Martin Roberts

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A few simple rules can be key to caravan holiday harmony, says Practical Caravan columnist and TV star Martin Roberts – what are your top touring tips?

In the spirit of adventure and holiday memories, my family and I have our own set of caravan ‘house rules’. So as the countdown to this summer's caravan holidays gets started, I thought I’d share them with you.

1 – Diets are forbidden

C’mon! You can’t really enjoy the whole touring experience while on a diet. When the day starts with bacon sarnies, it’s all downhill from there! Barbecues, fresh croissants and the obligatory fish-and-chips night are all non-negotiable.

2 – Waste not, want not

In the spirit of water conservation and the early morning trudge to refill the Aquaroll, strict rationing applies. No tap is to be left running for more than a few seconds, and the brushing of teeth is a communal affair.

3 – The fashion police are banned

While our kids are a bit young to be self-conscious about the myriad colours that adorn them when caravanning, we accept that anything goes and there are no jokes about looking like a clown. In fact, it is positively encouraged – and random collections of clothes we wouldn’t dream of wearing at home can earn extra points.

4 – Fresh bread or croissants are a must

It’s the job of our son Scott to cycle to the campsite shop to purchase the daily order. If there are no baking facilities on site, we make our own. Oh yes, our awning is regularly turned into a makeshift bakery, with bread maker churning through the night to add to the sounds of camp life.

5 – We celebrate our Britishness

It’s ‘get out the bunting’, ‘hoist the flag’, tea at teatime and always have a tablecloth on the table, don’t you know!

6 – Toilet roll

This is a touchy subject. As anyone who has experienced a clogged toilet cassette (and the resulting sewage-splashed trousers when the bung suddenly releases itself) will tell you, toilet roll must be used sparingly. Our rule of thumb is three sheets maximum per visit. If you genuinely need to use more, make the trip to the toilet block where you can polish and flush away to your heart’s content.

7 – Board-game Olympics

One of the joys of a wet caravanning break is the chance to play board games guilt-free. The rule is one new game for each trip, thus expanding our repertoire from Snap and Connect 4 to a diverse range of off-the-wall variations on classics. Extreme Jenga anyone?

8 – Pets are most definitely welcome

They love it as a holiday, too. However, this year our kids have expanded the concept, so along with our two golden retrievers, the Guinea pigs and stick insects are coming along for the ride. No, really!

9 – Keeping the peace

Now ... how can I say this politely? A caravan is a small, enclosed space. Leave the caravan in plenty of time if there’s any danger of antisocial behaviour.

10 – Love it!

And our final house rule is: treasure every moment. We are making the memories that will stay with our family for ever.

And that's it – here's to many fantastic caravan holidays for years to come!

Visit Martin’s website for information about him, his books and his property training weekends, and follow his adventures on Twitter
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