Staycation: Why we should all camp in 2021

The start of this new decade has certainly been a hard one for travel enthusiasts. While 2020 has forced us all to stop in our tracks and enjoy time at home with family and friends, it has also allowed us to press the reset button on our bodies and minds.

Us travel enthusiasts have had plenty of time to sit and reflect on the adventures we have been fortunate to experience whilst planning others we hope to someday be able to have. But if you are reading this blog you probably know that that has not been enough to curb that travel urge. Twelve months of not stepping one foot inside a plane has been more torturous than ever anticipated. So how can we get our fix whilst making sure we are keeping each other safe?

Sitting in our tiny third floor flat in London that is 100% not designed to be in full time we were grateful when the first lock down restrictions started to ease (and very unhappy when they returned). With no backyard or outdoor space for almost five months we were itching to be outside, full time.

Thankfully the beautiful 2020 summer turned up as restrictions were easing and we started to look for ideal staycations on our own soil. With Europe being just a stone’s throw away we have often overlooked the beauty that England has to offer and neglected the opportunity to travel to some of England’s most talked about destinations. Ensuring we spend the majority of our time outdoors we realized that we had never officially been on a camping holiday together.

We hired a car for 4 days, packed our two-man tent and our camping gear and off we went.

Camping grounds in ENGLAND

England has hundred of camping grounds and green spaces that can be enjoyed by families, couples or solo. Campsites are currently (in 2021) taking about half of the usual amount of guests due to COVID social distancing rules. Due to this, look at booking a few weeks in advance, especially if camping during peak season* as the campsites do fill up pretty quickly.

*Peak season = April-May and July-August, including bank holidays.

If choosing to camp with a tent there is generally the choice of electric grass pitch or non-electric grass pitch. Unsurprisingly the electric grass pitch is most sought after and is best booked in advance.

Amenities vary between each camping grounds. Some grounds come complete with a pool, sauna and onsite bar while others may offer only non-electric fields, next to a lake with horses. There is something out there for everyone and every experience.

What to pack

Do not let not having a car put you off camping. We comfortably carried all of the below to a car rental, so it is doable. We chose a non-electric pitch and the below is what we packed. You may wish to include a few other electrical items if you choose an electric pitch.

The essentials:

· Tent (inclusive with hammer and pegs)

· Sleeping bags

· Pillow (a blow up pillow saves space and is surprisingly comfortable)

· Blow up mattress and pump

· Portable light

· Cutlery, plates, cups/mugs and bowls and spatula

· Camping cooking pots/pan/kettle (you can purchase a kit from any camping shop for £20-25)

· Picnic blanket

· Portable gas stove + gas canister

· Flip flops (useful for showers)

· Towel

· Sunscreen and bug spray

· Cooler bag

· Cleaning products; washing up liquid, sponges and towel

· Bin bags

· Personal cosmetics

· Personal clothing

· Portable chargers + cords

The stigma of camping

There can be an unfortunate stigma behind camping being an UN-luxurious holiday. What is sadly forgotten is the experience of what camping can give you.

Traveling to new countries teaches you many life lessons that you can not always get on your home soil. This is what makes traveling so addictive and fascinating. The different cultures, food, smells and language is never ending. Camping however teaches you different life lessons. It teaches you how to survive, to assemble your home, cook your own meals and to create a fire to keep yourself warm. It teaches you an appreciation for the outdoors, nature and how to work as a team.

There is nothing quite like sitting outside eating breakfast and drinking coffee watching a new day start.

Tips and Costs

· For the general amenities you can get a non-electric grass pitch for £15-22 during peak times and £10-18 during off peak times, per couple.

· The electric pitches tend to be a few £ extra per night compared to non-electric.

· The cost is generally the same whether you have a small or bigger tent.

· Having more than one car will generally include an extra fee per night on top of your pitch costs.

· If you have a two man tent, it is always worth asking campsites who are advertising as full as they may still have room for you - we got lucky with this.

· Dogs are generally welcome but some sites may charge you extra per night.