If you’ve never been on a family camping trip before, then it can feel a little overwhelming the first time to you do it. But really, with a little bit of time and planning, you can have the perfect family camping trip done and dusted. You might find that it’s the best way to have an awesome family holiday together as well!
There are so many good reasons to go on a camping trip, it lets you connect with the outdoor world, spend time with your family outside away from the TV. You can enjoy the woods, fields, forests, mountains, rivers and get away from the fast paced tech world that we are all so used to.
It’s the perfect opportunity to spend quality together, to learn about one another and enjoy your time together. It is suitable for all ages, and can be quite a frugal holiday if planned well. The key though is to making sure you spend a bit of time planning a family camping trip, otherwise you might find that you end up in a nightmare holiday.
I’m talking about kids complaining, soaked clothes and the desire to get home as soon as possible, not ideal really. But, I’m confident that this won’t be the case with these 6 tips that I’m about to share with you, to help ensure that you are able to have the perfect family camping trip – one that you will love and want to do again the next time!
Step 1: Pick Your Destination Carefully
Before you go on any camping trip with your family, then the most important step is picking your destination carefully. You can’t plan anything until you know exactly where you are going. When it’s just adults going on the trip it’s super easy to pick the location, but when kids are involved it can be a tougher decision.
You’ll want to look for campsites that have easy access toilets and showers to make things as comfortable as possible. If you’re after a more wild camping experience, then it might be better to leave this until your kids are a little bit older as they might find it a bit hard to enjoy themselves.
Whilst your kids are growing up and when they are still young, it’s best to look for family friendly campsites. If you’ve gone camping before then it’s a good idea to go with a campsite that you’ve been to before, just so that you are familiar with all the site and what it offers. This can make for an incredibly easy trip. For further tips check out these seven tips for camping with small children!
Remember you can always look up where you are going and get a really good idea of the place before you commit to anything. If you look on the websites of the campsites you are interested in, you will easily be able to find out all the information that you need.
Step 2: Choose Your Route Carefully
Once you know the destination, you can then determine how you will go about arriving at the place. How long will the journey take you? How will you be getting there? Once you know all of this, you will be able to plan how you entertain your kids on the journey and also will be able to plan any stops necessary.
Don’t be worried about spending a half hour letting your kids run off some steam at a park that’s on your route, you’ll find that this is a great way to keep them calm and quiet as you journey towards your family campsite. This is a great way to keep yourself sane and also have an easier journey as well.
Also if you know that you will be driving for a long time, then it’s a good idea to have stops planned as this is then the perfect time to stretch your legs and get a bit of fresh air on your journey, something which is particularly important if you are driving.
You can also find fun activities to do along the way and give your kids the options to choose which one they would like to do, this helps them feel more involved with the planning of the trip and get excited. If your kids feel involved and share what they would like to do you’ll be able to plan the perfect trip.
Step 3: Know What You Need to Pack
This will probably be the hardest thing for you to sort out when it comes to planning your family camping trip. Ensuring that you ahem everything you need is hard enough, but making sure that your kids have what they need is an added challenge. If your kids are old enough then. this is something that you don’t need to worry about.
If your kids are still young though, then you will need to make sure that you double check that they have everything that they will need. You can still involve them in the process though, make sure they have proper clothing, but allow them to be able to pick their options.
You can provide them with their own “special” packing list and this will help feel like they are getting involved – although you will probably want to get involved in the process anyway. Make sure you let them pick their favourite toy with them, particularly if they are going to a new place as this will help them feel more comfortable.
Step 4: Test Out Your Gear
Once you know what the camping essentials are that you will need to bring, it’s important that you make sure to test out the gear before you pack it. You can make this into a fun experience for the kids though, for example, before setting up the tent in the wild, you can set it up in the garden and let your kids have a sleepover in the comforts of their own gardens.
You’ll want to round up all your other gear as well (such as the sleeping bags and rain gear), and give your kids the “job” of testing it out before embarking on your trip. They’ll feel super important and keen to prove to you that they are good enough to do the job that you’ve asked of them.
There will be plenty of other gear that you will need to test out though, but it’s probably better that you test it out and not your kids. This includes:
- First-aid kit (make sure it is fully stocked and ready for use)
- Camping mattresses
- Camping stove and fuel
- Extra batteries
- Insect repellent
- And more
Step 5: Bring Plenty of Snacks and Food
Doesn’t matter how far you are going or for how long you are going, bringing plenty of snacks and food is something you’ll want to make sure you’ve stocked up on. Because really, what fun is a road trip of any distance without some snacks to go along with it?
Plus, your kids will jump at the chance to pick some of their favourite snacks to munch on in the car. Who doesn’t love munching on their favourite food when they get the chance? Snacks are fairly easy to sort out as well, so once you get the snacks all sorted you need to get the meals sorted out.
When it comes to planning your meals you want to make sure that you keep it simple and kid friendly. This is definitely the best option when it comes to your meal choices. If you don’t know what to get, then ask your kids what meals they would like to take with them on the camping trip. If you already know what their favourite meals are, see if you can make them kid friendly.
Prepping your food ahead of the trip is also a life saver when it comes to going on a camping trip. You can do things such as:
- Chop vegetables
- Make soup to simply be rewarmed at the campsite
- Pre-make pancake batter for breakfast
- Mix together meat marinades (just be sure to keep it separate from the meat until you’re ready to eat)
- Make lasagna or other filling meals that can be easily heated over a campfire
When it comes to planning your meals though, then you need to make sure that you plan the most important part – the desserts.
And what better dessert to have when you are on a camping trip? S’mores of course!
Step 6: Plan Your Activities
Once you know where you are going, how you will get there and how long you will be there for, you can start planning your activities. While you might find it a bit tedious planning so much before your camping trip, you will find that getting everything all planned out makes things super easy.
If you are bringing a dog with you, then you’ll also want to double check how dog friendly the area is – for example if you are going to Dorset, then it would be good to check out these things to do in Dorset with dogs first before you travel there – same for any location. Planning in advance will help you and your kids (and dogs) have a great time!
Of course, this is the perfect time to get your kids involved in planning the camping trip as well – all you need to ask them is “what do you want to do when we go camping?” If they don’t come up with any suggestions, then you can easily come up with a few yourself just by doing a bit of research beforehand.
You can look up what events are being planned when you go, you could even book some tickets in advance to make things even easier. Planning activities also involves bringing along with you some things from home that your kids can enjoy while camping, such as:
- Board games
- Scavenger hunts
- Stargazing kits
- Fishing gear
So there you have it! Six tips to help you plan the perfect family camping trip! These will definitely help make your trip run a lot more smoothly, and you’ll have an absolutely amazing time with your loved ones. You’ll get to connect with nature, see the world in a different light and be able to spend time with your family. The perfect holiday really!
Let me know in the comments if you have a tip that you’d love to be shared!