When it comes to enjoying a vacation on a limited budget, it is difficult to beat the appeal of the good old camping trip. After all, it costs next to nothing to pitch your tent in the back country wilderness of your favorite state or national park.
A week long camping trip can often cost less than a day or two in a big city or tourist hot spot, while giving the entire family time to bond and enjoy being together.
As a matter of fact, camping is one of the most popular family activities, and many families enjoy camping together, sharing stories around a roaring fire, roasting marshmallows, swimming, fishing and all the other great things that come with a camping trip.
For many, camping brings back memories from childhood, and many parents want to give their children a taste of what their own childhood was like, back when things were so much simpler.
Another great thing about camping is that once the initial expenses are paid, there is little in the way of ongoing expenses.
Unlike a traditional vacation, in which the money you spend on that great hotel is gone for good, with camping you buy your hotel room (also known as your tent) outright, and you own it forever.
After you have bought all the essential items, like the tent, a couple of good camping lanterns, a good camp stove, sleeping bags and the like, your only expenses may be the food for the trip and the gas it takes to get there.
And camping provides plenty for all members of the family to do. Dad may enjoy fishing in his favorite spot, or boating around the lake, while mom and the kids may enjoy a beautiful hike and bird watching trip. There are even campgrounds that feature movies, swimming pools and other amenities for those who prefer a level of comfort to their journey.
As a matter of fact, there are many ways to camp, from rough camping in the back country to cabins at campgrounds to even RV camping. The level is entirely up to you, and that is one thing that makes camping so attractive to budget travelers and families alike.
There is nothing quite like vacationing in the great outdoors to get back in touch with nature. From watching the wildlife to watching the stars, there is plenty to do on the average camping trip.
Stargazing is particularly popular with city dwellers, who may never have seen the Milky Way in all its glory before. Getting away from the glare of city lights and see nature as it truly is.
We know that camping is one of the least expensive of all vacations, but lets take a quick look at the expenses associated with this type of budget travel. The centerpiece of the camping trip, of course, is the tent.
Unless you plan to camp in an RV or rent a cabin, which is more expensive, you will need a sturdy, high quality tent. It is important that the tent be waterproof and that it close easily.
Be sure the tent features a high quality zipper or other closure that is easy for every member of the family to operate. Test the zipper several times, and be sure you know how to set up the tent before you get to the woods.
Most campers will also want to invest in a few high quality sleeping bags. It is a good idea to choose a sleeping bag that is insulated, and to pick one that will be good for several seasons. Many sleeping bags are designed with removable liners and insulation. These are a good choice, since they can be used in cold weather and warm.
It is also a good idea to buy a couple of camp lanterns. These portable lights are great for lighting your way around in the dark. A cooler for drinks and food is a good idea as well, as is a portable charcoal grill or camp stove.
If you are camping at a campground, however, you may be able to leave the camp stove and grill at home, since many campgrounds provide grills for their guests to use free of charge. It is important to find out what amenities each campground offers before you head out.