Camping is really fun. Sure you have the beasts, the hassle of setting up a tent and you always have to walk a bit to the toilet, but there is a lot of freedom and it is relatively cheap. Are you going to camp this year (for the first time)? I give you some practical tips for first-time campers to ensure that you are guaranteed to have a top time.
I used to go out with a tent for three weeks every summer with my parents and brother. When I was old enough to go on holiday myself, I swore it a bit (because: I was rebellious and wanted more luxury), but since a few years, I have really rediscovered it. But you have to hang the garlands yourself because it can also be very disappointing if you do certain things or do not do it. Hopefully, your first camping adventure will be so unforgettable!
1. Check Camping Navigator
Then you can download via their website or through their app (iOS / Android). Camping Navigator has checked almost 8,000 campsites in Europe and made it transparent. From large all-in-one places to small campsites that are simpler than simple. Ideal, because this summer we came up with campsites that we would never have found otherwise, but were real gems.
2. Buy a pond bucket
I do not make a joke! Totally not sexy, but if you have to go to the toilet at least once at night, you are very grateful if you do not have to leave the tent at night.
3. Be on time
Are you going on vacation? Make sure you are always on time at a campsite. I have almost never heard that there is no room left except in tourist France or on Lake Garda. In the worst case you have to continue driving, but because the day is not over, that is not a disaster.
4. Book for longer periods
In many countries, you do not really have to reserve on a campsite, but if you plan to stay somewhere longer (more than four nights) I would recommend it. Then it is especially nice if you have at least a swimming pool, lake or beach in the area to cool off occasionally.
5. Buy a lock
Quite logical: so that you can lock your bag. A campsite is often very safe, but there only needs to be a fool who has nefarious plans. A tent is quickly zipped open!
6. Keep an eye on the sun
For your skin, but also for your comfort. Take a good look at where the sun is coming up and try to score a spot where the shadow is in the morning. Otherwise, you’ll be out of your tent at 6 o’clock, and nobody wants that on his vacation.
7. Take food from home
You do not have to load your entire car with food you know because the Lidl in Germany or Italy will probably also sell your trusted Nutella. But make sure you have enough with you to get through the first day: on the road, but so you do not have to search for a supermarket or restaurant the first night. You can, of course, go for a bag of soup, or a pot of peas, but nowadays there is much more handy to take with you.
8. Provide a good air mattress
Perhaps the most important tip I can give you, because nothing is as discomforting as waking up in the middle of the night on a hard surface. Believe me; your bags will thank you!
9. Do not take a sleeping case with you
But instead your quilt, that sleeps seriously so much better! You can bring a sleeping bag, but use it as an extra layer between you and your air mattress. Should the latter still leak, then you just slightly softer, and an air mattress is then anyway tastier.
10. Pack an extra set of slippers
Because the shower cubicles on the campsite will never, but never, be as clean as at your home.
11. Keep your things cool
If the sun shines a little bit, it can become hot in a tent. Make sure that the items that may not be hot (your pill or eyeglass solution for example) remain as cool as possible. Put them in a cool box or put them between several layers of clothes so that the heat does not come.
12. Borrow stuff
When you go camping for the first time: try to borrow (or rent) as much as possible. It’s a shame if you buy a whole new set of equipment and you do not find it a blow.
Practice setting up your tent before you leave. For example, I once spent hours in the dark messing around with a friend because we both did not know how to do it. Eventually, we ended up in a hotel the first night and tried again the next day (with success, by the way). Sin of money and stress (good for a good anecdote on return)!
14. Know what to take with you
Think carefully about what you will need during your trip: things like a dishwashing machine, dishcloth, towels and cooking utensils, for example. Most of it you have already in the house, sins to have to buy again on the spot.
15. Provide entertainment
I can guarantee that you have at least once rain when you go camping. Maybe not if you are in the far reaches of France or in Spain, but otherwise: you can count on it. Take something with you that you can keep a few hours sweet: a tablet or laptop with some movies or a series, or take board games (you also have a lot in travel variants).
16. Buy an eye mask and good earplugs
I want to emphasize these two things very much because if you are a light sleeper you are grateful if you have them with you. No more problems with early morning light, thunderstorms or active children while you still want to play.
17. Go outside the high season
Camping prices can differ very much, but also per season! If you are just before or just after the high season, you have both the nice weather and you are also a lot cheaper. Plus: much less chance that a campsite is full and many fewer families with small children who are already wide awake in the morning.
I have provided 17 tips for the first-time campers. Hope you have a fun camping trip. You can find the information on the camping tent here.