Spruce Up Your Tourer

Many of us love our touring caravans.

That though sometimes makes it rather difficult to sit back and look objectively and critically at our tourer and see it the way others might.  Yet if you can succeed in doing so, it can be a little painful to suddenly realise that your pride and joy is looking a little bit, well, let’s say tired and jaded.

There might be any number of reasons why that’s the case.  Perhaps it is getting a little bit mature in terms of its years or you have simply been too busy enjoying it to take notice of the fact that it needed a little bit of freshening up – or possibly both.

The good news though is that things can be done.

So, we’ll take as a starting point the assumption that your tourer is in basically sound mechanical, electrical and operating condition and concentrate on what might be useful from a cosmetic point of view:
  • make a list of things to do.  This might sound like an odd way to start – by generating paperwork and bureaucracy but in fact it’s a pretty powerful idea.  Sometimes just launching into an unstructured flurry of tweaks and enhancements can result in confused priorities and a sub-optimal finish. So, make a full inspection of your tourer and make a list of all of those things that you think need to be done;
  • once you have a list of enhancements, think about noting down what are called the inter-dependencies between the activities.  Technically this is called critical path analysis but it essentially just means that you identify all jobs that need to be done and completed before you can move on to the next one. If this sounds a little like overkill, you have obviously been lucky enough to never have experienced the frustration of wishing you had (or hadn’t) done something before you had actually started an individual job. Failing to attend to a pre-requisite piece of work can prove to be an expensive mistake;
  • clean the externals. You may not know what condition the external fabric of your tourer is really in if you can’t see it due to dirt, grime and grease.  There are established ways of cleaning any given caravan and different manufacturers may make different recommendations on the subject in terms of what sort of materials and products should or should not be used;
  • inspect all external surfaces after cleaning.  What you are looking for are signs of corrosion, flaking protective coverings, dings, scratches, dents and so on. The steps you will need to take to put these things right will vary depending upon their nature but keep in mind that most people form an initial view of your caravanning credibility from the external first appearances. To put it another way, whatever you do your tourer should look spotlessly clean and very fresh from the outside. This is also smart in terms of protecting its value;
  • when moving inside, closely examine your flooring.  This is important not just from a comfort and appearances point of view but also in terms of heat insulation. It hopefully goes without saying that it might be sensible to consider waterproof flooring, which you can soften up with carpets and rugs. Replacing your flooring doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and there are usually plenty of good deals available from appropriate flooring providers;
  • you might want to consider refreshing your curtains and fabric coverings on seats etc.  As a tip, consider special end of roll offers on the internet and surprising as it may sound, think about looking to the USA.  Sometimes very high quality fabrics are available in the U.S. at a fraction of the cost of finding them in Europe and that even includes the shipping costs. Don’t leave out giving your windows a thorough cleaning* to show off those new curtains to best effect;
  • while you are looking at fabrics and coverings, consider replacing any foam and upholstery where required. Sometimes having some new spongy seating can not only be gentle on some of your more delicate parts but might also make your furnishings look like they are brand-new.  In passing, remember to make sure that any foam or other materials meet appropriate European fire prevention standards**;
  • if some of the fittings inside your tourer are looking like they could best be described as being “nostalgia style”, you might want to consider replacing them.  Of course, completely replacing your units might prove to be relatively expensive.  However, simply changing a tap or the handles on the doors of your units might make the world of difference and be modest in cost.  Think also about a coat of paint to complete the effect.  Once again in passing, consider looking for special deals on the internet or in salvage and reclamation yards – you don’t always have to go to specialist hi-cost providers;
  • lamps and lighting might also be something worth contemplating.  Many caravans at one time had a tendency to be heavily focused on a big central light and perhaps some wall lights – something that’s now a little dated.  These can be quickly upgraded to small and subdued but distributed halogen lighting for not a lot of money. It might move your caravan quickly in terms of cultural appeal from the 1950s into the 21st century;
  • try not to forget your bedding.  Sometimes an otherwise state-of-the-art caravan in terms of décor can be let down by some fairly tatty pillows and blankets that look as though they have just come from an ancient barracks.  A couple of new duvets and some pillow cases might brighten things up hugely and yet again, the costs are not likely to prove to be breath-taking.
Of course, if your caravan really is in need of a desperately radical overhaul in terms of its top-to-bottom décor, then inevitably you are going to be forced to spend a reasonable sum of money to spruce things up again. Remember if you upgrade your caravan and increase its value you may need to reflect this in your insurance cover like that provided by specialists such as Cover4Caravans***.

However, that might be a relatively unusual state of affairs and many owners will find that with a little bit of imagination and some very modest expenditure, their tourer’s appearance can be transformed.      

* http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/shop-and-offers/all-shop-products/dometic-cleaner-kit
** http://www.leics.gov.uk/fira_furniture_guide
*** http://www.cover4caravans.co.uk/caravan-insurance/touring-caravan-insurance

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