Travel is intended to be relaxing, but it can certainly take a toll on your physical stamina, resulting in exhaustion. Adapting to a strange environment can also be tricky. We’ve provided some tips to help ensure you sleep soundly on the road. Not only will you return from your holiday refreshed, but you’ll be better able to enjoy the thrill of exploration in your touring caravan, motorhome or campervan.
Remember Your Worst Night…?
Caravan and motorhome travel permits you to explore new places, leaving the luxury and familiarity of your routine at home far behind. Being outdoors is wonderful, but without a good night of sleep, your pleasant touring holiday could become a nightmare. You vividly remember the worst night of sleep you’ve had outdoors, right? Mine was on a frigid night, tossing and turning on a faulty air mattress, in a too cold sleeping bag. Not only did I fail to fall asleep, I was frightened due to the terrifying noise of a nearby fox. You will always remember your worst night of sleep, so the goal here is to create wonderful sleeping conditions so you remember all the great times on your holiday instead of horrible, sleepless nights.
A Stellar Sleep System
Treat yourself kindly and invest in a good mattress and high-quality bedding for your caravan or motorhome. If you plan to cut corners and do things a little more cheaply, this is one area where you shouldn’t scrimp. A great mattress, comfy pillows, and bedding will guarantee you’ll be excited about going to bed and that will facilitate quality sleep. Many of the motorhomes, touring caravans and campervans at Salop Leisure will be sleep-ready with an excellent mattress. If you really want to treat yourself, consider topping your mattress with a memory foam layer or a quilted mattress topper for an extra level of comfort and snuggle.
Making yourself a wonderful nest will help you be excited to jump into bed, which will only enhance the relaxation and rejuvenation you are probably seeking from a touring holiday. By finding great bedding you can also induce lush, restful sleep. If your sleeping situation is just as comfy (or comfier) than home, you’ll be sure to relish your time away.
Get outside and experience your new surroundings. By keeping your day action-packed, you give yourself the best chance of sleeping well. Take a hike or a walk, tour a castle or historic site, or simply go for a jog. By following your wanderlust you’ll naturally tire yourself (and the kids), capping off your day with blissful sleep.
Do’s and Don’ts for Drinking and Dining
In the early evening, it’s important to remember a few guidelines to achieve better sleep. It’s important not to overindulge in alcohol, though it may be temping. Not only will alcohol throw your sleep cycle out of whack, you’ll also become dehydrated, which is tough for your body as it adjusts to strange surroundings. Drinking too much will also inevitably lead to many bathroom breaks in the middle of the night, interrupting your sleep (and your partner’s). Disclaimer: While far fewer people are taking the risk of drink-driving above the legal limit at night, more are getting into their cars in the morning. Many without realising they could still be over the legal limit to drive.
Before bed, minimise your fluid intake and avoid caffeine. To avoid dehydration, drink often throughout the day and try drinking a small, warm, non-alcoholic beverage in the hour leading up to bedtime.
Be strategic about your meals and try to consume dinner well before bedtime. It’s also much easier to cook in the daylight, so there’s added motivation to cook a delicious campfire meal a few hours prior to bedtime. Keep in mind that a meal loaded in protein is also harder to digest, delaying the onset of sleep. Balance your meal and finish up with plenty of down time before the horizontal hour.
Touring and Camping holidays can be noisy business, especially in a crowded caravan park. If you’ve ever suffered from the maddening noise of snores, coughing, or noisy neighbors, you may be reluctant to head back out into nature. The solution is both easy and cheap. Grab several different pairs of earplugs from your local chemist or drugstore. Find a pair that comfortably fits and all the annoying “ambiance” will blissfully fade away. Parents may not want to use earplugs for fear they may miss the sound of their child in distress, so this is something to consider.
Another solution is a low dosage of melatonin by oral supplement. If you have trouble falling asleep, melatonin can be a great alternative to sleeping pills (always read the label and keep out of reach from children) If all else fails, try to adapt and learn to enjoy the novelty of your time with nature. Forging into the great outdoors provides an incredible opportunity to shift your perspective, unplug, and simply relax. Ignore the sounds of the night if you can’t enjoy them (advice I am still working hard to follow). One trick I’ve learned is to park near running water is possible, the white noise seems to help me relax and cover up the sound of critters. A positive attitude will make a world of difference in your experience, the joy of being outdoors should override any temporary inconveniences of the luxuries you’ve left behind.
Location, Location, Location
When you roll up to the caravan park, consider your sleeping style. If you know you’re a light sleeper who pops awake at the slightest sound of a stick crackling, try choosing a less frequented park or plan your trips during less busy seasons. Look for caravan parks that are located far from major roads and offer ample space between sites. Salop Leisure have some beautiful caravan parks in wales and in the heart of England to chose from Secure a site near the end of the line, farther from restrooms and the registration office to cut down on noise from fellow tourers and campers. As you pull into a park, assess your neighbors and avoid any site that looks like it could be subject to ground zero for party animals (the human kind, not actual animals).
If possible, try to determine the prevailing wind direction. Camping upwind of most sites will help you avoid sitting in someone else’s campfire smoke. Trying to fall asleep in a cloud of smoke is not fun (this I know from experience).
Though it’s common sense, it’s worth mentioning how important it is for you to park your caravan or motorhome in a flat spot. Avoid rocky areas or slopes, because if your bed isn’t level, your sleep will likely be uncomfortable.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Again, touring & camping in the shoulder or off-season can be a delight, thanks to the absence of fellow campers. Though colder, it’s peaceful and quiet. The drawback here is that the moment the sun drops you will be facing temperatures that plummet quickly. How can you combat the chill? Try throwing some hand warmers in the bottom of your bed, or boil water for a hot water bottle to banish cold and create a cozy environment. Before bed, take a short walk or exercise briefly to get your heart rate up. Don’t work so hard as to break out in a sweat, because this will cause chills. A quick lap around the caravan park or a few jumping jacks will help you settle in for the chilly night.
Arm yourself against cold with thermal underwear and a warm toque or cap. Make sure you’ve packed appropriate bedding for cold temperatures, this may require an extra comforter or perhaps a sleeping bag to drape across your bed.
Best Tricks & Tips
In addition to the information above, here are some small tricks and tips to help you score an awesome night of sound sleep.
- Try opening up vents or windows in your caravan or motorhome to help with air circulation and allow nature sounds to soothe you to sleep.
- Prepare for any midnight trips to the loo by placing shoes and a torch near the bedside thus avoiding the lights which will put you back in awake mode.
- In addition to your earplugs, pack an eyemask just in case.
- Repeat familiar routines to keep your internal clock on track. If brushing your teeth is the last thing you do before sleeping, keep your routine so as to preserve some sense of normalcy in your novel surroundings.
- Take time before bed to unwind and relax; this will prepare your body to rest. Listen to the quiet, enjoy the ambiance of the campfire, gaze at the stars, and simply relax.
- Try a few drops of essential oil on your pillowcase. I find lavender to be incredibly calming and relaxing. Lavender is also reported to reduce stress, so I highly recommend this for relaxing in your new surroundings.
- Bring an old comforter or blanket from home. This is especially useful for children, who may have a hard time adjusting to sleeping somewhere new.
- Nothing is worse than unhappy kids at night, so be sure to tucker them out with plenty of activities all day to keep them sleeping through the night. Check out our guide to keeping kids entertained on the road for ideas to keep them busy.
Armed with this knowledge you should be well prepared for a holiday filled with wonderful exploration and rejuvenating sleep. The benefit of a caravan or motorhome means you will most likely get much better sleep than camping in a tent or sleeping outdoors.
If you take care to manage your expectations and embrace the novelty of traveling to new places, we think you can enjoy a relaxing touring holiday. If you’ve got tips for a great night of sleep we’d love to read them in the comments below.