Whether you are an experienced caravan/camping/motorhome holidaymaker or you are new to the game there is a lot of things you need to know, pack and plan before you set off. Ireland is a great country to explore and with over 100 great caravan & camping sites in all corners of the Island you’ll always have some great spot to pitch your tent, caravan or motorhome for the night. After a couple of trips things will become easier but it is always useful to have a checklist on hand to tick-off before you set off. Here are some tips, advice and ideas for everyone to help them plan and enjoy their trips away.
Stay within the limit
It is really important that you bear in mind that everything you load into your unit adds to the weight of the caravan/motorhome. In particular, if you are towing a caravan make sure that you don’t exceed your caravan’s maximum technically permissible laden mass. This should be stamped on its weight plate or in its handbook. Also ensure the caravan doesn’t exceed your car’s kerbweight.
In Ireland, we are often confronted with narrow roads and low bridges. Before you set off on your journey check your route to make sure you and your unit can safely navigate to your destination. Don’t take a chance as it may lead to you having to make detours or worse!
Plan before you set off
Firstly, it is important that you plan your route before you set off. A lot of campsites in Ireland are located in rural locations, off main routes so plan your best route before you set off. Check the directions on our website Camping Ireland and enter the GPS co-ordinates into your sat nav. Our holidays are precious enough without wasting time trying to find your destination and having to double back!
A great idea is to have your own checklist on the essentials you need to pack. Just like having stable store cupboard items in your kitchen at home it is also wise to have the basics in your caravan/motorhome at all times. Here are some items that we think you should store away on-board and have your caravan/motorhome ready to set off.
- Water container
- Folding bin
- Heater low watt or gas heater
- Whistling kettle
- Power Lead + 16amp plug
- Power bank
- Charging leads
- First-aid kit
Items from home
- Sleeping bags
- Blankets for cool evenings
- Hot water bottles
- Bottle opener / Tin opener
- Tea towels, kitchen roll, toilet roll (very important)
- Dust pan/brush
- Ice box & ice packs
- Pepper & salt, spices
- Bin bag
- Other items
- Folding chairs and table for outside
- Picnic rug
- Small travel mirror
- Wet gear & wellies
- Fit flops
- Suncream / Bug spray repellent
- Entertainment necessities
- Deck of cards
- Board games
- Bucket & spades
We recommend at all times parking overnight in only a registered/approved caravan parks. Camping Ireland has over 100 members all offering quality approved facilities. Our member parks have been inspected by Fáilte Ireland. Download the Camping Ireland App to use when travelling around.
It is advisable to always book ahead and plan your route before your travel, particularly during high season. Sites can be very busy during the main holiday periods and you don’t want to be left disappointed if you can’t get into a site. Also, some parks have only a limited supply of electric hook-up pitches so it is advisable to book early.
When you are booking you will be asked for the following information
- Dates required
- Type of unit – caravan, motorhome, tent
- Size of unit (if it’s extra-large or not standard size)
- EHU (Electric hook-up required)
- Number of people in the party
- Extras – XL space, electricity, awning, extra car space
Most sites will take a deposit when you make the booking. Some sites will require the balance to be paid before you arrive and others will take the balance on arrival. Always check the sites booking terms & conditions, particularly their cancellation policy. If for some reason you can’t travel always cancel as soon as possible to allow the campsite give the booking to someone else.
Many caravan/camping sites are now offering the option of pre-booking online. You can book your pitch, pre-pay and receive your confirmation all online before you travel. Check out Camping Ireland for details on caravan and camping sites throughout Ireland that offer online booking.
Bringing your dog on holiday
Our pets are part of the family and of course must be included in the family trips away. Don’t forget to check campsites pet policy before you travel to your destination. Not every Caravan & Camping park will allow dogs. Check out our list of sites that accept dogs. Some sites have restriction on the number and breed of dogs allowed on the site and some may charge a small fee to bring your dog. ALWAYS CHECK BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
If you are travelling from overseas your dog or cat must have a Pet Passport. If your pet does not have an EU pet passport (GB pet passports are no longer allowed, but NI pet passports are), you must have a health certificate issued by UK authorities. For more information click https://www.gov.ie/en/service/28ae66-pet-travel/
To ensure your pet’s comfort and safety, don’t forget to pack their water bowl, safety harness, bed, toys, treats, medical records. Here is a handy checklist:
Checklist for packing for your Dog
Water Collar or harness
Bowls Tag with ID
Poo Bags Treats
Pet Passport (if travelling from overseas)
Getting your trip off to a good start
You have the caravan/motorhome/tent all packed up, you have your reservation made at the caravan/camping park and your route planned. It’s now time to get on the road. Give yourself plenty of time and avoid peak travelling times. Also, pack a picnic which you can have in one of Ireland’s many great beauty stops on the way.
You’ve now reached your destination and after checking in at reception it’s time to find your pitch. Always be mindful when you are driving to your pitch of people moving around the site, particularly smallies who are enjoying the freedom and can move around at the speed of light!
Before you pitch up make sure that the pitch is suitable for your unit - Is it flat and level? Do you need blocks to level the caravan? Always always make sure your handbrake is engaged in your car or motorhome. Most caravan/camping parks have marked out pitches. However if your site doesn’t, please don’t set up camp on top of your neighbours. Maintain a respectful six metres from their pitch and try not to obscure other campers’ views.
Let the holiday begin
You’ve everything set-up – the tent is pitched, the caravan is secure, the motorhome is parked up securely. Now you can begin to enjoy your caravan & camping experience and embrace outdoor living. Here are 7 tips and advice to help you enjoy your trip:
1. Hooking up to electric
Remember, you’re not at home on mains electric when you’re on a campsite. Household electric products often can trip electric on sites. It is better to use specific camping electric products. Most parks offer between 6 and 10 amps. The blue Euro male/female connection is standard.
Awnings are great however putting them up takes a bit of practice. It’s best to put up an awning with the side panels in place, but if it’s breezy take the panels out first to avoid fighting large areas of wind-blown fabric or damaging the awning or worse your unit.
3. Water disposal
All grey water (water from showers and wash-up) should be collected in a suitable container and emptied at the designated disposal drain point
4. Emptying your loo
Campsites have chemical disposal point where you can empty your loo. Never empty a cassette toilet at a grey or fresh water point.
5. Campsite etiquette
Sites have guidelines and rules to ensure everyone has an enjoyable stay. Always respect the rules and be mindful of your neighbours. Noise travels on a campsite and you can hear everything – Observe quiet times between certain hours, such as late at night and early in the morning. Also, don’t take a short cut across other pitches and remind your kids of this as well!
6. Onsite facilities
Leave the campsite’s facilities, for the next camper, as you’d expect to find them. Always respect other people’s property. Caravan & camping holidays are a great way for children to interact with other children and make new friends. Some campsites have onsite activities for everyone to enjoy. These are great ways for your children to mix with others onsite and for you to get a bit of a well-earned break. Games rooms, TV rooms and playgrounds are great places for you and your family to meet with other families and make new friends.
Use the correct bins on site. There will often be designated areas for disposing of different types of rubbish and recycling. You need to dispose of your rubbish before you leave and anything that can’t be disposed of onsite should leave with you. When you pull away from your pitch at the end of your stay, be sure to stop and take one last look.
7. Feeding your family on holiday
For some the idea of cooking on holiday isn’t appealing. Come prepared with pre-cooked meals from home. Also, it is important to try the local foods. Use local ingredients to make up some fabulous meals and treats. A lot of towns now have weekly farmers markets.
Most sites allow small BBQs and some sites even have communal BBQs which can be used by you on the site. If you are planning to BBQ check with the site-owner to ensure this is allowed and if there are any restrictions. Most sites don’t allow BBQs directly on the ground. This also applies to fire pits.
Plan you meals in advance and make them simple. Most campsites have a campers’ kitchen onsite however the equipment and facilities varies. In some you can cook a meal from scratch whilst others offer simple facilities like microwave, kettle or wash-up area. It is always wise to check in advance to avoid surprises and disappointment. Pasta and rice dishes are always a firm favourite and are easy to prepare with limited facilities. Also, you can use your BBQ to cook steaks and burgers or to make the full-Irish breakfast in the morning. Whatever you decide to do make it simple, with the minimum of fuss and use the time saved to enjoy your holiday.
Things to do and see when on holidays
It’s all well and good to have a great set up in the caravan & camping park but the whole idea of a break away or holiday is to get out and experience all the great things to do and see in the area. Ireland is rich in great landscapes, fabulous beaches, walking and cycling routes, historical sites and thousands of other fabulous things to do. Don’t forget to pack your bikes and use these to explore. Take in the many greenway cycle routes or the way-marked walking routes in the forest and mountains of Ireland. Explore and enjoy Ireland. Visit the hidden gems that are in every county in the country. See parts of the country that you’ve only ever heard about. Travel along the Wild Atlantic Way, explore Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands or travel back in time in Ireland’s Ancient East. Take in the hustle and bustle of cities like Galway, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford or Belfast. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of one of Irelands 6 national parks. Take a boat trip to one of Ireland’s many great islands or walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs on Valentia Island or the Giant’s Causeway. Before you set off visit www.discoverireland.ie for more information on festival and events and ideas on things to do and see in the area. A caravan & camping holiday in Ireland is a great way to experience Ireland. What better place to enjoy outdoor living.
There is no better way to see the country with all your own home comforts. Don’t forget to check out all the great caravan & camping sites throughout Ireland before you travel. There are over 100 quality approved caravan & camping parks throughout Ireland. Sites offer top class facilities with many onsite amenities. There is a variety of sites around Ireland. Maybe you are looking for a quiet site where you can pitch up and use the site as a base for travelling around. Maybe you want a site where there is a playground for your kids or even sites where there are a host of onsite activities for all the family to enjoy. Whatever you want Camping Ireland has something for everyone.
For information on these sites, the facilities they offer and other information log onto our website Camping Ireland Enjoy the independence and flexibility that camping in Ireland can offer in quality approved sites. We look forward to welcoming you to Ireland’s outdoor living. Download the Camping Ireland App which you can use to browse and search for approved sites with ease while you are travelling around. For more information on the app click here Don’t forget to order your Camping Key Europe Card which offers great discounts and savings at campsites, visitor attractions and many more outlets. The card is accepted in over 2,800 sites in Ireland and Europe. It also includes free third-party insurance. You can order the card here