Unlike a package holiday or a trip with parents, camping with friends during the summer break can be unpredictable and hard work. But it’s always hugely rewarding. Whether you are camping abroad or in the UK, there are a few eventualities to be aware of and some essentials you need to pack.
Camping abroad seems like an obvious choice after months of British drizzle and it can be a great way to meet other travellers and locals. Camping is a budget choice, which is why many young people choose to travel this way. If you are planning on volunteer work abroad during your summer holidays, this may well involve camping and you will still need to be prepared. Camping essentials include a good airbed or camping mat and ideally a sleeping bag that keeps you cool in the heat and warm in the cold. Other essentials include a decent cooking pan, a few utensils, plenty of tea bags, a couple of spare lighters or matches and a torch with extra batteries.
If you are camping in a hot country, which is likely if you have chosen to volunteer abroad, pack some high factor sun cream, a wide brimmed hat and some after sun lotion (just in case). Unlike staying in a hotel, it’s much harder to find shade in an open field and a dose of sunburn could easily ruin your holiday. Another thing to remember is mosquito repellent and to ensure you have the necessary vaccinations for whichever country you are visiting. Wherever you are camping, a basic first aid kit is imperative; any former scout knows that it’s best to ‘be prepared’.
Camping in the UK
If you decided that camping or volunteer work was not your thing, you might be thinking about camping in the UK during the summer holidays. There are some major bonuses to this; it’s cheap, it’s easy and if it all goes wrong, you can turn around and head home. However, just because it’s summertime doesn’t mean it will be sunny. It may well rain, so just make sure you have plenty of waterproof clothes. Wellies, a raincoat and plenty of warm, thick, dry socks should see you through. When it gets cold in the evening, layering is the best way to keep warm, so as embarrassing as it may be, pack your thermal underwear. No one will ever see them!
A map of the local area can prove hugely useful if you are planning on any long walks, as well as a decent pair of walking boots. Many young people camping during their summer break will be doing so on a budget, so make sure you have essentials such as soup, beans and noodles to keep you full.
Camping, unlike organized package trips, always requires a fair degree of organization. Once you’ve done it a few times it’s easy to remember everything you need but it’s best to avoid being caught out. Just remember that you will be at the mercy of the great outdoors for most of the time, so prepare yourself for it all. This could involve sun, rain, insects and a lack of electricity. That being said, camping is rewarding, challenging and the most fun way to travel when you are young or even young at heart.
Esther writes about a number of travel subjects including volunteering, camping and gap year options. She contributes articles regarding options to volunteer abroad for travel and student websites.