Thursday, 24 July 2014

How To Camp With A Toddler and Two Dogs

Goodness, what A title. Sounds virtually impossible doesn't it? It isn't. Well, it boarders on impossible. But, there's a few perks to the adventure that makes it more than possible. I mean, don't get me wrong - I didn't say 'How To Make Camping with A Toddler and Two Dogs Easy.' Oh no, I never mentioned the word 'easy'. That word never passed my lips. But, hey if it were easy we would all be doing it wouldn't we? Too right. It would appear that only the mildly insane amongst us risk it for a biscuit where this style of family holiday is concerned.
Well, risk it we did. And, guess what? We survived with stories to tell and snapshots in our memories that will last for years. So, no not impossible. Completely possible.

First things first ...

  1. Be Organised
    When it was just the two of us and 1 dog packing the morning that we went really wasn't that difficult nor was it the end of the world. But, trust me do that with a toddler and the kid really will feel like his world is ending. No 18 month old feels happy hanging around on the spot waiting for his parents to spend hours packing tent poles, wet wipes and dog leads into the back of a car that he is desperate to jump into. Don't do it. However, if you do - Best of luck and I'm sure you will learn from your mistake.
    We spent the day before getting ourselves sorted. Trailer packed, car packed, dogs exercised, clothes ironed, cases zipped etc. Everything that you know needs taking sort it the day before. No doubt, the morning of the trip will arrive and you will still find yourself hanging around for an hour or so sorting bits. so, don't add to your stagnant time.
    Oh, by the way. I say 'Be Organised' But, no matter how 'organised' we try to be we are still pathetically 'disorganised' it's untrue. But, we try. Oh, we do try.
  2.  Do A Mini Food Shop Don't be duped into buying everything you possibly need from the local store or even the on site shop. It will work out expensive that way and to be honest, a fair bit of effort. Imagine this - "Dear, I fancy a rich tea with my coffee. Could you pass me them please?" Partner responds somewhat thus - "Yes. sure dear. Let me just pop to the shop to get them for you." No fun. No fun at all.
    If a little frugal like us, get yourself to Lidl, fill some stackable boxes (Great for packing) with your grub and be on your way.
  3. Take Toys (and Another Child If Possible).If your kidlet is anything like mine, they are on the go constantly unless sleeping. So, don't be fooled that the sea air and pretty views will be enough to occupy them for hours on end while you cook, wash up, clean up, peg down and set up.
    We took a box full to the brim of book, cars and animals for Moose to play with and even that wasn't enough. We kept topping it up as we visited places.
    We found that as soon as Moose had company different to ourselves he would be occupied for far longer. I guess, initially the thought of taking numerous children with you camping is a fright. But, I believe in many ways your trip will be made easier by doing so. They would keep each other company and be a different face from yours.
  4. Be Safe Drive safely, pitch your tent safely, enjoy the beach and sea safely, have fun in all that you do. But, do it all safely.
    If pitching near a road think about your sleeping arrangements. Perhaps invest in some solar lights. That way cars at night can see your tent and take their speed into consideration. Think about what you are pitching next to. Steps to the beach? A cliff top? Car park? Stream? etc: Be safe!
    Remember that the Sea although fun fun fun can be a very dangerous place. Think about swimming aids (if needed) and keeping a close eye on the kidlets. Be safe!
    I guess, it goes for everything when camping. There is a little danger in the whole experience. But, if your sensible and organised all will be well.
  5. Expect A Rainy DayYour camping. Of course it is going to rain at some point during your stay. it's like the camping law. Expect it. Don't let a rainy day take you by surprise. There is nothing worse. It's going to rain, you're going to get wet, it will be grim. But, it will pass in time and in a way it is a little adventure. Try and be prepared for the rain drops. Take suitable clothes and footwear for all the family. be ready with snacks and hot drinks. Make sure nothing is touching the sides of your tent. This way nothing will get wet. Take time to check out local attractions. There may be something nearby that you can enjoy on a rainy day. But, don't forget the dogs.
  6. Enjoy YourselvesThis is the most important piece of advice that I can give you. Enjoy yourselves. What you are doing with your family is exciting. It is a holiday like no other and it is worth savouring every single moment. Take as many photographs as you can of your family. Enjoy being so close to the ones that love. On this camping holiday you will sleep together, eat together, wash together, do chores together, play together and drink together amongst other things. So, take this time to enjoy it. You wake to each other faces every single morning and sleep knowing that they are beside you. Take the time to see how great your family is. Enjoy every minute. Enjoy yourselves!
Camping is wonderful and we love to do it. Give it a go. You never know, you might just enjoy it!