CAMPING holidays are very popular staycation options. While wild camping is illegal in many places around the UK, it is still possible in some places, and there are legal options too. Express.co.uk spoke to Grace Kelly from Graces Adventures about why wild camping is such a fantastic option.
THE SUMMER holidays saw many Britons head to the great British outdoors and enjoy a camping holiday. With summer now over, camping equipment will be stored away until next year. But how should campers clean, pack and store their camping gears to keep them in top shape for another holiday?
CAMPING is a popular option for a UK holiday, and wild camping is gathering support too. However, it’s illegal to wild camp in most places in England and Wales. Express.co.uk spoke to Grace Kelly of Grace’s Adventures about the legal way to wild camp.
Although July and August promise the warmest temperatures in the North East and Scotland, with the average highs hitting 18 and 17 degrees Celsius respectively, the later months can offer decent weather too.
“September usually delivers some lovely weather, and a lot of our customers enjoy breaks well into Autumn,” he said.
“And with local indoor tourist attractions opening there are lots of things to do even on rainy days.”
However, while he acknowledges this isn’t an option for everyone, Mr Hodgson insists there are still ways to save during the busy summer months.
And don’t be fooled, you can’t simply rock up to any old site with a tent in tow and expect everything to fall into place.
If you and your dog are going to have a camping holiday to remember, you need to get organised:
1. Don’t presume you’re welcome
It might sound ridiculous, but make sure the campsite is dog-friendly before you pack up everything bar the kitchen sink and head out on the road.
Most sites welcome dogs, but it’s best to play it safe, so do your research beforehand. The last thing you want to do is pull up with your excited pup only to be turned away. Just imagine the devastated look on your dog’s face, let alone the rest of the family.
2. Find the right site
Just because a site says it’s dog friendly doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right fit for you and your pup. Check out the reviews. Is there plenty of space or are people crammed in? Is it likely to be noisy? What are the rules relating to dogs? Are there dog friendly pubs and cafes in the area? And what are the nearby walks like?
Also, many sites charge extra for dogs. It won’t be much, maybe a couple of pounds per night, but it’s something to consider.
3. Make a list, check it twice
Dogs may be (relatively) small but just like kids, they do not travel light. Before you head out on your trip, make sure you’ve covered all the essentials.
Items on the list should include a travel bed, water bottle and dog bowls (collapsible ones come in handy when you’re out during the day), plenty of doggy bags, a pup-focused first aid kit along with any specific medication, leads, more food than you think you’ll need, and some sturdy storage for it so your pup doesn’t get tempted to rummage.
Camping shouldn’t be an endurance test, unless that’s what you’ve signed up for, so don’t forget their favourite toys and a blanket as anything that smells like home could be a comfort in a strange new place.
4. Acclimatise your dog
We all know that feeling of excitement when you’ve just arrived on your hols and it’s no different for your dog, but all the sights, sounds and smells of a campsite can be overwhelming.
As soon as you can, give your pup the chance to get used to their surroundings by taking them for a walk on an extendable leash (don’t forget their collar too).
They can have a good sniff about, stretch their legs and no doubt go for a much-needed pee, and feel a lot more comfortable for it.
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5. Get yourself a ground stake
As much as you love your dog, try pitching a tent with them and that love will be tested to its limits. Whether they think they’re helping, or presuming it’s play time, your pup can be a hindrance when you’re trying to work out which pole goes where.
You can keep your dog in the car while you get the tent up, as long as it’s cool, but they shouldn’t have to miss out on all the fun, so look into getting a ground stake to keep your dog safe, secure and out of your hair while you crack on. It can also come in handy throughout the trip.
6. Keep a close eye on your pup
There might be rules on site which means your dog has to be kept on a leash at all times. Or it might be more relaxed, so your dog can roam free, if you and they are happy with that.
Just be mindful of your neighbours. You might adore that ball of fur, but other people might not feel the love.
Be aware your pup might try to go off on the quiet to scrounge for food from other campers with their puppy dog eyes, but you won’t know what or how much they’re eating. And don’t forget to keep your own food carefully packed.
One sniff of the sausages and you’ll have none left for the BBQ.
7. Sleeping arrangements
Cushing up with your dog in a small tent might sound lovely and cosy but the reality can be very different, especially if you’re camping for more than a few days. Everyone needs their space, including your dog, and it’s something to think about when you’re buying a tent.
Ideally, you’ll have space aside from the sleeping area where everyone can lounge out, especially if the weather takes a turn for the worse, and your dog might choose this spot to make themselves comfy.
Choose abed that’s well-insulated and waterproofand don’t forget acarabiner clip, ideally an LED one, to fasten the tent zip closed and stop your dog making an escape in the middle of the night.
As the summer holidays rapidly approach, ever-changing travel restrictions has caused more and more Britons to give up on international vacation plans in favour of something closer to home. However, this surge camping, caravan and UK staycation demand means numerous accommodation providers across the nation are already booked up during the peak season.
Luckily, according to Ed Bassett, UK Country Manager for Camptoo, this doesn’t mean a holiday is completely off the cards.
In fact, Mr Bassett revealed to Express.co.uk that there are still a number of ways to embark on a unique UK adventure.
The key, he says, is to “think outside the box”.
“While staycation bookings are at a record high, there is still availability across the summer months for those wishing to rent a campervan or motorhome with Camptoo,” Mr Bassett told Express.co.uk.
According to data from Cornwall’s tourism board Visit Cornwall, the May half term alone saw an estimated 390,630 trips within bookings up 70 percent on the previous year before lockdown restrictions had even eased.
Searches for holidays in Scotland during the same period, meanwhile, were reportedly up 255 percent compared to 2019 according to data from holiday rentals search engine HomeToGo.
“Think outside the box when it comes to locations to visit,” continued Mr Bassett.
“We suggest expanding your search to other destinations such as Norfolk, Dorset, Somerset, or the North Yorkshire coast, where you’ll likely find more space and campsite availability.”
However, Britons who are still toying with their summer holiday plans need to act fast.
“Campsites across the country are booking up fast, however, so we advise booking sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment,” Mr Bassett explained.
Britons are also spending more time on their camping and caravan breaks than in previous years, according to Camptoo’s data.
“On average, our customers are booking trips for around five days, which shows that people are seeking longer trips instead of short weekend breaks,” he said.
And while there may still be space available in some campsites, for now, the Camptoo boss says last-minute bookings have become something of a trend this year.
“We expect that July and August are going to be very busy this year, particularly August half-term,” he said.
“We’re seeing a lot of short-lead bookings made just a few weeks in advance of travelling, which is likely due to the very small ‘Green List’ for international destinations Brits can visit.
“Bookings over the past 30 days have been consistently higher compared to the same time period last year, so we expect an even busier staycation market this summer than last.”