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Camping can be a great way to get some downtime, enjoy nature and bond with friends and family, but not being prepared can make your trip frustrating and stressful. Here are 10 tips that will make your trip run smoothly.
1. Make a list of things you need and give yourself plenty of time to gather them. Making the list a few days prior to your trips gives you time to get laundry done and go shopping so everything is ready to be packed.
2. Research your campsite ahead of time. Know if your camp requires reservations. If you don't need reservations, know what time to get there in order to find a good place to set up camp. What kind of access will you have to clean water? Does the camp have bathroom facilities and what do those facilities include? Remember to bring extra toilet paper and a five gallon cooler of water.
3. Give yourself enough time to pack. Remember that, unlike other vacations, camping requires you to bring everything with you. You can't call room service for towels or soap or garbage sacks. Not only do you need to bring everything with you, but chances are you won't have a store nearby where you can pick up the things that you forgot. Giving yourself time to pack will help you leave in good time so you won't be setting up camp in the dark.
4. Leave early. It's difficult to find a campsite when you get there late not only because it's dark but because many of the campsites will already be taken. It's also difficult to set up a tent, unpack, arrange bedding and put on dinner if you can't see what you're doing. This can be especially frustrating if you have young children who are tired and hungry. Getting there early will not only help you get your children fed and ready for bed but will also give them time to explore before settling down.
5. Have a simple plan before you get out of your car. The first hour few hours of camping can often be the busiest and the most stressful. However, if everyone knows what is expected of them once they step out of the car, the set up can go quickly and smoothly. If you have young children, it will help if you have little activities they can do while you are setting up camp. A coloring book, a frisbee, or a juice box can make all the difference. Assigning responsible older children to watch over the younger ones will also help.