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Family Camping Vacations: The Great Outdoors and the Basics

GayHeadLighthouse01

If you’re already an avid camper or already take money saving family camping vacations, then you probably have well established equipment ideas. Better yet, you probably have your preparation and packing process down pat. However, for those of you who may be considering family camping vacations and are new to camping, here are a few of the essentials, basics, and some things that you simply may not have thought of or remembered.

Shelter

The most important thing to have for your camping adventure is shelter. Shelter from the possible extremes is essential. Even if you are not surrounded by inclement weather, things such as spiders and snakes do exist and the need to protect you and your family from them is all-important. Whether you plan on using a camping trailer or a tent, your shelter should fit your family’s style and needs.

Of course, a little research goes a long way when first purchasing your tent. Ask your friends and family who have camping experience which brand they use and prefer. Go to many of the different sporting goods stores and even shop around online a little bit before settling into any one choice.

Camping tents come in various shapes and sizes:

  • 2-person tent
  • Family tent
  • Dome tents
  • Stand up tents

A great idea is to look into food tents once you have made up your mind which sleeping tent you want. Food tents can protect and preserve food against weather and animals as well. Keeping your food safely tucked away and far away from your sleeping quarters is an excellent idea – even if we were in a tent, I always put the food in the car overnight… that seemed to work well.

Bedding

Once you have selected what size and style tent you desire, it is a good idea to purchase sleeping bags that are warm and waterproof. Also, think about buying a blow up single mattress for those in your party who do not like “roughing it” as much – I’ve seen some great choices. And because of the way we humans are constructed, pillows generally make for more comfortable sleeping.

Camping at some times of the year and in some locations, such as those surrounded by mountains, can get very chilly at night, so you probably want to take along extra thermal blankets and sleeping bags to cover up in.

Cookware

The location of your campsite will dictate how much and what to bring. If you are close to a food supply store, you can pack a little lighter. However, if you are really roughing it, you can always bring along canned and dehydrated food just in case.

  • Camping stove with fuel and lighter or if you are bringing your barbeque, then charcoal, matches, and lighter fluid
  • Frying pan with a lid
  • Pot with a lid
  • Cooking skewers
  • Can opener
  • Tongs for turning sausages and hot dogs
  • Spatula for flipping burgers

Of course paper plates, napkins, and utensils and cooking foil are a must, along with plastic cups. Don’t forget to bring tons of water.

Extras

You will also want to bring some extra miscellaneous items with you that you may not have thought of originally:

  • Lanterns
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Flyswatters
  • Garbage bags
  • Soap, sponges, and scrubbers for dishes and a basin to wash stuff in
  • Camping chairs
  • A sewing kit
  • Toiletries including toilet paper
  • A car battery charger for your cell phone

friendly_garter_snakeThese are just the basics to get you started on your camping adventure. And, of course, don’t forget the photo gear – you’ll want great pictures of your family enjoyment, and the great scenes and sights you see while you’re there.

Camping World

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DanSig-02

9 “Be Prepared” Travel Tips… Things Don’t Always Go as Expected

Leaning_Tower_PisaAs you prepare for your summer vacation, either just the two of you or with the whole family, always remember that the planning doesn’t stop when you buy your tickets. Here are some areas that you’ll want to, “Be Prepared” for when those unforeseen bumps in the road happen. Remember what General (Later President) Dwight Eisenhower said: “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” As a General planning for the D Day invasion, he knew that all the plans became almost useless as soon as the first shot was fired because you never knew what the other guys would do… but if you had gone through the exercise of carefully looking at the possibilities and planning accordingly, when the unexpected actually happened, it had been foreseen, and people could react quickly and correctly. The same goes for your vacation. Here are a few good ideas for your pre-vacation planning.

  • Trip insurance is a good idea – you never know what’s going to pop up, and especially for those taking vacations under less than ideal financial circumstances, the insurance may save a complete washout.
  • Phone contact numbers – put all the necessary numbers (including yours on the trip and embassy numbers) on one page, and make photocopies. Keep copies with you at all times. Leave copies with relatives and neighbors so they can easily get in touch with you… and you can get in touch with them. If you are planning to travel outside your normal cell phone service area (as, for instance when my wife went on a mission trip to Uganda) make sure your arrange for temporary international service so you can easily keep in touch – though keep the higher calling rates in mind.
  • Tattoo your country’s embassy phone number on your wrist – Just foolin’ really, but if you are planning to travel outside your own country, make sure you know how to contact your embassy in case of any trouble. You’ll want to keep this information with you at all times (like all the other phone numbers)… just in case.
  • The hotel safe… is. Most newer hotel rooms these days come equipped with a safe where you can store your valuables. Use it!
  • Get all your necessary shots. Again, traveling outside your own country, take the necessary precaution of getting all necessary shots (again, for my wife’s mission trip to Uganda, she had quite a list of shots she needed). Once you have the shots, make copies of your vaccination list and keep them several places. You’ll need it if you take another trip outside the country, and if you get sick overseas, the local doctors should know what you have been vaccinated for.
  • Make sure you have enough of your prescription medications for your trip… plus a little extra. And, if your prescriptions are particularly critical, before you go, locate a possible place to renew at your local destinations – before you go.
  • Take photocopies of your passport and credit cards. Leave the copy with a trusted family member, and keep a copy with you… and one in that hotel safe. This way, if any of these are lost, you can easily call to arrange for credit cards to be stopped and to get a new passport.
  • Bring over-the-counter meds that can help with various internal distresses, headaches, etc.
  • Carry a small compact umbrella. Hey, you never know.

You can see where this is all going. By planning and being prepared, you will spend more of your vacation time enjoying yourself and less on dealing with problems if they arise. And, you know, one of the things that I have found is that the more prepared you are, the fewer problems arise.

Enjoy…

DanSig-02

How to Fund Travel – Fascinating Web Site

Vacation Sea TurtleI just found an interesting web site: How to Fund Travel.

For those of us interested in travel for our family and family vacations, but may be looking at temporary tight financial times, this site is not by some mystical guru or travel insider, but a large collection of interviews with actual travelers. And these interviews detail how these travelers are able to see and experience many places we all may think out of reach… but they show you how it is actually possible.

Since I just discovered the site, I haven’t had time for a full review, but as you make plans your your summer vacation, a visit, and membership at HowtoFundTravel.com would be time and a few dollars well invested. What I also find excellent, there is no long term commitment involved… you sign up and use what you need… then cancel – the good without the bad… cool!

DanSig-02


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