Roadtrip Planning

Car Camping 101

Thinking about a road trip vacation? You need road trip planning.

Car Camping 101

If you're new to car camping, you are to be envied. There's nothing like starting one of the world's great adventures fresh and full of excitement. There are expert car campers who can tell you everything there is to know about sites, what to pack, what to wear and what to watch out for. But even with a very modest amount of knowledge you can get started on your first road trip.

Get the Best Deals on Campsites

You'll want to spend some time investigating gear for your road trip. Having a good sleeping bag and a lightweight, sturdy tent is a must. Modern materials and design give you plenty of unbeatable options. These days you're not limited to sleeping in a tent, however. You may prefer a local motel or even want to stay in your vehicle.

Larger SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicle) make for great 'hard shell tents' when car camping, but RVs (Recreational Vehicle) are another great option. They come in a range of sizes with some that can function as a permanent mobile home. Smaller ones can still sleep two comfortably, yet have a stove, running water and a TV for those who just can't leave it at home.

Good road trip planning will involve some time to research stoves and lamps. Cooking outdoors can be a challenge, but it's made a lot easier with a two-burner propane or Coleman fuel stove.

You may or may not have wireless Internet or cell phone access during your road trip, so be prepared. Getting lost can be a concern, too, so look into a good GPS unit. Learn to use it before you leave on your car camping trip, and get familiar with maps of the area so you'll recognize what you're looking at.

Do a little advanced road trip planning and you'll save yourself a lot of headaches. Decide where and when you want to go car camping, then make reservations far in advance. Car camping is more popular than ever! When you're doing your road trip research, do more than just find a place. Check the weather, look into the local wildlife you'll encounter and find out about any toxic plants to watch out for there.

You don't have to restrict your car camping choices to just the U.S., if that's where you live. There are great campsites around the world. Canada has some of the most impressive lakes, forests and mountains anywhere. But even the North American continent doesn't have a monopoly on great campsites. Europe has been a car camper's paradise for generations.

Don't wait until you're an expert car camper to get going. Learn the basics, then head out and get some practical experience. After all, it's not a classroom assignment - it's a road trip adventure!

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