Is your family the type to curl up their noses in horror with the mere mention of a camping trip? Dropping the word ‘tent’ into conversation may result in moans and groans. If so, it is actually possible to appeal to everyone, you just have to learn to sell it the right way. Continue reading for our advice on how you can do this.
Visit somewhere interesting
The location of your trip really does matter. If your first camping trip in years results in you visiting the back end of nowhere and providing little or no interest to the decision makers of the family (the teens!), you will never be able to persuade them to go away with you ever again. It is easy to say that the most important thing is family, but if you have teenagers, you will be well aware that although it is true, they won’t care about that. Not really anyway.
You could involve the whole family in choosing where you will visit. Alternatively, narrow it down and give each person the choice of a place within a certain distance. They should research it fully and then present it, trying to sell the idea to everyone else. At the end of the presentations, family members should vote for the place they would most like to go. As well as your destination, consider some pit stops along the way. Ensure that there is a visit for everyone to avoid any accusations of favoritism.
Upgrade your camping gear
Rather than everyone cramming themselves into the smallest possible tent, investing in a multi-room one can improve the situation for everyone. As your children grow, it is vital to respect their privacy. Furthermore, it will also give them the opportunity to simply relax rather than feeling that their every move is being watched and possibly analyzed by their parents. Purchasing a tent which is easy to erect is also recommended.
For some, the thought of going through the ordeal of hammering endless tent pegs into a rock-hard ground is just too much. Knowing that the experience will be made somewhat less stressful could really win people over. Alternatively, you could investigate the option of hiring a camper van or Winnebago to make the trip even more special (and comfortable).
Take home comforts
For some people, the mention of the word ‘camping’ equates to dread about not being able to use a proper toilet, wash on a regular basis or have a decent night’s sleep. These concerns are entirely understandable, but not unsurmountable. If you are visiting a campsite, investigate in advance its facilities and try to choose one that has a shower and toilet block.
Alternatively, you could invest in a portable camping shower (check here). Comfort is very important too. Spending a little extra on a sleeping bag to avoid getting cold is worthwhile. Likewise, taking some pillows or investing in a camp bed can be inexpensive ways to make everyone more likely to wake up with smiles on their faces.
Bring a friend
It is easy to feel bored when you feel trapped with your family at a young age. If your children and teenagers would feel happier to bring a friend along, then what is stopping you?
It can help to alleviate their boredom as well as allowing them a bit of extra freedom. Furthermore, it can make games more interesting if there are a higher number of participants. The lack of Wi-Fi and social media on their mobile phone while you are in the wilderness will probably be less noticeable if they have someone with whom to communicate.
Plan tasty meals
Living on burnt sausages and burgers for a few days does not appeal to many people. It is possible to cook much more exciting meals while you are camping, and you could even encourage your children to get involved and help. Planning meals in advance will make everyone feel a part of the trip. Although they may be basic, that does not stop them from being delicious.
Always have a packet of marshmallows ready for dessert to toast over your campfire. In addition to cooking for the family, it is always a great idea to have a meal in a local restaurant. It gives the chief cook a break as well as allowing you all to choose what you fancy rather than being restricted. Some campsites are located close to pizza shops who will deliver, so that could be another way of encouraging enthusiasm.
Check the forecast
You could have found an idyllic location, perfect for all the family. You could have found a site with stunning scenery and endless activities suitable for all. You could even have discovered a very reasonably priced break that your teens are raving about. But none of those things matter at all if the weather ruins the trip for you. Unless you have booked the vacation months in advance and the cost is non-refundable, it would be worth trying to see if you can rearrange.
Imagine the sound of rain beating down onto a tent and dreading peeking out of the zip, knowing the only sight will be gray drizzle all around. For most, these images will fill you with dread. Choosing a time of year when the weather is notoriously pleasant is recommended. Of course, you may have an all-weather family and a bit of rain might not bother them, but for most, this would be a make or break situation.
If all else fails, we have one final trick up our sleeve. Not a favorite parenting technique, but sometimes needs must: bribery can work wonders when it comes to twisting your family members around your little finger. Whether you say that they can choose the vacation destination for the next three years or that they can get out of doing chores for the next few weeks, finding something that will make them forego their disappointed feelings in favor of attending and participating in a camping trip may actually work.