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Whether you are going for a weekend in Cornwall in a tent or a week in Suffolk with your caravan, there are several things you need to know before you leave to make sure that your family holiday will go as well as planned. Otherwise, you may find yourselves more miserable away then you were at home before you left.

Step 1: Decide Where You Are Going.

This is very important for whichever camping holiday you are going on because you must ensure that the campsite you are staying at has the facilities you need. If are in a tent with no car or stove, then you will need to look for a campsite either with a shop and/or restaurant, or walking distance to the town. Or, if you are in a caravan you may need to confirm that the campsite has power points. Alternatively, cheap leisure batteries are a great way to run your caravan appliances efficiently as they are designed to distribute a low charge over a long time, as opposed to car batteries which discharge a high current in a short period of time (i.e. to start a car).

Step 2: Decide What You Are Looking to Do

Another fairly obvious one, but it will be crucial to your trip and it is often not as well considered as you would think, especially for families. For those with small children, it is best to go to a campsite that offers on-site entertainment; otherwise you will be faced with a very daunting task of constantly entertaining your children, in the middle of nowhere. If you are near a town this is great, you can all go on trips there. What is sometimes better, I have found with young children, is if you are able to go on more ‘adventure’ like activities, such as bike rides and swimming, even horse riding proved quite the family experience. For these sorts of facilities you are looking to pay more, but I have found that it is best to pay any amount to keep my children busy on holiday.

Step 3: Get There at a Sensible Time

This is vital to those camping in tents; the number one rule for camping is not to set up in the dark. If you ignore this rule, then you will find out why I have said it very quickly. Even for those with the luxury of caravans or other forms of vehicle, getting there before dusk is a good idea just so you can get an idea of where things are and settle in while you can see what you are doing. This applies especially to those with children, as late night trips to the toilet are highly probable so it helps to know where they are first.

Step 4: Be Prepared!

This was not the Scout’s golden rule for no reason. The thing with camping is that you are completely vulnerable to the elements. It may rain, hail, thunder, or be scorching hot. But no matter which of these it is, you may well be outside in them, or separated from them by a mere millimetre of material. For all the above rules this one is the most important. Be prepared that the activities you have planned may not go ahead if it rains so you may be stuck with nothing to do, so bring a pack of cards. Be prepared your children will be bored because the playground is wet, so bring board games. Be prepared that you will need more water than anticipated if it is a lot hotter than you thought it would be, so make sure you have access to a fresh water supply. Be prepared that the temperature can drop significantly, especially at night, so make sure you all have lower temperature sleeping bags, and maybe even bring a shower curtain or floor mat to keep the floor clean and dry.

Aside from these technicalities, a camping holiday will offer you and whoever you are with the most fun out of any sort of holiday there is. Embrace the minimalist life style for however long you go for because you will definitely miss it, even if it does rain every day.

Thanks for reading. I'd love to know what you think so please feel free to comment, also check out the rest of my work on Instructables especially "Parapacking: How To Pack Away A Power Kite Without It Getting Tangled"

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