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Just because we get older does not mean we lose our sense of adventure. But as a society, we have a habit of telling our senior citizens what is and what isn’t suitable for them. Rather than letting them decide for themselves.
Take camping, for example. Type ‘Camping UK’ into a search engine and look at the images. It’s all young 20-something outdoorsy types out in wild far-flung corners, presumably pitching up at the end of a hard day’s trekking or mountaineering. Or young families enjoying a low cost, wholesome break in the countryside.
Where are all the 60-plus campers? And we mean real camping, sleeping in a tent, not in a caravan or motorhome.
The stigma surrounding age is that your body is no longer as durable as it once was. And one of the supposed attractions of camping is giving up one’s creature comforts for a taste of something more basic or ‘down to earth’. So in other words, once you reach a certain age, you can’t hack the rigours of camping any more.
But who says, exactly? Surely that is up to the individual to decide.
Camping carries all sorts of attractions for people of all ages. There is a sense of adventure to it that you don’t get staying in a conventional hotel. Once you have all the gear, it’s cheap and flexible. Even when resorts are teeming and holiday rents are all booked up in the high holiday season, you can always find a pitch somewhere.
You can come and go as you please, set off at the drop of a hat for a weekend break or tour around exploring different places over a longer period of time. That also makes camping ideal for exploring the UK, which is blessed with fabulous countryside and coastlines, much of it off the well-trodden tourist path.
If you’re not ready to catch a plane overseas again for your holiday this year, if you’re looking for something different, or if you are simply after a cheap break option that lets you explore this country as you please, camping is ideal – whatever your age.
Here are a few pointers for planning a senior camping holiday in the UK this year.
Get the right gear
Comfort does matter when you are camping. You don’t have to suffer for the sake of adventure. And as everyone discovers as they get older, shrugging off the aches and pains caused by a night sleeping on a hard, cold floor gets harder and harder!
But with the right camping equipment, that doesn’t need to be a concern. Start off by choosing a larger rather than a smaller tent. Something you can stand up in and create a bit of a living area where you can set up chairs to sit in if it’s raining outside, and store your things without having to crawl around on all fours.
A larger tent also gives you the room for better bedding. Invest in some quality self-inflating air beds or, even better if you do suffer from aches and pains in your joints and back, raised camping cots.
While on the subject of sleeping arrangements, it’s just as important to invest in a good quality sleeping bag. Unless you are planning on going all in and camping during the colder months, you are best off choosing a two season sleeping bag, which will keep you cosy even on cooler summer nights. Unless you are hiking and need to save space in your rucksack, choose a more generous shape of sleeping bag that will let you move around as you sleep.
Choose a location with the right amenities
Unless you go up to Scotland, so-called ‘wild camping’ in any old place you fancy isn’t legal in the rest of the UK. So you are obliged to stick to campsites, where there should be some sort of amenities.
Use a website like Pitchup to browse for campsites in advance and check out what facilities they have available. There’s a huge spectrum, everything from farms offering little more than a field and an outside toilet to fully equipped holiday parks and ‘glamping’ sites with fancy accommodation options and on-site catering.
The rule is, it’s your holiday, so pick whatever amenities you want to have the best time possible.
Take out travel insurance
Travel insurance for a camping trip in the UK? It’s true, travel insurance is normally advised for travelling abroad when there are risks like losing your luggage and having to pay for medical attention if you fall ill. But there are good reasons for taking out travel insurance for a camping holiday in the UK, too.
Travel insurance for senior camping trips will protect you for things like weather-related disasters with personal belongings. We all know what the weather in this country can be like – a heavy overnight storm and you could easily wake up to a tent full of water, with piles of possessions waterlogged and ruined. Travel insurance would mean you could claim back some of the losses.
Plus, if you fall ill or have an accident and end up being taken to hospital, travel insurance provides benefits like covering the cost of transfer back to a hospital closer to home.