Camping is a great way to spend your holiday, but after a few trips in Britain, you might be tempted to set your sights farther afield and try a camping trip abroad. Plenty of people do it every year, in Europe and beyond, but it’s something that requires meticulous planning to be successful.
If you thought preparing for a camping trip in the same country took a while, it’s nothing compared to taking your tent abroad. You’ll need to balance having everything you need with taking the smallest amount possible – and that’s not easy to juggle. But it’s all in the planning.
The Basics to Have Before Camping Abroad
How much you carry depends largely on how you’re travelling. If it’s a backpack camping trip then you’ll need to strip everything down to the very basics. With a car (if you’re going to Europe, say) you have more leeway. Look at what you have and ask yourself – what can I do without?
Much depends on where you’re going, and what time of year, of course, but remember that even in the tropics nights can turn cold, so make sure you have enough to keep you warm.
It’s vital that you have adequate travel insurance, no matter where you’re going. There are plenty of places to buy it and compare prices, and if you’re going into Europe obtain a European Health Insurance card. It costs nothing, and ensures that you can obtain free emergency care anywhere in the EU.
If you take any medications, have enough with you to last through the entire trip, and some to spare, just in case.
Don’t carry too much cash. You’re much better off taking a debit and credit card (don’t take all your cards!) and getting cash from an ATM as you need it, or having traveller’s cheques (don’t have them all fully signed before you cash them). You might pay for the privilege, but it’s safer. It’s well worth investing in a money belt that can be worn under your clothes to keep cards, cash and passport safe from pickpockets.
What about communication? You can take your mobile to keep in touch with people at home, but if so be certain you take your charger, with the right adapters for the countries you’re visiting. It’s also worth considering buying SIM cards for the countries where you’ll be staying, since it will make calling much cheaper. Make sure you know in advance where you can access power if you don’t have an electric hook up.
Just as important as what you’re taking is making sure all your paperwork is in order. As said, travel insurance is vital, but depending on where you’re travelling, you might need to have a visa, and if you’re taking the family dog, check to see what paperwork you’ll need – at the very least you’ll need a certificate saying all the injections are up to date (even before that, check that you can take the dog into the country without any problems).
Make sure that you have the addresses and numbers of British consulates and embassies where you’re going. With luck you’ll never need to use them, but in the event of any problems, like a lost or stolen passport, they can be invaluable in helping you get home.
As backup, carry a piece of paper somewhere with the numbers of the credit and debit cards you’re carrying, as well as a phone number you can use to report them lost or stolen if necessary (you might need to talk to your bank to find the appropriate number from abroad). It’s also worth having a photocopy of the identification page of your passport with the numbers, or you could send a scan of it to yourself at a webmail address that can be accessed from any computer, anywhere.