OK – don’t panic! We’re not taking frugal living to extremes in this photo and having a holiday in our back garden, although I’m sure that might be fun, not to mention thrifty. This was us checking yesterday to see if DJ’s trusty (and dusty) three man tent is in proper working order. We’re off on a camping trip soon to Devon for a friend’s birthday and DJ pointed out that we don’t want to get down there and discover then that there is a huge hole in the roof or that we don’t have enough tent pegs. Luckily the tent was intact, despite having had to accommodate three strapping (and no doubt smelly) men in it on its previous outing on a walking tour a few years ago. It’s roomy but I have no idea how they all fitted in there. It must have been cosy.
Now, I have to admit that I’m a bit wary about it all. I’m not really a happy camper. While I like to save cash and think camping is a great idea in theory, doing so, especially in the UK with our temperamental weather, isn’t my idea of a relaxing holiday. I have a dodgy back which doesn’t appreciate sleeping on hard, stony ground. Plus camping brings back memories of coming home hot and smelly from three days without a shower at Glastonbury, stinking to high heaven. Although, that said, I am looking forward to spending time with our friends. And, when I heard how much it’s going to cost – £7.50 a night for a pitch – I cheered up a bit. That’s pretty hard to beat for a night’s stay somewhere unless you are being put up free by friends or family.
I enjoy the outdoors too (although occasionally from the safety of a warm pub) so I am keeping an open mind and preparing to be converted to the camping lifestyle. I am also praying that the weather here improves. It has been so cold down here lately. On Tuesday afternoon I walked back from town wearing gloves, a scarf, my winter coat and the furry hood pulled up and I was still freezing. On the bright side, at least by holidaying in the UK and not flying anywhere we won’t have to worry about ongoing disruptions from the Icelandic volcanic dust or British Airways staff walk-outs.
The other weekend, while we were travelling along the A12 during the bank hols, we spotted a number of motor-homes and caravans being towed home. I must be getting old because I found myself wondering whether a small motor-home might be a good alternative to camping, especially if you have a family and money is tight. A former work colleague once told me that he and his wife were thinking of getting one because you could take off anywhere and have instant accommodation without worrying that the kids were screaming and annoying other guests at B&Bs etc. Other friends who like music festivals but have had enough of roughing it and camping have also splashed out.
DJ admitted that he’d occasionally thought about the merits of them from a fishing point of view. You could park your motor-home by the fishing spot, not have to get up at the crack of dawn to fish, plus have a warm hiding place and an on-the-spot source of tea and food if the weather turned. Sounds good!
But on the other hand, I wonder how much it would cost to run, insure and maintain versus how much one or two holidays a year might set you back. After all, you’re essentially paying for second vehicle and unless you’re using it regularly for trips away it might not work out to be that much of a saving. I would also worry about manoeuvring and parking it as I have enough problems parking our Micra sometimes. It’s obviously something that requires some serious thought and research. Maybe you’ve got some insight you can share?
Do you enjoy camping? How much money does it save you on holidays each year? Do you own a motor-home or caravan and is it worth it? Leave a message as I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
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