Happy campers... It's a term we use all the time, but how can you prepare for a holiday that really is going to turn you into one? We share some hot tips on getting the most out of your caravanning or camping adventure.
1. Don’t plan (almost) anything!
One of the great things about caravanning in particular is you can virtually go anywhere. You basically have a mobile home and if one place doesn’t suit you, you can pack up and move straight to the next. Going on a holiday with no fixed destination or plan is sure to produce a great adventure. This offers you freedom, flexibility and a relaxed environment. You’ll soon stop checking the clock and simply enjoy the views and the serenity.
This also takes some of the usual stresses out of your holiday; like arriving for your flight on time, pre-booking your accommodation only to discover on arrival that it falls well below expectations. When you plan very little and the holiday comes to an end, you can simply head back home, regardless of how far you have managed to get. So now we've said that, we'll qualify ourselves just a little on this next point...!
2. Except planning for the kids
OK so we did just say plan (almost) nothing - unless you have children! Due to school holidays, families will often find themselves holidaying at the same time as other families. Caravanning or camping is a great way to enjoy a more affordable holiday, just remember to book if you're holidaying in peak season. And if you plan for some fun games and entertainment then you will ensure the kids are well occupied. Most camping spots will cater for kids or provide enough space for them to amuse themselves: so why not get a group of your kids' friends together and go to the same camp site? The kids will amuse each other, leaving the parents to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Get the best ideas for camping with kids from Outdoria friend Cristie - she is full of great suggestions!
3. How long have you got?
Your destination may very well depend on the time you have to holiday. Obviously if you have no set time for return, the first option we listed is for you…Just go and explore. For others with set times, you want to cater your holiday to your needs. Do you enjoy the beach? The mountains? The heat? Is having a great coffee shop close by a necessity?
Depending on where your passion lies, your trip should be centred on that. If you live down south and want to escape the cold, then head north. If you live on flat lands but enjoy skiing and boarding then head up to the mountains.
Be really clear as to the things you most want to do on your limited time off and make sure your destination meets those needs. We agree it sounds like an obvious one, but if it's been a while between breaks and you're feeling stressed, sometimes it can be a case of not seeing the woods for the trees!
4. Try something different
You love the heat because it means swimming in the beach - what about trying some stand up paddling this time around? You always head to the mountains when you want some time out because it gives you a chance to hike. What about mixing things up a bit and hiring a mountain bike for a mini riding adventure? Or - even more adventurous - ignore our previous advice and go somewhere totally different! The freedom that comes with caravanning and camping encourages you to explore and see things you wouldn’t normally see. Make the most of having a mobile home and don’t limit yourself to the status quo.
5. Don’t be an expert if you’re not
Camping can be all about adventure, but depending on where you go, you may be quite isolated and far from any assistance. Keep this in mind if this is your first or second trip. Don’t wander too far off the beaten track and don’t go beyond your abilities. As much fun as it is to watch Bear Grylls, we’d much rather not test our survival skills. To ensure your safety take a phone, GPS, radio and let people know where you are going, or where you are planning to go along the way. The most important thing above all else is that you return safely.
6. Listen to others
Talk to other travellers and exchange information. A common and popular activity among experienced caravanners is ‘Happy Hour’ where people will pull out the chairs and sit around together and have a good chat. Embrace this aspect and get involved. Ask about their adventures, the things they have seen, places to go, where the best fishing spot is? They will almost certainly point you in the direction of your next holiday.
7. Do you just need to relax?
We all lead such busy lives nowadays. One of the best things we can do for our sanity and well-being is simply unplug from work and social life and get back to nature. Source a location that is quiet and secluded, and just spend time without your phone or TV or laptop. Look up at the stars at night, read a book, go for a long walk with nothing to see and no set route. You will soon find time slows down and any anxiety you were harbouring will wash away. It is amazing how peaceful it can be once you remove yourself from the frenetic pace of your daily life. Things get quieter, smells are fresher; life feels good when you've got time to stop and smell the flowers.
For those who are planning a trip, hopefully these tips have been helpful. For the lucky ones out there with no set destination or time restraints, enjoy your adventure!