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Family Camping Made Easy, Very Easy....

Anyone who has embarked on a family camping trip with young children in tow knows that this can turn into an exercise as complex as any NATO manoeuvres. Preparation, execution and then clean down all contribute to parent stress. Poor weather only increases the stress levels, weirdly this is not limited to rain, hot weather can present a whole new set of challenges too (eg sleeping). The problems start before you overload your car. Friends of ours use a checklist honed over several trips to avoid equipment omissions "on the ground" to continue with the military metaphors. Then you overload the car. Travel a fair distance with the kids complaining about the camping stuff located in between them on the back seats, sound familiar yet? On arrival (normally in the rain) you have to pitch the tent, usually a few feet in the wrong direction according to the other half... A few years ago we discovered there was an alternative to all this. Someone will pitch your tent, kit it out with beds, stove, chairs, all the big stuff really - even a fridge, and a power supply all laid on. All you need to do is turn up, un zip, move your clothes and kids in. Bingo! Family camping utopia. In fact it turns out that this idea is very common on the continent. We stayed with Eurocamp, a British company who operate tents and mobile homes on hundreds of campsites across Europe. Now this is not a sales pitch for them but the whole concept rescued our opinion of long camping breaks in hot climates. If you have kids, like campsites and an easy life it may be worth you considering a service like theirs. I have to be honest we have gone even softer than prepared tents, this time we used a mobile home which has a shower and toilet, something the tents can't give you. Those with small children will immediately see the advantages but does this even qualify as camping? Yes it is on a campsite, but is it closer to a cheap hotel than camping? Judging by the squeals of delight as the kids play in the campsite pool, I am not sure it matters.

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