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If you’re new to hiring static caravan’s or you have been a couple of times, it can feel overwhelming when you consider everything you might need to bring. As a family, we are pros at packing for a self-catering caravan holiday in the UK. There are essentials, luxuries and things you can afford to leave behind. Below is our essential checklist for your self-catering caravan trip.

Essential Self-catering caravan checklist

You are right in thinking this guide is for static caravans; you know, the ones that are based at holiday parks and don’t move (unless they are on the back of a lorry). Although most things are transferable between touring caravans and static caravans, there are no golden rules here.

Photo by Uriel Mont from Pexels

As a family we have been using self-catering caravans for nearly 10 years, they aren’t as basic as you might think and we have upgraded over the years from the basic to the premium (it comes with a dishwasher) but the essentials are always the same. It’s a home from home. We’ve also learnt over the years, what works and what doesn’t and to take care when leaving to make sure nothing or no one is left behind as Bear Bear (RIP) ended up in the rubbish bin and not the bedding bag many years ago.

Home ware Essentials

If you hire a static caravan, they come with minimal essentials, including cooking utensils, pots & pans, mugs, glassware, kettle, microwave and bedding (depending on caravan grade). Basically everything you would use essentially at home.

Here are some of the things not included (this is subject to change depending on if it’s booked privately)

  • Bath towels and bath mats
  • Oven gloves and tea towels
  • Child friendly crockery and glassware – we often pack a couple of picnic type sets or bamboo and plastic glasses or beakers for the kids
  • Bedding (if required) – most offer free bedding hire included (beds pre-made) or you can pay for a pack of bedding which is usually collected from the hire shop or if you prefer a little bit of home comfort. You can bring your own covers and blankets. We also pack a couple of our own pillows.

Outdoor Equipment for your Self-catering caravan holiday

A checklist wouldn’t be complete without an outdoor equipment checklist for those who embrace the outdoor life. Obviously, check with your desired location that certain equipment is allowed, such as gazebo’s, BBQs, etc.

Crop person cooking meat on BBQ grill
Photo by Enric Cruz López from Pexels

Self-catering Caravan Entertainment

Static caravans have many modern essentials these days, including televisions and occasionally Bluetooth speaker systems. There are many things to keep you entertained, including:

Groceries – Food Essentials

Obviously, no one goes on holiday wanting to spend their time cooking for the family. It’s a rest from all that, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need careful consideration. Can you afford to eat out every night? Do you want to head to the beach for a picnic? Will the kids have enough snacks to keep them happy? It all needs to be considered, which is why we decided to buy a large storage container and rather than wasting parts of our holiday food shopping, we took essentials with us to keep us ticking over.

  • Condiments – Ketchup, mayo etc
  • Squash
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Margarine
  • Tea bags, coffee, sugar etc
  • Bread

We don’t usually take milk as it doesn’t keep well in the car, even with the electric cool box. It is always an idea to check what restaurants, cafes and convenience stores are located on-site or within easy reach of your accommodation. Some parks do allow supermarket deliveries on-site direct to your caravan, but this is worth checking before arranging.

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Groceries – Cleaning Supplies & Hygiene

There is nothing quite like being on a self-catered holiday to realise that you’ve used the last toilet roll or the supermarket has sold out of anti-bacterial wipes so we have always been prepared for the unexpected.

  • Toilet rolls
  • Kitchen roll
  • Anti-bacterial spray or wipes
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Washing up liquid
  • Bin bags (you may be given one or two)
  • Hand wash and hand sanitiser
  • A mini hand wash detergent

Some caravans have the added luxury of a dishwasher, so it may be worth checking to keep that in mind. We usually grab a small pack of dishwasher tablets from the on-site store.

Photo by Ashley K Little from Pexels

What to pack for the kids (including those with disabilities)

The biggest factor will be how old your kids are. Travelling with babies and toddlers often feels like travelling with the kitchen sink, but sometimes you need those must-have items, and it’s especially the same when travelling with a disabled child. So much more needs to be prepared for or anticipated.

  • Travel cot – Not everyone is happy hiring a travel cot from the hire shop so consider where your little one will sleep. We opted to take our own in the early days as it was easier but the rooms can be tiny so it was a squeeze.
  • Nappies, wipes, nappy bags – We still have a disabled child in nappies so for us it’s the norm to consider his essentials. However, there are now many more options now including space saving cots.
  • Stroller – We have the use of a wheelchair and a stroller but find the stroller is much more convenient when doing day trips. Highly recommend getting a lightweight stroller we had a Silver Cross Zest Stroller and it was excellent and faired us well.
  • Travel games
  • Highchairs, travel potty, stair gates, blackout blinds, fridge locks and toddler cutlery if your kids are on the young side.

Beach or Day Out Essentials

We always want weather lovely enough to get a couple of beach days (especially here in the UK), so it is worth having a checking list for when the sun shines.

Summary

We have only stayed in self-catering caravans in the UK, so I can’t comment on self-catering holidays abroad. It can be awfully tricky if you’ve never done it or are flying. Not much room in hold luggage for all those essentials. There are, however, self-catering holidays in European holiday parks that include essential packs that can be purchased pre-travel for convenience.

This is just a rough guide to what you should look to take with you both for cost-saving and those little essentials. If I’ve missed any, please let me know? Is there anything you must have when you go on a self-catering caravan holiday?

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This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, this is at no cost to you and it is purely at your discretion.

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