Camping is fun. It's also an economical way to take the family on trips without the high cost of hotels and eating out. But let's face it. Camping isn't for everyone. If you're thinking about getting into camping, for any of these reasons, here are a few tips to get you started and test the waters without spending a fortune.
Tip 1 - Don't buy - borrow
When you first start, you need a list of camping gear a mile long. Some of the items on the list are quite expensive. If you know without any doubt that you and your family absolutely love camping, it's fine to go out and buy all new stuff.
But...before you plunk down your hard-earned cash, it's wise to borrow major items like camping tents, sleeping bags, and camp stoves.
Most of the other camping gear you probably have on hand. Pack up your chairs, old dishes, extra blankets and the kid's bikes and you'll be good to go.
Tip 2 - Take a test drive
Camping really is fun, but when you're dealing with an entire family loaded with different personalities, it can be tricky. You and your daughter may thrive on being outdoors and experiencing getting back to nature, waking up to fresh, clean, crisp air, observing the wildlife, and the smell of campfire smoke.
Your wife and son however may not be able to survive without the air-conditioning and sleeping in their own beds. The answer?
Take camping on a few test drives. Just as you try several cars before buying to find one that feels just right, the same goes with camping trips. Try to camp where everyone's needs are met with activities everyone enjoys.
Tip 3 - Group camping
Everything seems to be more fun with friends around. Try camping with other families you enjoy spending time with. Coordinate meals and share camping equipment. This not only helps you save money but also makes the trip more fun for everybody.
Tip 4 - Plan ahead
Save money when camping by planning ahead. For instance, gas is cheaper in the city. Fill up before you leave town so you aren't at the mercy of the small country gas station on the edge of nowhere.
Firewood is another item you save on if you think ahead. If you live near a wooded area, collect your own wood before you leave. If not, buy wood at a local store. Waiting to buy firewood when you get to the campground spells disaster.
Firewood at campgrounds is expensive and you know the kids are going to want a fire each and every night.
Save money by planning activities. If you don't go camping with plenty of things for the kids to do, they'll get bored and want to go to area attractions. Keep the kids busy with bikes, hiking, swimming, and games. Be sure and pack a few board games in case it rains. Bring balls, gloves, chalk, and skateboards.
Plan your meals making sure you have everything you need. Discovering you left basic items at home means you have to make an expensive trip to the camp store. Avoid this if at all possible.
Fun for everyone
Camping is a great way for your family to spend quality time together. It's a time to relax, talk, and play together. By following these tips, you can have family fun and save money at the same time.