Today marks the first day of Spring, HOORAY – we have officially survived the long and mostly miserable winter. It’s now only a week to go until the long anticipated Easter Holidays (for our county anyway!), a date that for many heralds the first camping trip of the year.
This year however is different, with COVID still lingering and the UK still living in a restricted, locked down life, Easter Camping trips are a no go (unless you live in Wales). Who’d have thought this would be our reality still, a year ago today schools closed, then pubs and then well, you know the rest. Still, despite all the doom and gloom, the hard days are beginning to look a bit more positive and the road map set to return to us to normality will hopefully do its job.
If all goes well, and numbers continue to fall, the magic date of April 12th is for many of us circled, underlined and highlighted in our diaries, as this is the first day that those in England can stay away from home overnight in self contained accomodation. As per the whole of the last year, there are of course rules; the main one being that campsites are unable to open any shared facilities, therefore toilet blocks and shower rooms etc will be closed until May 17th. For many, even when shared facilities DO reopen, they would prefer not to use them. We are not here to cast an opinion on your views, but as we managed a large number of camping trips last summer, in that precious window of openness, we wanted to share our top tips on successful and safe camping during COVID, and how we are preparing for trips to come.
1. Turning our tailgate area into our own private en suite.
Perhaps not for the faint hearted at this time of year, but, we have a fabulous Tailgate awning- a tent which is quickly placed over the tailgate door, and when the tailgate opens its turns the space directly behind the vehicle into an extra living space. Simply peg the bottom of the awning down, and we’re all set. It’s remarkable design means that we can still close the tailgate door and lock the vehicle, whilst the awning still stands in place (along with anything that is being stored in there). In there we place the portable loo and and a portable paddling pool, which we stand in to shower! Talking of showers, we have a 12v shower, and a solar shower bag, which we heat during the day and pour into the shower bucket, which the shower pump then goes into and we’re all set. We have not used this in April before, but we did use it in October. We topped up the solar water with a couple of kettles of hot water and were rewarded with a lovely warm shower. Crocs are a very useful addition to our camping shower experience.
- Picking smaller campsites.
We tried to avoid larger campsites last summer, instead choosing small 5 van sites, with no facilities as we had no need for them with our wonderful ensuite. 5 van sites – called Certified Sites if affiliated with the Camping and Caravanning Club or Certified Locations if affiliated with the Camping and Motorhome Club are in our opinion WONDERFUL. Not only are they often much cheaper – some start as low as £5pn, they often have much more space, as they can be set on meadows or fields behind houses. They also are only licensed to have 5 vans on so you know they aren’t going to be crowded. Some are Adults only- not that we don’t like kids, but working with them can mean ‘Adult only’ sites are precious to us in school holidays when we want to completely unwind and have some peace and quiet. For the majority of these sites you do need to be a member of which ever club it’s affiliated to, but membership is around £50 for a year and we truly feel that this membership is made back again with the lower price of the small site fee.
- Sanitise, Sanitise, Sanitise.
Unless you’ve been living in a cardboard box for the last year, I’m sure we are all well practiced in the art of having hand sanitiser in every single bag, coat pocket etc etc. In terms of COVID safe camping, we made sure we washed or sanitised hands before taking the chemical loo to the emptying point, and immediately after, and also before and after going to the water tap or bins. The first trip in July that we took after Lockdown 1.0, we were asked to use rubber gloves when using the taps etc, which we did, but we prefer to avoid using disposable gloves etc as we try to be careful with our waste and get upset with too much non recyclable waste floating in the ocean. Instead we would rather wash hands with soap and water before and after touching communal service points.
- Making sure we abide by Campsite rules at all times.
Rules change rapidly, and so whilst we think we may know what we are allowed to do/not allowed to do, the campsite owners have the latest updated info, and so we always make a point of seeking out their COVID regulations before we travel to them, a day or so beforehand. That way we can be prepared when we arrive.
- Social distancing from other guests.
Again, this is something that most of us are well practiced in now, but sometimes holiday head can prevail! We very much look forward to being able to be within 2 metres of someone, (although maybe if the solar shower thing isn’t such a hit in April camping trips this won’t be a bad thing!) but for now, we are making sure we keep our distance from people as we don’t want to unknowingly pass on COVID to you, or equally receive it as parting gift. No thanks!
What precautions are you planning for your trips? Will you be rushing out in April, or waiting until facility blocks reopen? We’d love to hear your thoughts on how to plan COVID safe camping trips.
Keep safe everyone, and all being well there is only 23 days til we can be back on the open road!
Until Next Time