After 3 years of our annual camping trip with friends we’re seasoned campers now. Before we went on the annual trip I had camped before with a mix of success. From pretty disastrous guide camps to a snowy absolutely freezing February camping trip in Snowdonia. Plus a washout in Barmouth as a child and a much improved trip post-university with a couple of friends. My camping trips have been an experience, and thankfully now we’re adults and go with friends, the camping trips have been a lot more successful and relaxing.
The annual trip
Our annual camping trip is always with a group of friends and children. There’s usually about eight families and we’ve got it organised now. There are a couple of mums and kids we’d love to get joining us, but they won’t come because they don’t want to camp. I think it’s such a shame because their children would absolutely love it. Not just for the camping which they’ve never experiences. But also for the chance to be on holiday with a whole group of their friends.
Camping is a brilliant holiday for children. They learn to help out, get to meet new people or make better friends with those they’re with. Their freedom increases because it’s a safe environment and you’re on holiday, so everyone relaxes a bit more.
But if you’re going camping for the first time it can be nerve wracking for both children and adults. There’s a few things you can do to make it easier and to get rid of those nerves. While it does start off being a little difficult i t’s no different to going abroad and having other things to contend with.
The good thing about going camping is there’s always someone else on the campsite he’s more experienced than you and people are more than happy to help out. On our various camping holidays we’ve had people rescuing gazebos, lending tent pegs and helping hold tents in the wind as we’re trying to put them up.
How to reassure nervous campers
1, Practice setting up before you go
It’s a no-brainer really. But if you have no idea about putting up your tent it will cause you arguments and grief before you’ve even set up camp. That’s not the way you want a holiday to start.
2, Sleep out in a tent in the back garden
This one’s obvious too. Sleeping in a tent is different because you hear different sounds sleeping outside. Practicing in the garden means that you’re near enough to home to be able to use the toilets. And can go inside if your children are stressed out about it. It still gives you a good idea and some confidence about camping out. Plus the kids will love it.
3, Prepare and work out a plan
Before you go make life easier and plan out what you going to do for food and who’s going to do what jobs. It seems regimented when camping should be about relaxing and taking things easy. But camping is never as relaxing as you think it might be. Unless of course you buy takeaways from the on-site cafe or go out to eat everyday.
There’s always something to be thinking about and doing. But if you know what those things are, you just do them automatically. It’ll become more routine and you think less about them. Things to think about include food, sleeping arrangements, days out and packing.
4, Choose a campsite suitable for you
Don’t start off with wild camping for a first camping trip. Ease your way into it. That could mean glamping if you want to take the really easy way out. Or stick with electric hook-up, and campsites with every mod con that you might need to make life easier. Look for campsites with children’s entertainment or at least a playground and on site cafe and shop and great showers and toilets.
5, Go with friends who have camped before
Sharing the load and the worry really does help. Our first year camping I think I was the only one who had actually camped before on a proper trip. We had no idea about how we were going to cope with bad weather. But we all mucked on the rainy and windy days. With British spirit we knew we could get through anything (with Prosecco), and look back on that first camping trip with pride that we got through it without injuries or tents falling down.
6, Talk to children about what to expect
Hopefully camping outside in the garden will help ease children into it. And they’ll be more excited than worried. But let them know about the safety things that will be in place. For example, no one can get in and out of the campsite out of hours as there’s a curfew, and the rest of the time they need the code. Let them know that they have to tell you where they’re going and when, and vice versa. Make sure they’re happy about you going to get water or going to the toilet block without them, before you go.
You’ll probably find that once a nervous child goes camping they will be fine, But it’s good to manage their expectations, and try and allay any worries before you go.
7, Just do it
What’s the worst that can happen?
A tent falls down
Someone gets hurt
You lose something.
If you’re really not enjoying it you can always strike camp, and either go home or find a cottage or hotel to stay in for the remainder of the holiday.
For the benefits of a camping holiday it’s worth stepping outside of your comfort zone just to try it once even just for a weekend. My main advice would just be give yourself a break and don’t make it harder on yourself by going wild and trying to do everything all the time. Try the easy version of camping first and then work up to wild camping.
What was your first camping trip like? What are your concerns about going camping for the first time?
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