Six in a Tent plus Top Camping Tips!
Guest post & images kindly supplied by Joanne Brady
A couple of years ago we changed from a family of four into a family of six. Out went the small(ish) people carrier, in came the tank. Another thing that went out of the window is holidays. Easy ones anyway.
If you’ve got more than two children, or even three, finding a hotel that can fit you all in at a reasonable price is very difficult especially if, like us, you leave things to the last minute. We have had our fill of static caravans and Butlins, as good as those holidays are, and now the twins are fast getting through toddlerhood we are wanting to go further afield.
We have, optimistically, invested in a family tent. It’s gorgeous – if you like that sort of thing. Two bedrooms, large living space (which doubles as the adult sleeping area) and a porch to stash all the cooking and eating things.
Last week we took our first family camping holiday. It was only three days in Norfolk but we really enjoyed it.
Putting the tent up was quite stressful. I took the girls off for a play in the camp’s playground while Dad set everything up. It took way longer than it had when we practiced in the garden and we didn’t get to go out for tea until well after our usual meal time. We were all starving and wasting away, and our fish and chips were wolfed down.
The first night was stressful as the children got used to their new sleeping arrangements. It was a lot of giggles and pillow fighting, and threats of the lady with the torch coming round to tell us all off before they finally went to sleep.
We wondered why we ever thought this camping lark was a good idea.
But then, the next morning, we were greeted by the sun.
A quick breakfast of croissants and orange juice was followed by playtime on the rope hanging from the tree a few yards from our tent. The girls were out and about in their pyjamas and making new friends.
After we got cleaned up and dressed, we headed off to explore the area. We spent another two nights there, exploring places we’d never been before. We even did some cooking one evening, and the girls were shown the delights of washing up in the camp utility block. They loved it. Such novelty!
The girls, especially the older two, spent the first two days complaining about having to camp. Then they spent the next two days complaining that we would have to go home. By the end of the trip we were all won over on camping. We need to buy a few more bits and pieces before our next trip, but it was a lot cheaper and less stressful for us than a hotel would have been.
Our site cost £30 a night for all of us including electric. A hotel would have been, well I dread to think. Yes, camping with small children is stressful, but then doing anything with small children is stressful. At least this way, we can get away more often and not worry about blowing the budget. Holidaying with four children is expensive enough.
We’ve already booked our next trip. And another one!
Our top tips for family camping holidays:-
- Get a tent big enough for everyone to fit in. Being squashed in does not make for a good night’s sleep.
- Check that the tent is not TOO big. Some camp sites have a size limit and will charge you for two pitches if your tent is over the limit, which will double the cost of your holiday.
- Choose a site with something to do for the children, such as a games room or a playground. Camping is about letting them have a bit of freedom and you’ll need to get them out of your way while you put the tent up and take it down again.
- Don’t forget your tin opener. Disaster awaits if you do!
- Take more clothes than you’ll think you need. Children and camping seem to attract dirt. Take wet wipes too.
Joanne Brady is the author of KidsDaysOutReviews, a blog with quality reviews of great family days out around the UK. She is also a mother of four, a freelance copywriter and social media manager.