Do you deserve a holiday, but feel you can’t afford it? I share top tips for successful camping-possibly the cheapest type of holiday in the UK. Budget breaks ARE possible!
So here they are…
- Check exactly what you’re getting before you book. How big is the pitch? Where and what are the facilities like? Is there a shower? Where’s the tap for water? Are there any additional rules? Is there anything nearby that might mean a restless night’s sleep (like a pub doing karaoke?) Is the shop nearby, and when is it open? What are the rules regarding dogs? Is there anyone you can contact if you have issues whilst on site?
- Choose your party carefully. If you’re going with people who like mod-cons, hate rain or being social, snores loudly, can’t live without a full length mirror and no signal, or gives up easily when faced with a challenge, you might want to reconsider. Camping somewhere new is always a learning curve. Whilst your fellow campers will no doubt help you out, they won’t appreciate a difficult neighbour, and nor will you.
- Do budget for food. Basically, don’t eat out all the time! This might sound obvious, but so many spend a FORTUNE of food they could have bought and cooked themselves. I realise in a tent, cooking is quite restrictive, but just like you’d do at home, search out the local superstores BEFORE you go, if possible. An Aldi, Lidl, or Morrisons are always great.
- Check if you can get petrol at local supermarkets, and the current price, rather than a branded chain. Having come to rural Devon, there are not many large local supermarkets close to us, and petrol is higher (currently £1.32 p/l onwards, compared to about £1.23 p/l in the Midlands, or £1.28 p/l in North Wales currently).
- If you do eat out, try fish & chips, a local, independent cafe, or a Weatherspoons!
- Food shop on the way back from somewhere (avoid spending extra petrol, and stop cool things getting hot), in the evening. Most supermarkets reduce bread etc, at night, so it’s just like shopping at home. Also, just cos you’re on holiday, not everyone else is, so avoid school/work rush-hour!
- Dry and canned goods like pasta, and cereal bars, are cheap, flexible, and can last two of you about a week. They’re also not bulky, and don’t need to keep cool-handy if you’re in a tent.
- Buy cheap bread, paste or cheese and make sandwiches every day. When you feel hunger rising, you’ll be fully prepared, even if you’re on a boat trip, and won’t have to spend time trekking round somewhere you don’t know, looking for a decent well-priced meal.
- Remember to take sarnies with you for when you first arrive-most people forget they’ll be hungry, and have no food on them. Taking some basics really won’t hurt.
- Top up on petrol before you go-motorway petrol is expensive!
- Try the tent first, and pack extra tent pegs. You don’t want to end up in a field with a broken tent in the rain (or one that’s not waterproof). Also check sleeping bags, ground mats, coats, over-trousers & shoes for damage & waterproofing. Nicwax everything-nothing worse than being soaked through.
- Always check the forecast for the week before you go. It might change, but at least you’ll be pre-warned if you’re going to have a week full of showers!
- If you intend to use your phone to connect to the internet (for example, to check the weather, or watch TV, make sure you have enough data, and also that you’ll get signal. This is easy to find online. Just type in ‘check mobile data coverage’ into Google, and lots will come up, even from places like which.com, and Ofcom, if you’re own provider doesn’t have a coverage map on their website. If you think signal might not be great, check to see if there is a local library, and if you can use the internet facilities there. Don’t forget to check when it opens!
- Do activities on the cheap-going to the beach, swimming in the sea, walking, sight-seeing, and visiting museums are usually free. Crabbing, seeing local festivals, fete’s and markets, petting farms, and playing sports at a leisure centre are usually fairly cheap, whereas boat trips, cinemas, and places with paid admission can soon drain your budget.
- For paid places, use a National Trust card (£34.50 per year for 18- 25’s, or £69 per year for adults (2018 prices). It might seem alot, but when I tell you that at Bodnant Garden, North Wales, where I work, is £13.20 per adult (2018 prices), with the most expensive place I been to being Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, at £19.80 per adult, it soon works out. Take sarnies-NT places are NOT cheap!
- Definitely take a torch (and extra batteries), water container, tissues, first aid kit, shoes you can slip on & run to the loo in, wet-wipes, plastic cutlery & crockery, and a camping cooker with gas (or check if you can get some there.) If you need extra help, my best advice would be to check a forum, or speak to staff at an outdoor store about what you need. Don’t forget a rope & pegs for a make-shift drying line.
- Pilfer local tourist info centres, or pick the brains of anyone who might have local knowledge-they’re a hive on what’s cheapest/best for budget. Also, there’s usually at least one leaflet with discount vouchers! You can also find them online (people use Ebay to sell unwanted Alton Tower’s tickets, for example), or you can get discounts from cereal packets, or bank/vehicle recovery deals (eg: The AA offer discounts on lots of things for Gold Members)
- If you are on a static caravan site, it’s most likely there will be FREE entertainment, swimming pool, demonstrations, or cheap activities-so check it out!
- Always check reviews, prices & opening times for days out nearby in advance, if you can. You don’t want a miserable holiday!
P.S If camping, holidaying, or travel-blogging is your passion, or you’re interested in finding out what is, why not sign up for our free videos to show you what life can be like when you turn what you love into your day job!
Comment, connect & sign up for great, free weekly updates below! Share & connect at Pipwheatley.com on Youtube.