With the rising costs of everything in today’s society, it is difficult to afford a fun vacation for the whole family. Instead of an extravagant vacation, a fun camping trip might be best. Everyone is always looking for tips for family camping on a budget. Many people try to save throughout the year for that one special week on a beach or in a resort. Others give up on the idea altogether and that is what makes family camping perfect for so many.
Making a Plan
With careful planning and forethought, almost any family can have a pleasant, memorable trip. Taking time to sit down with the family and make a plan that everyone can agree on. Parents and kids alike will enjoy taking part in a budget family camping trip.
Choosing a camping spot and a date to put on the calendar so everyone can count down the days. Including the kids in the planning helps them learn and giving them tasks that need to be done gives them a sense of being involved.
Looking up places either close by, or within your state or neighboring state that offer a nice campground with amenities if you are wanting that, or adventure for those looking to rough it. New campgrounds seem to be popping up all the time so there isn’t a shortage of options.
Setting up a camping budget doesn’t have to be hard and can actually be fun when getting everyone involved. Making a list of what you need and where you want to go is key so you can start researching and pricing things out.
Tent or RV?
Do you have a camper or tent, or will you be renting an RV? What camping supplies do you have and what ones will you need? How long will you be camping for, and will you need someone to pet sit while you are gone, or will your pets go with you.
If tenting is your thing but you don’t have a tent yet, that can be an added expense but one that will pay off in the long run if you plan to tent camp often. A nice 3 room tent is perfect for a family.
Save on What You Need
Writing down all the items you have, so you don’t spend money buying things you have and then writing down all the things you need and deciding how important each thing is and where you can shop for it the cheapest.
Many stores carry camping gear but do be careful as those stores that are actually labeled “camping” outlets usually are way higher priced than a local Walmart or even Amazon. You can do most of your shopping online which can save money because you are not in a store and getting swept up in the temptation of stuff you really don’t need.
Gathering all the items you already have and making sure things work. Check flashlights, camp stoves, lanterns, etc. If you plan to tent it, set the tent up to make sure it has no holes, or moldy from a previous trip.
Checking that zippers work is very important as well. Quality coolers are important and also something you can use for many years. You want a cooler that holds ice for a long time if you do tent camping so your food doesn’t spoil.
For those who are RVing or using a camper, there are things to check too. Is the water pump, generator, air conditioner, fridge, and stove all working? If you have an RV you will also want to check oil, antifreeze, tires, gas, brake fluid, etc.
Making sure things are road-worthy. That Traveling Chick has a great RV Packing list for anyone hitting the road on any kind of camping trip.
Food for Camping
Eating is one of those fun things to do when camping. Also, it’s just a necessity, right. Well, there is something to be said for the smell and taste when you cook food over an open fire. Even coffee tastes better when one is camping!
Many people like to bring an overabundance of groceries with them, but honestly, that can be a waste of food, and money. Bringing well thought out food is key to staying within one camping budget.
Figure out a meal plan and even prep some of the items for ease of cooking or less hassle when camping. Doing up hamburger patties and putting them in freezer paper and a big zipper bag or container, or seasoning other meats and putting them in containers so you have less “hand” prep and mess.
Meal prep is also great because you want to enjoy family time and not stress about what you will cook. Keep it simple, healthy, and fun. Burgers, hot dogs, raw veggies and dip, chips and snacks, scrambled eggs with sausage, lunch meat and cheese, and fruit.
Things that don’t require much time to make and leave very little waste.
Misc Camping Supplies
Traveling with kids can be so rewarding for them and for you. But, you have to make sure you bring things that kids need or want. Sometimes adults can go without certain things, but kids can’t. Diapers, baby wipes, baby food, medications (for teething or diaper rashes or fever), and even special toys or books that are their favorites.
For those who want to bring their dogs, it’s a must to bring a leash or dog crate/kennel, dog food, toys and treats, and doggie poop bags. Most campgrounds or RV resorts require your dogs to stay leashed and that you clean up after them.
Enjoy Your Family Budget Camping Trip
Budgeting doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to mean you go without things. Staying with a budget simply means you are smart and you know what’s important, enjoying a family trip.
Many campgrounds can break the bank and have rates of $50 or more a night. Those are the ones with things like pools, laundry, full hook-ups, and more. If that is what you want, fit it into your budget.
If not and you are fine with a primitive campground most of those are way less in price. There are many things to do while camping like hiking, crafting with the kids, roasting marshmallows over the fire, singing camp songs, playing board games, relaxing and reading, or even just taking time to sit and enjoy your surroundings.
If planned right and with proper thought, a budget family camping holiday will feel like a resort vacation. It doesn’t take a lot of money to have a good time. Snag a copy of Where Should We Camp Next book if you plan to camp often.
Finding a budget, and some good camping hacks, that work for you is key in making sure your camping trip is fun and not something stressful. However, if you are new to camping you might find that your first trip out might cost a bit more as you will be buying things for the first time, but keep in mind you will have those bigger items for years.