The fact we have bought a tent this year and started camping doesn’t surprise me. I spent most of my childhood holidays travelling around Europe in our touring caravan and have the best memories, so a big part of me knew we would start doing something similar as I wanted my girls to experience the same thing.
What has taken me by surprise is how we have already opted to take a ‘staycation’ for our main ‘vacation’ this year after only two camping trips under our belts! No planes, no guaranteed sunshine, just me, the hubby and our two kids, all in one tent for two weeks in the UK!
We had taken quite an extravagant holiday to Florida the year before and knew we would have to curve our holiday spending, but we knew we couldn’t ‘give up’ our holiday for a year. Both my husband and I crave to get away. We love to travel and want the girls to see and do so many things. But practically we can’t do it all! So we bought a tent! And it is the best decision we have made! It has opened up a whole new world and enabled us to get away more than once this year already.
It sounds crazy and to be honest when you mention that you are going camping with a 3 year old and 6 year old for two weeks you get a mixture of responses. A lot of the time it is followed with a ‘good luck’ response, as if we are unlucky to only go camping this year. What I have learnt after our very limited camping experience, is that we are the lucky ones. We have unlocked a secret society of amazing venues and options that would never have been available before!
So imagine the dream cottage getaway, nestled between serene country villages with acres of fields and woods to play in, an onsite shop and horse riding stables and beautiful stream for the kids to cool down in on a hot summer’s day, while being a short car journey to the beach. If this was a description for a cottage to rent it would be amazing right? It would definitely tick a lot of boxes for us as a family, but if you were to book something like this over the school holidays it comes with a ‘school holiday’ price tag! Something we personally cannot do every school half term.
Now imagine this was available, with an amazing price tag, but the difference is that you camp instead of renting a cottage! And this is what we did for the May half term holiday!
This was our second camping holiday since we bought our Vango Azura 600xl tent, from the Caravan Camping and Motorhome Show at the NEC earlier this year. It was our first ‘real’ trip away. We were further from home, it was for a full 7 nights. It was going to make or break our camping dreams!
The previous camping trip was a success, but it was April and it was very cold at night, so my main concern was surviving seven nights feeling that cold and managing to sleep. But it is amazing the difference a few months can make! The nights were warmer, we sat out longer and really felt like we were on a summer holiday!
We were camping in the Horner Valley with views of Dunkery Beacon which meant that on clear nights, the stars came out! It was incredible, and made our first night, which was also our wedding anniversary, all that more special. We hadn’t seen a sky so clear or so beautiful since we honeymooned in the Maldives! And then we spotted the International Space Station shoot past like a special shooting star! We know that if we had rented somewhere we would have been curled up indoors, more than likely watching a film and all of this would have been missed. This is the power of camping – and I love it! The following night we allowed our 6 year old to stay up and star gaze with us in our Inflatable Deluxe Flocked Chair! Something so simple but a memory I will always treasure.
I definitely went on this camping trip prepared for it to be tough! But I came home surprisingly chilled and feeling like we had a great holiday. The kids had room to run and play and burn off energy, which then resulted in relatively easy bed times as they had worn themselves out. That and the fresh air! We had BBQ’s most nights while the sun set and the horses grazed in the field behind our tent. I think we all embraced the down time from technology and just enjoying the simple pleasures.
We are now well into the school holidays, a time when everywhere is more expensive to go on holiday, abroad or at home! A time when I used to be quite anxious of the thought of the six weeks holidays having to entertain the kids. But this year is different, this year we are breaking it up with a two week camping trip by the sea! I am in the thick of packing as I write this, and as daunting as that is, I am so excited! We have 9 nights booked on a campsite overlooking the Falmouth Bay, 10 minutes from the beach and then a further 4 nights on Croyde Bay Beach!
Yes we are in a tent, but we are in two locations that would not have been an option if we weren’t camping. Choosing to camp opens up a new world. A world of amazing venues and locations that will make you want to seize the day and make the most of everything with your favourite people. And this is why we have decided to camp this year!
And what is even better that after this trip we hope to get one last weekend camping trip in before the weather turns and it really would be too cold! Four holidays in one year – now that is not bad is it?
Thanks for reading!
Claire Campion x