If you don’t have the money to head out on an actual camping trip, car camping can be an inexpensive alternative to get the same camping experience in your backyard or local park. It’s a great way to introduce kids to camping, and it’s fun even if you’re not saving money on your trip because it doesn’t require any special equipment and can make you feel like you are really getting away from it all! So here are some tips on how to car camp on a budget.
Prepare Your Car
Car camping is an adventure; it’s not just parking. There are no hostels and there aren’t even campgrounds (except for those that offer camper hookups). Prepare your car by ensuring you have all of your necessary supplies packed in waterproof bags and ready for your road trip. A rule of thumb is that anything you bring, you should have extras of. It’s never bad to be prepared for unforseen events or emergencies.
Car camping is an adventure, but it can be one with some comforts and conveniences. Make sure you have everything in order by organizing your car and packing strategically.
There’s safety in numbers, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your first car camping adventure with only you and maybe a companion or two. To make sure everything goes smoothly, make safety—both yours and that of your vehicle—your top priority. Take along some extra food, water, and clothes in case of an emergency. Also take along some tools so you can change tires if necessary.
Know What You Can't Pack (and What You Can)
When you're planning your car camping adventure, think about what gear is essential—and what gear can stay at home. Your tent and sleeping bag are must-haves, but everything else? Well, that's up for debate. It all depends on how much weight you want to add—and if you’re truly concerned with saving money, there’s no need to spend extra cash just because something is lightweight or expensive.
Road Trip Tips for Kids
Let’s face it—road trips can be really boring for kids. But road trips don’t have to be boring! Kids who are traveling with you can still enjoy an amazing trip, so long as they stay entertained while they’re in transit. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep children happy during road trips and other forms of travel: bring along toys, give them something to do (like coloring or drawing), or let them play music through your phone or tablet.
Money Saving Ideas
You don’t have to be rich or spend tons of money at REI or even Walmart (although they do have cheap tents and other camping necessities, too). If you look around and get creative, you can find all sorts of deals, whether it’s at your local thrift store or Craigslist. Make sure you choose your tent wisely; most are one-person with room for little else besides your sleeping bag.
Hacks for Having Fun While Car Camping
Yes, spending time in nature can make you happier and healthier, but it isn’t always easy or cheap. The key is getting creative with your gear and making sure you bring along stuff that won’t break or melt in the sun (ask any dishwasher). Here are some tips for car camping on a budget