We’re suckers for camping and we are heading back to France for another three weeks of it very soon! There’s just something about spending basically all your time outside surrounded by nature that is hard to equal. Since we both have quite a bit of experience camping in tents, and have gotten a bit better at it through a lot of trial and error over time, it’s time for us to share our camping tips. We’ll give you these tips over three separate blogs. Click here for the first one on how to prepare for your camping trip. In this second blog we’ll tell you all about how to find the perfect camping spot! Let us know below what tip you found useful!
Tent camping tip 1: Camping is cheap, but it’s all relative
One of the reasons camping is a great way of vacationing, is the rather low cost for staying somewhere. But even low costs are relative. We’ve camped in a dozen or so countries throughout Europe, and noticed that the same level of comfort can cost quite a lot more in countries such as Switzerland or Italy. Campsites are relatively expensive there, compared to for example neighboring France. Of course, each of these countries has their unique culture and nature to offer, but if budget is a part of your consideration then try looking into the expected costs for your particular situation before you go and see if the price difference is worth it to you. This is probably part of the reason we keep ending up back in France, with nights costing as little as €10 to €15 regularly.
Tent camping tip 2: What are you hoping to find at the campsite?
There’s a lot of factors to consider to try to find the perfect campsite for your needs. If you travel with kids, some more amenities and activities would be useful, but chances are the campsite will be a lot bigger and busier. If, like for us, that’s not your thing, look into finding some smaller, more basic campsites. There are some useful websites to use for campsites. For campsites in Europe, we often refer to Eurocampings, available in 12 languages. This website gives a perfect overview of all the available campsites with accurate description and reviews! In our opinion, Eurocampings offers a more complete view of the camping than for example Google Maps does.
Be aware though; low report scores for a campsite aren’t always a bad thing, as low scores for activities and amenities may just mean it’s one of the quieter, smaller campsites.
If you’re traveling in the high season and with some specific wishes, then you’re best off booking a bit in advance as campsites can get especially busy. Otherwise, we’d thoroughly recommend you not to book too far in advance, so you can adjust your plans according to the weather and your changing needs during the holiday. Maybe you’d like to have a campsite with a swimming pool after a few weeks of more basic camping… 😉
Tent camping tip 3: Camping in the mountains? Take the altitude into account!
If you’re keen on camping in the mountains, you’ll be able to find some of the most beautiful campsites there are. But all set up, you may find yourself shivering at dinner and freezing at night. So, a crucial aspect to take into account is the altitude of the camping! Nighttime temperatures can be surprisingly low (as for every 165 meter rise in altitude, the temperature decreases by 1 degree Celsius) and the sun can set a lot earlier behind the mountains. Not a problem if you are prepared for this and maybe even want to escape the summer heat. But don’t let it surprise you! Definitely look into the nighttime temperatures and which side of the campsites the mountains are on. We use Google Maps terrain overlay to easily see the altitude of a certain location, and would generally say that anything over 700 meters of altitude (in Europe) requires some extra consideration of the weather.
Tent camping tip 4: choose the best spot ón the campsite
Once you’ve found a campsite and made your way there, there’s still one crucial aspect to get right: finding the perfect spot. A lot of campsites will offer you an opportunity to choose your own spot, even if the campsite isn’t all that full. Whenever we have a choice, we usually compare spots based on:
- how level they are. If you’re sleeping on a mat on the ground, straight ground is a must. And if you really can’t find a straight spot, make sure your head is at the highest spot to prevent a headache the next day and you don’t roll diagonally off the mat or air mattress.
- the amount of shade. Checking to see how much shade you can expect, at what time of day and where in the spot, can make a big difference. If you want late sunlight to stay warm, but a big tree blocks it for most of the evening, you may just be forced to sit inside or wear some extra layers. Yet if you’re staying in a warm location, the shade can be very welcome!
- proximity of the sanitary facilities. We always choose to not be too close to them, as you might catch some of the light, noise or smell…
- proximity to the swimming pool. Looks amazing to be close to the pool, but spending the day listening to screaming children isn’t really our hobby 😉
- light posts around the spot. If you’re in a tent, the light can be pretty disturbing at night, especially if you’ve unknowingly placed your tent right underneath a light.
We hope these four tips help you find the perfect camping spot! We’ll at least put these tips into practice on our upcoming camping trip to France 🙂 Next week, we’ve got a few more tips on how to come across as a truly experienced camper, in the final of three blogs full of tent camping tips! Keep your eyes peeled…
What is your favorite country to go camping in? Let us know by leaving a response below or on our Instagram!
Kirsten & Thomas