At heart, I’m an inside person. A five-star-resort-hopeful all the way. If you have a mixed marriage like I do (indoor + outdoor person) plus kids, choosing holidays that suit everybody can take some compromising. Enter: glamping, aka glamorous camping. Here are nine things we do to make roughing it more fun.
1. Stay in a cabin instead of a tent. After Max was born, Mark was worried he’d never go on a surfing holiday with his mates again. So, when Max was four or five months old, we went on the first of many beach ‘camping’ trips, but instead of staying in a tent like we used to do, we stayed in a cabin* with a bathroom. Access to running water is important when you have a baby, because they soil themselves, and you, a lot.
2. Hire your own Portaloo. This may seem excessive, but it really works for us. Depending on where you’re camping, the loo can be delivered and picked up from the site, so there’s not much you have to do. This is most cost effective if you’re camping in a group.
3. Buy or hire an awesome tent. A tent that is so beautiful you’ll feel like you’re on a luxurious safari (without the hunting).
4. Have each child be in charge of their own knapsack. In each bag, include camping things like a torch, sunscreen, hat, water bottle, snack box, book, pencil case, notebook and spare socks. If your kids are over two or three years old, they can help choose the items to go in their bags, which will give them a greater sense of control and ownership and will hopefully result in them taking better care of their things. This is the bag to turn to when the ‘I’m boreds’ come out.
6. Bring bedding that’s soft and snuggly. This will make you feel like you’re in a delicious cocoon at night, instead of a plastic bag. You may like the Roman Nomad or the Buckley Swag Bag. Alternatively, bring sheets, pillows and your doona and make your bed just like home.
7. Put a tablecloth on the camp table. The cloth can be as simple as a large piece of linen from the fabric store. I can’t even believe how much difference a bit of well-chosen fabric draped over ugly furniture can make. It makes your surroundings feel homey. Mark actually came up with this one. He laid the cloth over an outdoor table and then popped a beer bottle with native flowers in the middle. It cheered me no end. 8. If you’ll have access to electricity, bring fairy lights to string up. Because, magical.
9. Bring a beautiful large blanket for sitting outside under the trees in the day, and looking at the stars at night. When Rose was a baby, I bought a king size bedspread to use as a picnic blanket and we’ve using it ever since. It’s large enough to fit all five of us, it’s patterned (so it doesn’t show stains) and it’s smooth, not scratchy to lie on. Happy glamping!
* There’s been some debate at child mags blog HQ as to whether staying in a cabin counts as ‘glamping’, with many people feeling that if there are existing walls and doors, it doesn’t count. I disagree, and give indoor people with babies everywhere permission to stay in a cabin and pat themselves on the back for getting out in the nature.