I was watching the Glastonbury coverage at the weekend and wondered how soon it would be before we could go and take the kids along.
My ten-year-old daughter soon put me straight: "I am not camping. Camping means bugs!". So unless I can encourage an interest in minibeasts, that's that idea knocked on the head.
Other families seem to be much more adventurous that us when it comes to the great outdoors. Or course, one of the appeals of camping is that once your children are school aged, holidays become incredibly expensive. Bringing your own accommodation in the form of your tent is one of the last great holiday bargains.
So if you're thinking of pegging out your tent during the current heatwave, here's our advice:
1. Choose your site carefully. Are you looking for a real back to nature holiday with only basic facilities or somewhere that combines all the fun of camping with plenty on offer by way of activities, entertainment, food, drink and shops?
2. Pack for comfort. Travelling light is all very well for backpackers but if you're camping with kids they'll enjoy it more if it's comfortable. Bring along airbeds and blankets.
3. Don't forget cooking implements. Cooking over a camping stove is good fun – but you'll still need at least a tin opener, a sharp knife, a spatula and a wooden spoon. Turning bacon in frying pan with plastic cutlery just doesn't work!
4. Pack torches as well as lanterns. Kids love wind-up torches and you won't need to worry about batteries. If they wake up in the middle of the night it's useful for them to have a torch close at hand. Head-torches are also a God-send if you need to take a small child to the loo in the middle of the night.
5. Travel cots are much easier for toddlers even if they use a bed at home. It helps to contain them at night and means they are not sleeping directly on the ground. And don't forget a portable potty!
6. Allow for some meals to be eaten out. Campsites that have value for money restaurants or take away options on hand put less pressure on parents to cook every meal and make it more of a holiday for the whole family.
7. Be realistic about packing wet weather gear – bring macs, wellies and jumpers. And choose a site that has something for the kids to do if the weather is not that great.
8. Fly a flag, or a windmill outside your tent so your kids can find their way back easily. Whilst finding your tent on a campsite is a doddle compared to spotting your tent at a festival, nevertheless it's good to have a marker so children know exactly where you are.
9. Remember matches, a water carrier and a washing up bowl. A fold up table and chairs makes meal-times easier.
10. Involve your children in the decision-making process about where to go. If you choose somewhere that they'll enjoy it will make the holiday more fun for everyone.
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