The Best Option for a Cheap Family Holiday this Summer

Going on holiday can be so expensive, with even a week in a caravan being the best part of £1000 during the main 6 weeks of school holiday.  If you're looking further afield, flights, hotels and endless money spent on restaurant meals and days out, a even the shortest holiday can soon blow your budget.  If you're looking for a more wallet-friendly option, try camping.  Camping can be a great way to enjoy a frugal summer holiday.

The Equipment

If you’re a seasoned camper, this will be no problem.  You check your gear, make sure nothing has got damaged since the last camping trip and you’re good to go.  If you’re new to camping, you have some decisions to make.

If you don’t have any gear, asking around about a tent you can borrow from family or friends is a good inexpensive way to get started.   Put it up in the garden at least once before you head out to make sure you’re familiar with the setup and that everything is in good working order.

Sleeping mats are a good idea to make sure you’re comfortable, or even a blow up mattress. Depending on the weather, you could also take some old blankets and duvets to snuggle up under instead of investing in sleeping bags.

Borrow other essentials like a camping stove and pots and pans if you can, or head to your local camping store or even a big local supermarket to buy.  Dig through your cupboards for enamel, metal or plastic plates and bowls.  Keep it simple and inexpensive until you know for sure whether you enjoy camping or not.

The Campsite

There are plenty of inexpensive campsites all across the country.  Ask around, check with your camping friends, or check the reviews online.  You may prefer to stick with one of the bigger campsites, rather than go more small and rural on your first trip.  National parks are also great places to find lovely campsites, e.g. the New Forest.

Reserve your pitch ahead of time if possible as many campsites fill up very quickly in the busy summer months.  Do your research and find a site you’ll be happy with.  If it's not too far away, you could even head out and take a look before you book.

Food and Entertainment

This is where you can save a bundle on your camping holiday.  Bring what you can from home, shopping at your favorite supermarkets.  Dry goods are easy to store in the tent, just bring them in a large plastic box, and you can pack a cooler for everything else.  We recommend a hard-walled electric coolbox that you can plug into your car to keep things cooler for longer.

Check out these ideas for what to cook when you're on a self-catering holiday

Keep the food you make simple.  Soup and sandwiches are always a big hit, as is roasting hot dogs over a campfire or barbecue.  Bring a large pot of chilli for your first night, then pack a bag of sausages and rolls for the next night's dinner.  Chuck in a big bag of marshmallows and that's your evening entertainment sorted too.  Sitting around the fire, roasting marshmallows and telling stories is always a big hit.

A couple of travel size board games, paper and drawing supplies, and a pack of cards should be enough to keep the kids busy, even if the weather does take a turn for the worse.  Don't forget your book!  When the sun is shining, they will be too busy exploring nature, finding treasure and making new friends.

Why not give camping a try this summer?  It may just become your favorite new way to spend a family holiday and create lovely new memories.

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