Getting off the grid and heading to the great outdoors has always been appealing to many. But the travel and social restraints brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic made it a more popular travel option than ever before. And though the world is opening up again and resembling our more “normal” pre-coronavirus days, camping is still predicted to be a top choice for a summer vacation in 2021.
Read on to find out why camping continues to be a great way to travel to explore somewhere new and how to make your summer camping adventure one for the memory books.
Why Choose Camping This Summer
If you’ve never camped before you may be a bit apprehensive about trying it for the first time. But no need to worry that you’ll be among only those with lots of experience who know what they’re doing. In fact, 2020 saw more first-time campers than ever before, according to the KOA North American Camping Report, in the U.S. the number of new campers was five times greater than what was observed in 2019.” It is estimated that the impact of Covid-19 led to an additional 7.7 million first-time campers.
With a vast number of hotel and vacation rentals to choose from, some may wonder why camping will continue to be such an alluring way to vacation. But there are lots of benefits to choosing camping.
On top of being able to experience nature at its finest, here are a few reasons to include camping as part of your summer travel plans.
- Give Yourself/Family a Digital Detox – eMarketer writes that adults added an extra hour of digital time to their day in 2020. With less activities to do, it meant we were tied to our devices more than ever before. And we all know how much children upped their screen time between remote schooling and parents trying to keep them entertained while they worked. If there was ever a time for a digital detox now would be it. For all the benefits a digital detox can bring, we suggest you read this article from Verywell Mind.
- Save Money – Even if you can find good deals, nightly rates for hotels and vacation rentals will usually be more expensive than paying for a spot to camp, park your RV or even for a cabin. Additionally, most people eat out a lot on vacation, but with camping, you’ll be cooking your own food which is much more affordable. Lastly, you can skip the spendy souvenir shops and go for a hike or fish instead.
- Avoid Crowds – Whether you’ve been vaccinated or not, the pandemic may have made you realize that you prefer to avoid crowded situations. One of the best things about camping is that you don’t have to be around a bunch of people. If this sounds appealing to you, camping is a great travel choice.
- Lots of Activity Options – So many people were confined to the indoors for months and unable to keep up with their regular exercise routine. Unlike a beach vacation, camping is a great way to stay active and moving. Hiking and camping go hand in hand, so we suggest getting out on those trails to get some exercise while you enjoy the beauty around you.
Still want to fly somewhere tropical and stay in a hotel? Who says you can’t have both?! We certainly think fitting a camping trip into your travel plans this summer will keep it interesting and fun for everyone.
Camping Accommodation Choices for Summer Travelers
When it comes to camping, you basically have three main choices. Among the three, you may not know which option may be best for you and your family. Here we’ve provided some considerations to help you narrow down where you’ll want to stay for your next camping trip.
Tent Camping: KOA’s camping report shared that the majority of first-time campers chose tent camping, coming in at 67%. Tent camping has historically been the most popular option, but the percentage increased significantly in 2020.
For the fullest camping experience, this is a great way to go. It’s also inexpensive and a great way to go if you have a larger group. If this will be your first time camping in a tent, we have lots of great tips to share in “Tent Camping for Beginners” blog post.
RV: Fox Business reported that RV sales soared in 2020, which isn’t surprising with so many more people choosing to camp. If your family or group wants to move from destination to destination while also having access to more modern cooking and bath facilities, an RV is a great choice. And if you aren’t in the market to buy just yet, you can opt to rent, as well.
Cabin: If you are still hesitant about staying in a tent or an RV isn’t in your budget, a cabin can be a excellent choice that still allows for the peace and quiet a typical camping adventure can bring. Those who are used to hotel stays may find that staying in a cabin still gives them those extra comforts they desire. A few benefits to cabin camping are that packing is a bit easier, you’ll be in closer proximity to others, stay dry from any wet weather and you’ll likely sleep better, too.
No matter which accommodation sounds best for you and your family, you’ll want to book far in advance – especially with so many more travelers expected for 2021. We suggest reserving your spot through Reserve America or you can often book directly through your state’s Parks and Wildlife or state parks website.
New Summer Camping Options in 2021
Whether you’re brand new to camping or you have a lot of experience, this could be your year to try something you wouldn’t have originally considered. Here are a few ways to change up your camping trip to get the most out of this summer.
- Adventure Further From Home
KOA reports that pre-Covid, most campers stayed within 50 miles from home. But in 2020, it was much more common for people to camp at least 100 miles away from home. Short weekend trips of the past meant families chose to stay closer to home, but because many people used camping as their main form of traveling in 2020, they opted to go further away and stay gone for a bit longer. With remote work and schooling flexibility more common, campers will likely be able to continue to choose a campsite further from home.
Additionally, satellite phone and internet options are becoming more common and affordable, making an outback adventure a more viable option.
- Work While Camping
As much as we all wish the pandemic never happened, there were certainly some silver linings that came out of it. One of those was how many companies realized how successful they could remain even with most of their employees working remotely. And though some of these companies are slowly moving their workers back to the office, many are not. According to this article from CNN, employers expect nearly 2 in 5 employees will still be working remotely at year’s end.
So why not extend that camping trip and work from the great outdoors? With so many campsites offering WiFi, you don’t have to book it back to be in your home office on Monday morning. And if you do want to work while being completely off the grid? You can easily do that by purchasing a satellite BGAN terminal WiFi hotspot that will allow you to stay connected and conduct business as usual.
- Opt for a Glamping Experience
If bugs, cooking over a campfire and practically sleeping on a bed of pine needles has never really been your thing, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get that great outdoor experience. There will always be the naysayers who say staying in a cabin or even an RV isn’t “real camping” but then those aren’t your people anyway.
“Glamping,” which is a cross between the words “glamourous” and “camping” just means you have access to more amenities than you would if you were tent camping. Not only can you have access to an oven and stove for cooking, as well as your own personal indoor plumbing, but you can also find campgrounds that offer lots of additional opportunities for fun that are different than what you’d get in the wilderness. Sun RV Resorts has options around the U.S. offering lots of fun for the entire family.
Summer Camping Mistakes to Avoid
You don’t have to be an expert to go camping, and clearly, new campers are loving this new form of travel as the number of people choosing it is expected to stay high in 2021. But as with embarking on anything new, you’ll want to prepare well and know what you’re getting into.
- Don’t forget what you need. Camping isn’t the type of travel where you can just run to the store and pick something up if you forget it. Though you won’t have much to worry about when you actually arrive, there is quite a bit of pre-planning that goes into a successful camping trip. We’ve compiled our top camping resources as well as included a printable packing list here.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to book. Lots of people think camping means you can just get in your car and find a nice spot to park your RV or pitch a tent, but just like with a hotel, you’re going to need a reservation for most places. And with camping seeing such a stark rise in popularity, it’s going to be important to book early so you can snag a desirable location.
- Don’t assume you’ll be able to start a fire. If there’s a fire pit and you have firewood, it should be easy enough to start a fire, right? Wrong. Getting the hang of starting a fire is actually pretty tricky. We suggest reading articles such as this one or watching YouTube videos so you know exactly how to start that fire once you arrive. Though there are DIY options, if it’s your first time, you may want to opt for purchasing a fire starter such as the ones found here.
- Don’t be unsafe. Being in the wilderness can be freeing, but you also have to be safe and smart. If you are staying somewhere more off the grid where there aren’t a lot of people nearby or you plan to go hiking, you need to make sure you’re taking the proper safety precautions. This includes things like bringing sunscreen and bug spray, locking up your trash at night to keep bears away, paying attention to the weather and bringing a satellite phone in case of emergencies.
No need to be worried about anything as long as you are prepared. With a bit of extra foresight and planning, camping is a safe and fun way to travel. Enjoy your next adventure!