Camping trips can be a wonderful time of bonding for a family. The memories of a good camping trip will last for years to come. That said, the memories of a disastrous camping trip can last even longer. Those memories aren’t always good ones, either.
While it’s impossible to predict every little minor inconvenience and plan for every contingency, there are some common camping trip disasters you can take steps to avoid.
Here are some mistakes campers have made in the past, and some ideas about what you can do to avoid them:
The Great Goose Chase
One of the advantages of bringing your lodging along with you is that you don’t have to plan ahead farther than you want to. If you want to spend an extra day or two in one area, you don’t have to call a hotel and change your reservation. You simply stay put.
However, this doesn’t always work out very well. One family we know decided they’d spend a couple of weeks traveling around from one Civil War battlefield to the next. After dinner outside of Gettysburg, they decided they wanted to pull up stakes and head to Antietam. While the campground they were planning on visiting in Antietam was only about an hour away, they found themselves delayed first by a traffic backup and then by a flat tire of their own.When they arrived at the campground at around 11 PM, they discovered that it was full. They proceeded to check out three other nearby campgrounds – all full as well. By 1 AM, the family realized there wasn’t a campsite within 50 miles to be had. They would up checking into a hotel at around 3 AM.
The moral of the story here: a campsite in the hand is worth two down the road. Call ahead, make reservations when feasible, and don’t pull up stakes until you’ve got somewhere else to go.
Another family decided to make the trek from Michigan down to Disney World in Orlando. Thinking ahead, they packed food enough for the two weeks they’d spend traveling.
Unfortunately, that first night outside of Jellico Tennessee, they’d meet with disaster. While the family was enjoying the park’s evening activities, a family of raccoons decided to enter the camper via a window that had been left open. When the family returned to the camper, they saw that not only was their food gone, much of the inside of the camper was in disarray.
The family was able to stop at a local grocery store the next day and resupply, but simply closing the camper up when it’s unattended would have saved them a two week grocery bill.
Should have taken a left at Albuquerque
When you’re on those long stretches of highway like America’s Route 66, everything can start to look the same. That’s what one Ohio family discovered recently on a trip out west.Anxious to reach Las Vegas, the adults took turns driving the RV through the night. After stopping to fuel up just inside the New Mexico border, the driver proceeded to head out.
After a few hours of driving, when the rest of the family was awake, he was surprised to find that not only was he not nearer to Las Vegas, but he’d actually driven several hundred miles back East and was now in Oklahoma. Needless to say, they wound up in Vegas much later than they had originally hoped.
A combination of a reliable GPS system and alert drivers can help avoid this travel disaster. There are all sorts of other camping trip disasters you can avoid with just a little bit of forethought and planning. Running out of gas, not properly securing your camper’s equipment, leaving loose items out while traveling down the road, and not being prepared for bugs or sun are all common mistakes.
Don’t let your camping trip turn into a disaster. While you don’t have to plan out every minute of every day, you do need to be prepared. Bring extra blankets and jugs of water. Use a physical atlas for those times when the GPS doesn’t seem to be working right. Do some research on different campgrounds to make sure they have the amenities you need. Most of all, be willing and ready to make adjustments to your plan as the circumstances change.