Camping, getting away from it all, disconnecting from technology … and spending it all in close quarters with your parents, in-laws or siblings? It’s not as scary as it sounds and, in fact, can actually be one of the best, most memorable family trips you plan this year. You might even find yourself planning a similar getaway for next year. The only thing you’ll want to be sure you do is follow these five tips.
When you’re traveling in the more traditional sense with the whole family, accommodations are a little easier to plan out. You either reserve the corresponding number of hotel rooms or book an Airbnb or beach house that sleeps the right number of people. If your version of camping includes a cabin, then you won’t have further difficulty in this decision-making process. However, if you’re going out with a tent or RV, things can get a little hairier. Think long and hard about your travel companions: how high maintenance they are, how many crawling toddlers will be wrangled and how many couples will want to have a little alone time (if just for peace of mind). You may want to rent an RV for the adults and, if you have older kids, leave the tent camping to them. Or, you might want to invest in smaller, two-person tents for the adults, and get a bigger tent that can hold all the kids. Whatever works for your family, make sure you think it through ahead of time.
There are many things you can’t leave home without when camping, the little things you never even think you need until they’re gone. Toilet paper, trash bags, a disposable tablecloth — if you’ve been camping before, you know the drill. But if you’ve never been camping with your family, you might not think through each item and the exact quantity you need. Instead of each couple or household arriving with one of everything, split up some of the items, so no one overpacks. If you’re bringing a grill, assign that to the person with the largest set up to feed the most people. If someone has a large canopy, there’s no reason to bring another. If one person invested in the extra-large quantity of bug spray at Costco, share the love.
Plan Your Menus
Along the same lines, plan your camping menus as a team, so you can feed the most people at the best price. Buy what you can in bulk and pitch in whatever item you make best (even if you’re just providing the drinks and beer for the weekend). Think of it like a weekend- or week-long tailgate and you’ll do just fine.
Never Assume Anything
As you plan your multigenerational camping trip, never assume anything. Don’t think someone else has the paper towels covered or that there’s no reason for you to bring your cooler full of ice when your brother has that huge one. Don’t assume your parents are supplying the food or that your nephew’s naptime isn’t going to take precedence over your perfectly planned hiking excursion. Communicate, ask questions and speak up if you have a useful thought.
While camping can be stressful (there’s so much to go wrong!), if you don’t let it just roll right off your shoulders, you’ll find yourself squabbling with your family members in no time. Instead, relax, go with the flow and enjoy your uninterrupted quality time with the people who know you best.