In my post about Catching the Travel Bug, I wrote a bit about my relationship with camping. I love camping for it’s own sake, and I also love being able to incorporate it into other trips. Our trip to Nova Scotia included camping and, whenever we get to take our trip to Newfoundland, it will include a form of camping as well.
We include camping not only because we enjoy it, but also because it can help to bring down accommodation costs. Of course, the accommodation savings probably won’t draw you if you dislike camping, but there may be different types of camping, or camping type accommodations that you can consider.
Incorporating camping into a trip creates an experience different than you get staying in hotel type accommodations. And, though I would encourage everyone to consider it, I know that camping on trips is not going to be for everyone. For those of you who are interested in working camping into your trips, here are some of my thoughts on the benefits of camping as part of travel and some general things to consider when you’re planning this type of trip.
5 Benefits of Camping while Travelling
1. Reduced Accommodation Costs
It costs less to camp than it does to stay in a hotel. Especially if you’re staying in a tent. There are more up front costs, that can vary depending on your budget, and how you want to spend, but the per night cost is lower to camp. In some cases camping can significantly lower your accommodation costs on a trip. Even if you choose to stay in a park accommodation or cabin, which cost more than a typical site, they still generally cost less than a hotel type room.
For many of our trips, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in particular, we plan a mix of accommodations. Sometimes we stay in hotels, but the option to camp at least some of the time does wonders for a budget. I wish we were going to be able to take our camping gear with us to Newfoundland!
2. Reduced Food Costs
This benefit depends a lot on what gear you own, but when you can prepare some of your own means you can significantly reduce your food costs. This is something you can sometimes do when staying in hotels type accomodations, but it’s more difficult to find hotels with meal preparation capabilities. Especially if you want more than microwaveable dishes. We love to plan fun places to eat into our trips. Eating out at new places is part of the fun of travel for us. But we try to lower our food budget by only eating out for some meals. You can reduce your budget significantly if you grab food at a grocery store for a few meals and prepare it yourself.
3. Increased Social Distancing
This isn’t something I would have included in this list before this year, even though I’ve always appreciated the way camping can let you retreat a bit from being around too many people. But this year, social distancing has become something to consider in trip planning. Not only are you able to keep distance from others on your own campsite, when you’re camping, most of the things you touch are only being touched by you and your family. You also know exactly when things were last cleaned.
Depending on whether you camp in a tent or trailer, and what type of trailer you have, you can increase your social distancing even more. Camping also has the added bonus of being outdoors (I know, I know, shocker). And being outdoors brings it’s own benefits along with reducing potential spread of illnesses.
4. A Variety of Accommodation Types
So, you hate sleeping a tent or don’t want to spend the money on equipment for something you’ll only do occasionally? That doesn’t mean that camping is off the table for you if you are wanting to try it out, or dip your toes in. There are many different types of camping accommodations available in many parks across Canada. And I believe that is the case in other areas as well, though I haven’t done much research into this.
Some parks have Yurts or oTentiks (exclusive to Canadian national parks), which are a cross between tents and cabins. Some camp grounds offer small trailers or cabins that you can stay in. These types of accommodations are more expensive than regular campsites, but they are often still less expensive than hotels, and they bring all the other benefits of camping. There are even places where, for an extra cost, you can rent camping equipment. This is especially good if you’re testing out camping and not sure you want to commit.
5. The Experience Itself
In my opinion, camping is its own benefit. There is something special about waking up while camping and enjoying a coffee while fully immersed in the beauty of the park or campground. You also can’t enjoy a campfire in a hotel. I know that not everyone will agree with me, and many just don’t enjoy the experience of camping, but I think it’s definitely something to try at least once. And that doesn’t mean you need to sleep in a tent.
I have also found that staying at a park allows you the opportunity to explore it more, or in a different way. You may be able to spend more time exploring the park if you’re not needing to leave to get to your accommodations. I love adding camping into my travels, it has always added something to the experience for us.
5 Considerations when Adding Camping into your Trips
1. What type of trip are you planning
Though I would like to say that camping can or should be worked into any trip, that’s not actually the case. Some trips aren’t ideal to add camping into. Obviously, camping doesn’t go fit into a resort based tropical vacation – but there are also other trips where it doesn’t work, or at least doesn’t work as well.
If your trip is going to be focused on big cities, camping may not be the best fit. You can make it work by staying on the outskirts of town and driving in, but there are times when staying within the city brings it’s own advantages, which make it more than worth it to spend a bit more to stay in a hotel type accommodation.
2. How are you travelling?
Depending on how you’re travelling on your trip, or travelling to get there, camping may be more or less feasible. When we drove out to Nova Scotia, we were able to plan for tent camping because we had the space to pack all our necessary camping gear. Road trips lend themselves well to camping for this very reason.
Because we are flying into Newfoundland, and then renting a car, our camping options are more limited. We aren’t taking our camping gear with us on the flight. Though it is theoretically possible, it was not something we wanted to do. We are still planning park accommodation type camping, however, which requires much less equipment. The feasibility of camping with your travel method is an important consideration.
3. Are you camping the whole trip?
The type of trip you’re taking, and how often you will be moving from one place to another, will help you decide how much of your trip can be camping. Sometimes it makes sense to spend the night in a hotel type accommodation. Maybe you are just stopping to sleep after a long day of driving or travelling, and setting up camp, especially with a tent, will be too much added effort. Or perhaps you’re spending a day or two exploring a city and it makes sense to stay within the city as your home base. There’s nothing to stay you need to camp the whole time, and there’s nothing to say you can’t camp the whole time either. We’ve certainly done both types of trips. Figure out what works best for you trip.
4. Where are you going to camp?
This consideration may seem obvious, but there are many parts to this question. What are you looking for from the campground? Some campgrounds are best for short stays or certain types of camping but don’t offer much in terms of sightseeing. Others are good for the hikes and the sites as well as the camping. Both types serve a purpose on a trip. If you were already planning on visiting provincial or national parks as part of your trip, it might be worth it considering camping there for a night or two (or more depending on your trip). This would give you so much more opportunity to explore the park and soak up the experience.
5. What Type of Camping are you going to do?
This point ties in with what I talked about in the ‘how are you travelling’ consideration. You need to decide whether you want to camp in a tent, a trailer, or in park accommodations. Now, some of this will depend on what equipment you own and your budget. You can rent a trailer or RV, but this will add expenses that you need to consider. Not to mention, most trailers and RV’s come with a learning curve that you should be aware of.
Each of these types of camping have different advantages and disadvantages. And some will work better for some people more than others. I know plenty of people who strongly dislike tent camping but they love trailers or other park accommodations. I’ve done plenty of tent camping, because it can be easier than a tent trailer depending on your trip. But I’m looking forward to when we get our new trailer, because the easy set up will be great for road trip stops.
These are just some of the benefits and considerations for working camping into your travels and trips. Camping is great as a trip in and of itself, but it’s also great as part of other travels. Since camping is such a big part of my adventure and travel experience, I am probably going to write quite a lot about camping. Let me know if there’s anything you would be interested to hear about!
What about you? Do you enjoy camping either on it’s own or part of other trips? Is there anything you would add to this list of benefits and considerations?
Until next time,