Save money with these top camping tips

Luxuries such as meals out and holidays are often the first things to face the chop when cutbacks are being made to household budgets.

With inflation at a 40-year-high, it’s likely many Brits will be reconsidering their summer holiday plans this year.

Whether they are postponing their longed-for post-Covid trip overseas, shortening the length of their trip to save money or looking at cheaper accommodation – experts are predicting the holiday market may soon be taking a hit.

Indeed, Anaam Raza of investment platform Saxo Markets, said rising oil and gas costs could see airlines increase their prices in the coming year as contracts to hedge fuel prices end.

“This is likely to hit budget airlines, such as EasyJet and Ryanair, harder than others and could potentially blunt demand for cheap holidays abroad,” she added.

Here in Britain the holiday let market has been booming, but with the popularity of the so-called ‘staycation’ pushing up the prices of accommodation in tourist hotspots, staying in the UK is not necessarily the cheapest alternative.

It’s no wonder, then, camping has become a such a hit with families. It’s flexible, bank-balance friendly and can also be lots of fun.

Plus, if you are keen to save as much money as possible, there are a number of ways you can reduce you holiday budget further by being smart about locations and planning your trip carefully.

Here are a few ideas from outdoor holiday book site, Pitchup.

  1. Avoid tourist hotspots

Data from Pitchup reveals the average price per night for a camping trip in the Scottish Highlands is £25.80 per person. Whereas an average night’s stay in Scotland South is £18.11 per person, so it’s worth considering all areas of the UK before booking your trip.

However, if you’ve already decided the destination of your trip, try looking for nearby lesser-known areas away from popular seaside resorts and national parks.

For example, if you’re going to Cornwall, try looking for inland campsites rather than those by the coast. Or, if Pembrokeshire is a bit expensive, check out neighbouring Carmarthenshire instead.

  1. Stay close to home

You don’t need to travel far to find a complete change of scenery. Swapping a long drive for a journey of an hour or so to a nearby coastal or rural area will save on petrol money and stress – and it’s better for the environment too.

  1. Stick to a basic camping kit

Unless you’re going to be camping regularly or in demanding conditions, there’s no need to invest in lots of expensive equipment. Focus on the basics, such as a good tent, a decent sleeping bag, and then venture with things you already own.

Bring blankets for extra warmth and old pans for cooking, and never underestimate the power of a pair of cosy socks and a woolly hat for night time warmth.

  1. Borrow camping gear

Even though finding a cheap campsite might be easy, you still have to provide all of your own equipment, and that can push up costs if you’re not careful.

Before buying a tent, a camping stove or even a coolbox, ask around to see if any of your friends or family have one you can borrow. You may even find that people want to give their kit away permanently to clear space in their garage or loft.

You could even go as far as borrowing a campervan or caravan rather than buying one. A spokesperson from Pitchup said: “Many travellers don’t realise that you can even borrow a motorhome – a simple and more cost-effective way for those wanting to try it for the first time”.

  1. Do some off-season shopping

Early summer is usually the most expensive time to buy camping equipment so, if you can, try to leave your purchases until late summer, autumn or even the January sales, when many shops will be selling off last year’s stock.

Also, signing up for email alerts from your favourite retailers will alert you to any discount events coming up.

  1. Plan ahead and pack well

Buying anything at the last minute often means higher prices – that goes for anything from a next-day delivery sleeping mat to a can opener in the local corner shop.

Save yourself from any unexpected purchases by making a packing list well ahead of departure and double-checking you’ve got everything before setting off.

  1. Bring your own food

Eating out is part of the joy of a holiday, but it can be expensive if you’re doing it every day.

Bringing along meals you prepared at home to eat on-site will help to save money – especially if you’re just heating something up on the stove or campfire rather than using lots of gas to cook from scratch.

  1. Create your own entertainment

Camping isn’t just a cheap holiday – it’s one that comes with its own brand of outdoor entertainment, much of which is either free or at a minimal cost.

A frisbee, a football and some campfire marshmallows will go a long way on a family camping holiday – and you can even turn the prep and cooking of an outdoor meal into a fun activity if you approach it in the right way.

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