Whether we have work, study, parenting responsibilities, or all of the above, the hustle and bustle of our daily lives can really get in the way of achieving a good balance of work, leisure and family time.
While holidays and getaways of any sort are important in helping you to de-stress, unwind and reconnect, camping presents benefits and opportunities that no other form of holiday can.
There are many benefits of camping, especially for families. If at the end of this, if those new to camping aren’t at least encouraged to give it a try, I don’t know what will.
1: Exploring Remote Places
Some of the most amazing locations are found in the most remote areas, and they’re often a surprise find. Having your accommodation with you creates more flexibility to go wherever your car or feet can take you to find these special places. With local campsite options, you won’t need to worry about the distance to your hotel or indeed the state of the hotel itself.
You also have more flexibility to extend or shorten stays as you wish without worrying about changing hotel bookings, losing deposits and inconveniencing hoteliers.
2: Connecting with family and friends
One of my most favourite benefits of camping is the quality time it offers for family and friends, bringing them much closer together – both physically and figuratively speaking. Simple things are all you need to reconnect – an early morning cuppa, happy hour, a card or board game, a walk, a kick of the football, story-telling and chatting around the campfire. Everyone is on the same page and in the same place and you can just go with the flow.
Camping can also create a sense of teamwork as everyone pitches in and has their special roles to play.
3: Appreciating the basics
Our daily lives are becoming much more complicated with the ever-present temptation to buy more stuff in an often futile attempt to make us feel better. It might succeed in the short term as we unwrap the box, or wear that new item of clothing for the first time, but not when it’s time to pay the credit card bill or tackle the clutter at home.
The simple benefits of camping can help us see the benefits of “less is more”, where we don’t need all of the bells and whistles to be happy, productive and personally fulfilled.
4: Getting away from it all
Holiday destinations can be teaming with holiday makers, which might suit some of you but not others. Camping gives you the opportunity to spend time in out of the way places, away from the crowds, concrete and cables.
5: Lower cost holidays
I can’t think of another form of holiday to give you a better bang for your buck than camping does. It provides holiday opportunities to the budget conscious and those on lower incomes that they may not otherwise have. In fact the only cheaper form of holiday that we can think of is staying at home, but even that can be expensive when you take into account the cost of movies, play centres and other organised activities.
You can build an extremely comfortable family camping setup without the need for any kind of trailer, for as little as a few thousand dollars, which can last you for years. Once on the road, you will pay a fraction of the price on campsite bookings than you would in hotels, cabins and other forms of accommodation, and there are also many free camping options as well.
The cars and accessories section of The Campus also demonstrates that you don’t need the biggest car in the lot to camp trailer free. There are a number of mid-size wagons and SUV’s to suit your circumstances as we have outlined in our best mid-size car for camping review. And with available opportunities to hire a suitable car, nor do you even really need to own one.
For more cost saving ideas, check out our ways to keep your camping costs down.
6: Education and learning opportunities, especially for children
The physical and mental health benefits of camping for kids are immeasurable. It provides opportunities to explore new places, learn something new and connect with and spend more time in nature. That first-hand observation can really stimulate your child's thinking and encourage a greater awareness and understanding of the world around them.
Camping exposes children to the world of meteorology (sometimes the hard way), history, astronomy, geography, geology, flora and fauna and caring for nature and the environment – again the list goes on. Big kids will learn a lot as well.
7: Improving your health – both physically and mentally
Unlike the good old days, many of us live a more sedentary lifestyle and could very much take advantage of the many health benefits of camping.
We work longer hours, watch more TV and other streaming services, and use gadgets, machines, devices and apps to perform previously manual tasks, and that distract us from more active pursuits.
Our kids can no longer just head off on their bikes to visit their friends as long as they are home for dinner, and the dwindling sizes of back yards, if indeed there is one, inevitably means less time spent being outside and being active.
The health benefits of camping are so important because:
You exercise more
I can’t think of another form of holiday that gives you and the kids more opportunities for physical activity than camping. By its very nature, the whole camping “process” involves some necessary physical exertion, and importantly, you and the kids have the space and many opportunities to exercise for fun – water games, kicking the footy, hiking and walks, canoeing, swimming, bike riding, running, playgrounds and jumping pillows – the list goes on.
That being said, there are plenty of opportunities to sit back and relax as well if so inclined.
Your exposure to sunlight increases:
We tend to shy away from the sun and cover up, especially where children are concerned, and in many instances for good reason to ensure that they are not over exposed to the sun.
In moderation, however, camping increases your direct sun exposure, which has many physical and mental health benefits:
- It increases bone health, strengthens your immune system and helps to prevent a number of illnesses by boosting your vitamin D levels.
- It enhances your mood and wellbeing and reduces stress levels by increasing your serotonin levels.
- It improves your sleep and sleep cycles by stimulating the production of melatonin in your body – which also has other health benefits.
We live more sedentary lives and are regularly being told that too much time glued to our smart phones and tablets is not good for us and our kids on a number of levels. Devices, social media and the various apps and games can limit our social skills, affect our sleep and impact on our anxiety levels.
Hopefully the excitement of camping and the many opportunities it presents will be a distraction from the devices anyway, but if not there’s always the excuse that there’s not enough room to pack them or that they can’t be charged (even if they can).
Sometimes problems just can’t be solved when they are staring at you in the face. Being cost effective and a far cry from your everyday life, camping gives you more opportunities to escape from your mad schedule and to pause and reflect on life, what is going well and not going well, the choices you’ve made, priorities for the future and how to move forward.
Looking back at your problems from a distance, rather than being engulfed in them, can really help you to see the forest from the trees – to inspire solutions, enthusiasm, new challenges and opportunities.
10: Building life and survival skills
Camping can build survival and life skills, both for us and our children. While it is important to be properly prepared, camping takes us out of our comfort zone and into an unfamiliar environment where we will need to adapt, solve problems, improvise and cope with whatever comes our way, whether it be starting a fire, navigating your way out of the bush, dealing with a storm, fixing a broken tent pole, sealing an airbed leak or even just cooking a meal.
Taking risks and facing challenges develops resilience, independence and self-esteem, and can be especially beneficial for the kids. And these are all skills and experiences that they will want to pass on to their children.
In fact, in their article, Building Resilience in Children, Beyond Blue discussed the importance of resilience in a child's mental health in helping them to learn to cope with the challenges of life and to bounce back from adversity.
Such things as building independence, developing relationships with other adults and peers well as encouraging them to take on personal challenges all help to achieve resilience in children and are a direct mental health benefit of camping.
11: Inexpensive accommodation
Camping is not just for holidays. You may need to find accommodation while you are travelling to visit a friend, attend a celebration or attend or participate in a festival or sporting event. Camping provides you with a very inexpensive accommodation option by comparison to a hotel or cabin.
So, if you want to give camping a go, then go for it - it's well worth the effort. We have a whole raft of resources here on this site, and if you want to fast track your camping, then head over to The Campus.