slippers. Favourite mugs, hot water bottles and blankets may seem like they’re a waste of space when you’re looking at what to pack, but if you’re sensible with your storage then there’s no reason not to bring them. Often it makes a world of difference to have these things with you. Save some space by bringing the microfiber travel towels with you, and reward yourself by bringing your bathrobe!
A holiday without sleep is never going to be as rewarding as a holiday that you spend catching up on your rest and sleeping well and deeply, and there are quite a few camping tips that will help you to get the best sleep possible. Blackout curtains are a must for every caravan conversion. They can easily be hung on bungee cords if you don’t want to fit them to the curtain rails. Blackout curtains are normally pretty cheap – around £15 for a pair – but it’s possible to do it even more cheaply by using very dark, lined fabric.
Having your own pillows is hugely important too – there’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning with a sore neck! Inflatable pillows and travel pillows are often very easily compressible, so try out an inflatable pillow while you’re still at home to check that you can sleep on it well.
Mattress toppers are often invaluable for campervan life, as they will fit over the beds in the caravan to give you a comfortable, very soft surface to sleep on. Memory foam mattress toppers cost around £50 for a good quality one and you can get them to fit pretty much any size of bed that you need. You’ll soon work out the best hacks for you that help you to get a great sleep, and it’s always worth taking earplugs with you to block out the noise from any other campers in the area!
Decoration and atmosphere is the key when you’re thinking of ideas to make your your van more homely, and getting creative with some DIY decoration is a great way to do this.
One of our favourite camping hacks is to use carved out, dried fruit as candles – it’s especially great for alfresco dining! Any citrus fruit makes a great candle – simply use a knife to carefully separate the fruit from the peel, keeping the peel in as much of an upright, round shape as possible. Keep the stem in the fruit, and once you’ve removed the fruit from the inside, pour some olive oil over the stem and into the fruit bowl. Once you’ve made sure the stem is soaked and there’s a decent amount of oil inside the fruit, set the stem on fire – your caravan will smell wonderful! Citrus fruit candles also help to keep insects at bay when you want to sit and enjoy a drink or a meal outside – there’s nothing worse than being plagued by insects, and it’s worth doing everything possible to stop them ruining your outdoor experiences!