When it comes to traveling with kids, things can get messy—and we mean that both literally and figuratively. If you’re caught unprepared or have unrealistic expectations, an otherwise great vacation can quickly sour, especially when it comes to camping. Preparedness is essential for any outdoor trip, but even more so when kids are involved, which is why we enlisted the help of a professional.
“Having interacted with families seeking a camping adventure at Newport Dunes for more than 20 years, I have witnessed, firsthand, the trials and tribulations they face,” said Rick Vara, camping aficionado & director of RV operations at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort. He shared a few of his top tips for ensuring the whole family has an enjoyable trip.
Include your children in the planning process and try a test run in the backyard. Teach the children how to pitch a tent, help them become familiar with the sounds of the outdoors, point out constellations, etc. This will prepare them for the experience.
Pick the Right Location
If it's your first time camping with your children, it's best to stay closer to home. Regardless of where you go, research the venue in advance to have a good idea of the rules, activities, requirements and restrictions.
Don’t Forget the Necessities
Make a checklist before you leave the house. This list should include (but is not limited to): a first aid kit, fire starting kit, bug spray, sun block, aspirin, glow sticks and/or flashlights, batteries for any electronics you bring, camera and, of course, ingredients for S'mores.
Check the Weather
It seems simple, but always check the weather before you leave for any trip—especially when a trip where you’ll be sleeping outdoors.
Do not over pack. Try to lighten your load by getting rid of cardboard and plastic wrapping on food, but don't forget snacks and plenty of liquids (especially water). Remember to bring along a few entertainment items such as cards, football, beach balls, squirt guns, bubble blowers, Frisbees, etc.