I've just completed a driver's license for big trailer. Yeah! Only the item plant a tree is remaining on my bucket list of a good father. Also, I'm considering to replace our expensive BMW with a 4×4 AWD Truck with limited electronics. Anyway, let's dive in camping photos and tips for camping beginners.
It's raining. Heavily. Raindrops, apples & plums dropping on a rooftop of an old caravan. Sudden loss of electricity, had kicked Italians from their camper, to check what's happening. Our BMW is in a repair shop. I'm making tea on gas burner. So, basically, an awesome evening somewhere in Prague's campsite with unknown date of departure.
How to Calculate Campsite Price
Let's briefly summarise several tips, that can save you time and money quick. Your first caravanning trip in Europe could become even more fun & joy.
If we sleep in hotel, there's usually just one number to care about. It's price of a room for one night. In European camping it's a little bit more complex. Even though you spend €10 to €30 per night per family on average, the calculation contains a lot of variables mostly controlled by the campsite owner.
The price depends on season, number of people, kids age, electricity connection, size of your rig, larger parking space, lookout place on the coast, pets and so on. In most cases you can choose which individual options you'd like, in other cases you need to purchase a package.
Parts of Camping Night's Price
- Camper, Car+Caravan, Car, Bike or Van
- Number of people
- Age of kids
- Electricity connection
- Shower (usually included)
- WiFi Internet (usually included)
- Tent, Boat, Scooter
- Local taxes & fees
Most often in bigger campsites, you pay for a place that includes a set of features like electricty, water connection, unlimited cars, tents, boats etc. Two people are almost always included in price of a place, and other options are extra.
In Czech Republic, and generally central and northern part of Europe, the campsites are open from spring to early fall and have one price level for any month. In southern Europe about a half of campsites are open all year. In the south, campsites also have high and low season prices.
We prefer to travel off-season as there's less people and prices are lower. So you basically get twice as much comfort for twice as cheaper price. The only real downside is a little colder weather and some parts of the campsite closed or limited.
A Standard European Campsite
Out of Season Discount Cards
I'm not the type of person, who drives several miles to get a cheaper milk. I always think of my time as something of value. But the camping discount cards are truly worth the hassle. It's common that you get a 50% discount for your stay and in most cases you get the price of the card back in one or two nights. If you're a beginner, buy at least ACSI Camping Card as that one is the most common and most widely accepted in Europe.
- Largest camping card club in Europe
- Best website with extensive information about campsites
- Simple price politics — €12, €14, €16
- Price includes place, parents, camper or caravan, electricity, shower and a pet
- Part of listed campsites also accept up to 3 kids up to 6 years of age for free
- Network of 2300+ campsites
- Card costs around €12 per year
- In the price you get a printed catalogue in English or German
- In some campsites you even get a discount for longer stay (6+1, 11+3, 15+6, 18+10)
- Valid only off-season, where season id defined by each campsite
- Website: campingcard.co.uk
- Non-discounted campsites at eurocampings.co.uk
- Probably second biggest network
- Discounts as percentage of regular prices (5-25%)
- Network of 1600+ campsites
- Card costs about €8 per year
- Website: campingcardinternational.com
- Popular in Germany & german speaking locations
- Probably growing over Europe, so might be also number two in acceptance
- Network of 1600+ campsites
- Website: campingfuehrer.adac.de
- One simple price per night €15
- Price includes 2 adults, car & caravan, electricity and a pet
- You need to purchase checks that you later spend in campsite, so you need to know how much you need in advance which might be a little tricky
- Network of 600+ campsites
- Website: campingtravelclub.de
This card is not a traditional discount card. It's more a membership that takes you to farms and rural locations around France so you can enjoy the local life at its fullest. We've not yet tried it as it doesn't allow guests with car & a caravan to join. But if you have a camper or a van, this is a great option.
Futher Resources for Beginners
There are two or three traditional magazines about camping in Czech Republic. If there is a magazine in your country, I'd recommend to subscribe for it at least for a year so you'll get into the mood and you'll find many answers to questions like what to do in winter, how to add solar panels and such.
A lot of information and experience is also online. Mostly on YouTube you'll get into camping pretty fast. There are great forums about all types of travels, such as Caravaning, Vanlife, Overlanding, Boondocking and other flavours.
Some of the Handy Resources
- Euro Tunnel — information website about train from mainland Europe to UK
- Campingo — campsite resource if you travel beyond Europe
- Campercontact — awesome technical resource about campsites and parking spots managed by Dutch Camping Club
- Park4Night — french independent resource with parking places and wild lookout spots
- Bord Atlas — traditional printed book with camping spots around Europe (the book is only available in german language)
- Campingführer Europa — another traditional printed book with camping spots, from ACSI, updated every year (good to have one as emergency resource)
- Awning — sun shade rolling out of your caravan or camper side
- Vanlife — people living full-time in a van, from which they work in most cases as digital nomads and travel the world or its parts
- Overland — wilder and more minimalistic flavour of world travels, this one is usually with 4×4 vehicle and a roof-top tent, but can have many unique variants
- Alcove — the bulky sleeping area above a campers cabin
- Mover — electronic motor haleping you to maneuvre a caravan at the campsite without a need of a towing car, adds comfort
- Rig — a general term used by overlanders, meaning the modified car, or a complete set of a car and a trailer
- Camper, Camping Car — the most mainsteam way of camping these days, a living on wheels most comfortable approach, in USA this is an RV (Recreational Vehicle)
Thoughts pretty similar, to ideas in this book, that brought me to the caravan lifestyle. I try to raise my kids different from common practise, not leaving my ego to step in my way. I've jus stepped out of the rat race stereotype to live a full life. I've got rid of career ladder and maybe I left some money on the table. But this path I've chosen has it's own, strong magnetism that pulls me in. Check Four Agreements, a Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz at Amazon.
Also, checkout other great books and movies for digital nomads that I recommend.
Let's ride your life now!