The Preparation Guide for your First Caravan Trip

TOP 10 Holiday Parks

Best Parks For
Accommodation Type
Book with Confidence

The Preparation Guide for your First Caravan Trip

Share with your friends!

New Zealand is world-famous for its incredible natural wonders, scenery and wildlife. It’s a dream location for a road trip. So what better way to explore and experience the magical sights of New Zealand than through a caravan holiday? Don’t debate it any longer, you will have the adventure of your life!

But let’s not forget that planning a caravan holiday can feel a little overwhelming. At TOP 10, we know that preparation is key, which is why we want to help you make your journey more smooth and enjoyable.  Take the pressure off and get organised early on with this caravan checklist and preparation guide. 

1. Plan your Route

Image via

You are going on your first caravan holiday, how exciting! The first step towards your caravan holiday is to research and plan your trip. Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? When do you want to go? 

New Zealand has a lot to offer and a lot to see so depending on your time frame for your travels, planning a route is an essential first step. Tourism NZ provides great resources and ideas for itineraries and driving routes across NZ. This includes the Top New Zealand trips for both the North and the South Island as well as detailed information about travel time, highways and general driving in NZ.

2. Find a Holiday Park

Image via TOP 10 Holiday Park NZ

Traveling New Zealand in a caravan requires that you know a thing or two about camping rules, campgrounds, where to find them and which type is most suitable for you. In order to keep New Zealand beautiful, there are some restrictions on where you can camp.

TOP 10 offers many campgrounds and holiday parks in the most spectacular places in the North and South Island including destinations such as Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown, with a wide range of features and facilities, perfect for couples and families. 

For more info on our holiday parks in New Zealand, please visit Find A Park 

3. Hire a Caravan

Image via TOP 10 Holiday Parks NZ

As a part of your caravan preparation, you might want to consider either renting or buying a caravan, depending on your budget and how much time you have to explore New Zealand. You will quickly find out that there is no shortage of rental companies to choose from. We recommend checking out some of our Rental Partners for a great deal and a caravan that suits your needs. Once you have found the right solution, you just need to book directly with the company. 

An important caravanning tip is to make sure you are familiar with how to drive in New Zealand as it could differ from your home country.

4. Make a Checklist 

Image via Smarter Travel

You will need an array of items and essentials when holidaying in a caravan. It’s a good idea to make a checklist for the caravan, your car, travel gadgets and tools to make sure you have everything you need. You might be surprised at the amount of stuff you actually need. 

Your caravan is a tight living space so only bring along the essentials. If you are renting a caravan most of the items and essentials will already be there such as first aid kid, kitchen equipment, household materials, tools, and safety equipment. 

If not, consider the following categories; food, general safety, medicinal, mechanical, cookware, cleaning, equipment, and entertainment. Especially if you are traveling with kids make sure to bring toys to keep them entertained when needed.

5. Create a Packing List

Image via  

Just like your caravan checklist, it’s a great idea to make a packing list for your personal stuff to ensure you bring along everything you need without overpacking. 

When travelling on the go, less is more. Pack light as you will be living in a tiny space. Aim to keep it casual as you won’t be needed super fancy clothes. Bring layers as the weather in New Zealand is highly changeable. Packing cubes will make your life easier, help organise and compress. Bring along personal care and toiletries items and keep in mind that some campsites have different facilities.

6. Set-Up Routine

Image Maui Rentals

Now that you are almost ready for your caravan holiday, it’s a good idea to do a practice run and set up your site to get familiar with the process including connecting all of your hookups. Each caravan differs and so does the setting up process but practice makes perfect. 

This is also a great opportunity to create another checklist. Write down your setup routine in steps as well as your pack up routine. The process will become easier and more efficient over time. 

7. Useful Tips

Image via  

You don’t need mechanical training or a DIY degree to go on a caravan holiday but it does help to have some good advice before heading off to make your journey as smooth as possible. 

Always make sure to check the caravan interior and exterior. Carry a pair of plastic wheel chocks, pre-pack as much as you can but remember less is more, carry one roll of duct tape, a toolset and don’t forget your wipes. They will become your best friend. 

There is a lot of advice on the right and wrongs of travelling and camping but you need to do what works for you, what suits your needs and lifestyle. 

8. Enjoy the Adventure of Your Life

Image via  

There is a lot to think about when planning your first caravan holiday and a lot of caravan preparations. The reality is that you can only do as much planning and that caravanning is about enjoying the whole experience. The drive, the challenges, reversing into a tight spot, laughing about forgetting your swimwear, forgiving your partner for snoring and the kids for waking up extremely early. But don’t forget all the joys and positives that it brings. 

It will be an adventure for life. You get to be outdoors, reconnect with nature and enjoy the amazing scenery and landscape that New Zealand has to offer. You also get to enjoy the slow mornings and the friendly atmosphere of the caravan community. However, the best part is that you get to spend quality time with your family and create memories for life. 

Stay safe out there in beautiful New Zealand. 
Join the TOP 10 family and sign up here so you don’t miss out on all the great caravan spots for your trip and all the added benefits to complete your unforgettable holiday adventure.