When someone suggests a camping holiday to you, what runs through your mind?
Is it the image of you crawling out of a teeny tiny tent each morning in an unceremonious way in order to make the crack of dawn dash to the communal bathrooms that just happens to be at the other end of the campsite?
Perhaps it’s the image of a large spider dangling down from the rafters just above your head as you take a lukewarm shower whilst trying not to think about how many other people have used it since it was first cleaned this morning.
Or maybe, you are one of those individuals, like us, that can’t wait for the first days of spring to arrive. Why? Well early spring tends to be when the campsites open their gates to the first campers of the season.
Campsite owners across Europe will shortly be waving those hardy individuals through their barriers, praying all-the-while that this season will be a good one weather wise.
Now, I understand that there are some very stereotypical views when it comes to camping, and who knows, us campers out there probably do not help with this image, but what isn’t always so obvious is why we all pack that little bundle of canvas and poles into the back of our car each year and head off into a field for a night or more.
The Benefits of Camping
#1 Fresh Air
I don’t care what anyone says, in order to really experience fresh air you need to get away from it all. Hearing cars going racing past every two seconds, horns blaring, and security alarms attached to the building next door going off plus copious high-rise buildings being seen in the background can only mean that there is definitely a lack of fresh air.
Most campsites are situated away from everything. They can often be found down little dirt tracks, or are attached to a working farm, nestled into the side of a mountain or have wonderful sea views.
The idea is that you get away from it all and relax surrounded by fresh air –now who honestly wouldn’t want to spend time breathing that in.
#2 Get Away From the Pressures of Work and Life
In this day and age I know it frustrates some people, but campsites are still very slow on the uptake of wifi connections and phone signals. Not great if you are a teenager addicted to facebook granted, but to know that regardless whether or not someone tries to phone you, they won’t be able to disturb your weekend away for me is complete and utter bliss.
Going into a hotel often means that wifi is available but it also means that the allure of work is always within touching distance. When camping however, on the majority of campsite, internet signal is weak meaning that the desire to check emails soon wears off and you can get on with enjoying your holiday.
#3 Space to Make Friends
Even the most aloof of individuals will struggle not to smile and say hello on a campsite. Perhaps it is the morning walk to the shop to pick up the fresh bread and milk that causes everyone to feel slightly more affable or maybe it is because everyone has actually forgotten about the pressures of work and home life and have started to unwind and enjoy themselves – who knows?
Camping entices people to socialise – to have a glass of wine together in the evenings, to strike up friendships strong enough to take the burnt sausages that will no doubt be flying off the BBQ on a warm summers evening.
Children have the freedom to play without fear of being knocked over or told off. It does of course mean that they have to get use to not being attached to the latest computer game all day, but once that hurdle is jumped games like badminton, rounders and cricket start to sprout up everywhere. Games that they would never have dreamt of playing back home when technology will once again take over.
#4 Exploring the Great Outdoors
Mention going for a walk at home and everyone in your household will give you a look that says ‘have you gone mad?’ Spend a few days outside however and before you know it you will have the whole family hiking up the neighbouring mountain, going on a family bike ride to the local village for a pub lunch or sauntering through fields, leisurely taking in your local surroundings.
It seems that, regardless of our lifestyle at home, camping brings out the great adventurer in all of us.
#5 Discover Wildlife and Enjoy Nature
Hands up if you have ever picked wild berries. As youngsters my siblings and I would often be caught picking the blackberries that grew randomly at the back of our parent’s garden. It meant that when we did head off on one of our many camping trips we loved to go foraging for tasty treats whenever we went wandering. Of course, you had to know what was safe and what would give you a funny tummy but after a few lessons from our dad we were well on our way and felt like little explorers.
That’s the great thing about campsites and their location. On the whole many of them have places to wander where you can enjoy nature and potentially see a bit of wildlife every now and again.
#6 Fun Family Time
This for me is probably the best reason to go camping.
When you are able to switch off from the modern day world, you actually start to enjoy the company of your family again. When I think back, every camping trip I have ever been on with my family has resulted in a lot of laughter and enjoyment. Of course, the competitive edge of a family will always come out – for us it was normally over a game of cards or scrabble – but it was also a time where we would do things together as a family that we seldom did back home.
If I had challenged my father to a game of badminton at home he would have flatly refused and yet, with each camping trip the badminton set was packed once again, in order for us two to continue our tournament (of course, there was never a winner because neither of us would accept defeat!).
Camping is ultimately a place where fantastic memories can be made as a family.
However, I understand not everyone wants to stay in a tent. Or perhaps, they like the idea of a tent but hate the thought of pitching one for themselves and then spending two weeks on hard ground with just a thin roll mat for comfort each night.
Don’t let this put you off the idea of camping though. Especially not now, when there are so many companies out there that take the pain of all of that away for you. No longer do you have to embarrass yourself by attempting to put up the family tent on your own or struggle to keep the butter cold in searing hot weather with just a battery operated cooler box to help you.
With growing popularity camping and glamping have come into a world of their own and it’s thanks to companies like Eurocamp that these types of holidays have become so popular. Whether you would prefer to sleep each evening under canvas or in the luxurious surroundings of a mobile home, some of which now come complete with dish washers, coffee machines and blue tooth speakers, the option is yours; everyone is catered for, meaning that there is no reason not to try camping this summer for yourselves.
Have you ever tried camping? Would you recommend this type of holiday to others?