Consider This - 5 Tips for Planning Your Next Camping Trip

Peggy Sue our Jayco Qwest Pop Up Camper
Camping can be a very enjoyable activity.  However, a lot of work goes into planning a successful camping trip. The work up front will make a lot of difference in the overall trip.  Here are five things to consider when planning your next adventure.

1.  Weather

Camping weather can set the tone for your excursion.  A little rain, heat or cold does not bother me.  However, extreme weather of any kind can be bad.  Know your conditions and limits before your head out.

Plan for indoor activities or an extra canopy to sit under if rain is in the forecast.  Make adjustments to your awning for rain.  And if there is a storm, have a plan for extra shelter like a bathhouse.  Finally, consider your pets.  If the weather is extreme, you might want to leave your pets at home.

We had a cold and rainy beach trip over spring break, but we still made the most of our time there!

2.  Distance to Camping Site

Some campsites we plan to visit are close by, but others might be quite a drive.   Start your drive time so that you will be able to set up clearly before dark.  Stop and have a picnic on the way or just stop for a meal indoors.  If you need some road food ideas, pick up a copy of Roadfood, 10th Edition.  This book has suggestions for every state in the union!  Our family likes this option.  Most importantly, don't be in such a rush that you can enjoy the day.
How long can your little ones endure the car seat?  And how long can you all be cooped up in the car without a meltdown?

3.  Practical Meals

How much cooking will be too much work for you at a campsite?  I love to do foil packet meals the night we arrive at a campsite.  I prep them at home and throw onto the grill after setting up so that we can all relax our first evening.

I make a spreadsheet of meals complete with recipes and ingredients so that I can easily prep and pack.  I always have some kind of a backup plan when things get off track.  And if you aren't too far out in the wilderness, you can always just go out to eat!  It isn't the worst thing ever.  I know some campers are adamantly opposed to eating out while camping.  But why?  If it means a happier bunch at the end of a meal rather than cooking in the rain or when we are too tired, it is a no-brainer.

This spring on our camping trip, we had a rainy night where hot dogs cooked in an electric skillet with some nachos were a great back up plan!

4.  Activities

Make sure that you have built in activities to do on your trip.  Think about hikes, swimming, canoeing or other activities that will keep people engaged.  You could also pack board games, cards or even a scavenger hunt.  Also, get your family involved in cooking.  And if you are a bunch that really needs to be entertained, there are campgrounds that really cater to kids with trampolines, laser tag and more.  Camping resorts like a Jellystone Park are action-packed.  We typically prefer state parks because they are quieter and more our speed.   There is a campground out there for everyone.  Just look at the list of amenities and decide if the park has something for every camper in your group.

Our Memorial Day Weekend trip to Tishomingo State Park was specifically planned to enjoy the hiking trails there.

Tishomingo State Park

5.  Campsite Location

If you are in a pop-up camper like we are, location is key.  We want to be near the bathhouse since we are using it to take showers, getting ready for bed and the toilets.  While we have a porta potty in our camper, we don't use this as our main restroom.  It is for emergencies and nighttime trips.  This is something that I make sure to look at on the map whenever we plan our trip!  For a full review of our Thetford Curve Porta Potti, take a look at my Potty Talk Post from this spring.

Our Thetford Curve Porta Potti is a lifesaver in the middle of the night!

I'm sure that there are more things that I could include in this list, but these are key ones for our family.  What is a thing that you consider when planning a camping trip?  For more ideas to help with planning your next camping trip, visit my Camping Lists and Menus page.  I have included some printable lists for your first camping trip as well as menu planning spreadsheets.  For ideas on gear to get you going, visit my Camping Gear page.  I've been working on lots of updates since this post was first published. 

I love camping.  I love it more when I've planned well and can enjoy my time the whole time.

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