At a time when we’re all looking for ways to make our money go further, family camping holidays are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, Brits made more than 14.94 million camping trips in 2016 according to Visit Britain, and that number is only set to rise this year. And, it’s not just the affordability of camping holidays that UK families are drawn to: they can also be a lot of fun and offer the perfect opportunity for you and you kids to spend more time exploring the great outdoors.
But, there’s no denying that camping with kids can be slightly more complicated than holidaying with your partner or friends. There are extra things you need to consider when it comes to where you can pitch your tent, what you should pack, and how you’re going to fit everything in your car. Here, we’re going to share our top tips for preparing for a camping holiday with your children. Read on to find out more.
Practice family camping at home first
If you’ve never taken your kids camping, spending a few nights sleeping in a tent could be a shock to the system. But, you can make the transition much easier for them by practicing camping in your garden before you leave for your trip. Set up a tent that they can spend time and play around in. Then, if you feel comfortable and know that it’s safe, you could even set up camp and sleep in it a couple of times as a family. This will help them to get used to staying out somewhere new in a sleeping bag and tent so, when you get to your campsite, you’ll be far less likely to encounter any tantrums.
2. Be enthusiastic to get your kids excited
With all of the planning and preparation that will go into making your camping trip happen, you’ll want your kids to be excited about their upcoming holiday. However, if they’ve never stayed on a campsite before, you might have to give them some encouragement.
They best way to get them excited is by telling them about all of the fun things you’re going to get up to while you’re away, and all of the wildlife you might see when you’re exploring. It’s supposed to be an adventure for you all, so make sure you get that across. Just try to avoid overpromising — for example, you don’t want to tell them you’ll be going to a pool or petting zoo if you don’t know that for sure.
3. Look for a campsite that’s perfect for families with children
When you’re travelling with children, you need to think much more carefully about your destination. When you’ve camped in the past, you might have been happy to stay in an empty field with little to no amenities, but you’re going to need more than that to survive a trip with your little ones. Plus, there are campsites that aren’t family-friendly, and some don’t allow kids at all. As a result, it’s incredibly important that you do your research, rather than just heading to a site without knowing much about it.
When you’re camping with your children, it’s best to stay on a site that either has a programme of activities you family can enjoy, or that has exciting attractions nearby. This way, there’ll be much less pressure on you to keep your kids entertained the entire time you’re away.
If you’re not sure which UK campsites are going to suit you, Away with the Kids has a list of family camping destinations that should give you some ideas. The sites they recommend are scattered across the UK, from Devon to the Lake District, so you should have no trouble finding one that fits in with your existing plans.
4. Ensure you have all of the necessary equipment
If you enjoyed camping before you had your children, you might be used to travelling with little more than a sleeping bag and tent. But, this minimalist approach to packing won’t cut it when you have your little ones in tow.
You’ll need a tent that’s going to sleep your entire family — a good guide is to choose on that can accommodate one extra person than you need it to. So, if you’re a family of four, a five-person tent will be ideal. Depending on how old your kids are, you can decide whether you would prefer one with compartments to give them some privacy.
If this your first family trip and you need to buy all of the necessary supplies before your trip, Blacks offers everything you could possibly require. Their selection of tents and camping equipment includes everything from inflatable mattresses to cooking equipment to lanterns, making it a one-stop shop.
5. Make sure you can transport everything
As we’ve already covered, you’re going to need a lot of supplies to ensure both you and your kids have a happy and comfortable time away. Of course, you’re going to need to keep most of your car’s seats free for your family to sit in, which means you’ll have to rely on your boot when you’re looking to transport everything. However, you might struggle if the boot of your car is quite small, so you might want to look for an alternative way to transport your equipment.
Roof boxes offer an affordable option if you only need a small amount of extra storage. But, if you’re hoping to make family camping trips a regular thing and never want to worry about having the space for all of your essentials, a camping trailer could make a great investment.
ERDE offers a wide range of classic box trailers, which are perfect for this. They come in a selection of sizes and are available at different price points, so you should have no trouble finding one that suits your needs and budget.
Camping with your kids is a lot of fun, but it also takes a lot of planning and preparation. Taking these tips on board will ensure you choose a suitable destination, have all of the essentials, and don’t get too stressed when packing the car. Then, you’ll be free to spend a lovely time away with your family.