Camping Trips Frugal Family Adventures
Taking a typical vacation can be a costly expense. There are costs such as:
- air fare,
- hotel rooms,
- and the endless dollars spent eating at restaurants
- don’t forget about any tours, museums, attractions, or even amusement parks
With this list of expenses it is easy to see why even a short family vacation can quickly end up costing well over $1,000. And if that is your total monthly income, this type of vacation is not possible.
Even though things are financially tight for you, we here at Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs want to give you more affordable options. So, if the type of expensive vacation just described isn’t in your budget, why not consider going camping instead. It can be a great way to spend a frugal summer vacation, particularly if you already have the equipment you need.
Camping Can Create Great Memories
My best childhood memories of family vacations were actually the camping trips. Memories such as:
- the smell of the campfire and roasted marshmallows
- cooking on the Coleman stove
- Coleman lanterns at night
- flashlights and making shadow puppets
- and yes, even the memory of using an outhouse
If you are already a seasoned camper, this will be no problem. Not only have you discovered the frugal cost benefits, but you probably already have the all the gear.
All you need to do before your next camping adventure is to check your gear. Make sure nothing has gotten damaged since your last camping trip. If all checks out, then you are good to go.
However, if you are new to the world of camping adventure, you have some decisions to make. You will need to determine whether you will be camping in:
- a tent,
- tent trailer,
- or do you want to rent a cabin at a camp site.
Being new to the idea of camping, don’t rush out and start spending big dollars at Cabela’s quite yet. Remember, we are trying to EMPOWER you towards a HOPE and a FUTURE. And you don’t even know if you and your family are going to enjoy camping over the long haul. So, hold off on buying a ton of stuff, and try these suggestions first.
Start by asking if any family members or friends have a tent you can borrow. This would be an excellent way to take it for a test run.
Test Run In The Backyard
If you’ve never put a tent up before, you are going to want to do a test run at home. This will allow you to ask your friend or family member who provided it for advice.
As well, if you are easily frustrated, you are going to want to figure out how to put the tent up in a less stressful environment. If you need to, make notes of things you want to remind yourself of.
Now that it is set up, why not take it for a sleep test run in the backyard. This will help you to gauge how you, your spouse, and children will do overnight. By being close to home you can make a list of the items you would like to take with you on your actual camping trip.
Perhaps you would like to use a foam sleeping mat or an air mattress to make sure you’re comfortable. Depending on the time of year and climate, you can take some old blankets and comforters to snuggle up under instead of investing in sleeping bags.
Head to your local super store and pick up a gas stove. Search at Thrift Stores and Yard Sales to grab some camping essentials like a pot and pan. Dig through your cabinet for plastic plates and bowls, or stick to disposables for this first trip.
Keep it simple and inexpensive until you know you’ll enjoy camping. So remember, what can you borrow, use out of your own cupboards, or buy at yard sales?
There are plenty of inexpensive campsites all across the country. And in 2017, in celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday, admission to National Parks is FREE!
Ask around, check with your local camping friends, or stick with one of the bigger campgrounds. Many times you may be able to find a National Park with camping privileges close to your own community. For instance, where Barry and I reside, a popular National Park in our region is Algonquin Park.
Reserve your spot ahead of time if possible. Many campsites fill up very quickly in the busy summer months, especially around long weekend holiday dates. Do your research and find a campground you’ll be happy with. No matter where you camp, it will be a lot less expensive than staying at a hotel.
Food and Entertainment
This is where you can also save a bundle on your camping vacation. Bring what you can from home, shopping at your favorite frugal stores. Dry goods are easy to store in the car, and you can always pack a cooler for everything else. Keep it simple.
Try some of these meal ideas:
- hot dogs
- brown beans
- even mac and cheese
I remember as a child trying to find a green long stick that my dad would whittle the end on. Then we carefully fed our hot dogs securely on them. Next step was carefully holding our hot dog sticks over the flames and cooking our dinner. It was exciting.
While roasting marshmallows and eating S’mores is typically considered a camping food experience, try popcorn too. What? Yes, try a Jiffy Pop. That is such a fun experience shaking it over the flames and watching the foil expand with each popping sound. Try it!
As for the entertainment part—try making shadow puppets with flashlights or the light of the campfire. Tell funny stories, munch on snacks, and just have fun. As it gets dark, light a few sparklers, that is always fun too.
Other than a camera, leave the techy stuff at home. Get real with nature and your family.
Give camping a try.
And if you are looking for other frugal family vacation ideas, check out 5 Fun Frugal Ideas For Staycations.