The daily grind is getting you down, and another weekend at home seems like little respite. You’d take a vacation, but your bank balance won’t stretch to a hotel. And so you begin to consider something you thought you never would: a camping trip. While the thought of inclement weather, too many baked beans, and things that go bump in the night can be scary, this guide will help you overcome those first time jitters and enjoy your debut camping trip.
Packing is your first obstacle, as it’s a little different for a camping trip. Without a stocked hotel to rely on, campers need to bring their own bedding, basic kitchen equipment, a cooler stocked with food and drink, lighting, and entertainment. Making a list a few days before is a great way to ensure everything you require ends up in your car.
It’s a common misconception that all campgrounds are created equally. So it’s important to research your destination to ensure it offers the creature comforts you need. Beginner campers can feel out of their element without public restrooms or powered sites. Of course once you get the hang of the great outdoors, there’s something to be said for going back to basics! Ask your friends for their favorite camping spots, or chat to your local scout troop or camping store staff.
Once you’ve settled on your destination you’re ready to reserve your campground. In the digital age you can book in to a campground online, just as you would a hotel or resort. User-friendly websites like ReserveAmerica and KOA Kampgrounds make the process simple. Just make sure you read the cancellation policies before you commit, as they can vary from park to park.
On arrival at the campground, it’s time for the novice camper to become bewildered once again. Setting up camp can be daunting, but it needn’t be if you consider a few simple points. Smooth, dry ground is best for pitching a tent. No one wants to sleep on soggy, uneven land! Think about your conditions and the surroundings too. If it’s cold you’ll want to find somewhere sheltered, but if it’s warm you might sniff out a cooling coastal breeze. And if you can find a spot with ocean views or the clear night sky above, so much the better. Five-star hotels often don’t enjoy such amazing outlooks!
When you’re camping the great outdoors is your playground. Make sure you explore the local area’s hiking trails and go swimming in its waterways. Fishing is another great way to spend some time. If you’re lucky you might even hook your dinner! Once the sun goes down make sure you rediscover simple pleasures like sharing ghost stories, playing card games, and putting on a shadow puppet play.
After a day’s activity your tummy’s probably rumbling. Gone are the days where camping means basic meals of canned slop. You can take a small camp stove or dutch oven and cook up most things you’d serve at home. If you don’t have that equipment, try wrapping meats, seafood, and potatoes in heavy duty aluminum foil and roast them over hot campfire coals. Food steams inside the foil parcels as they cook, which makes for mouth-wateringly tender meals. And don’t forget roasting marshmallows over the fire for dessert!
A camping trip isn’t just a cost-effective vacation. It forces modern families to leave technology behind and reconnect with the world around them and each other. It’s also a much more eco-friendly style of travel than your usual getaway. And after spending so much time in the great outdoors, you’ll probably feel a bit more protective of the world around you! These benefits to your personal relationships and the planet may even be greater rewards than the dollars you’ll save!