1 - Join the Camping and Caravanning Club
We paid £50 per night for our pitch during our last camping trip and if we had joined the Camping and Caravanning Club, we would have saved 30% on our pitch fees. It costs just £37 per year to join and if you plan a couple of trips over the year you will easily make your money back.
2 - Share Equipment with friends
We have a few friends and family who love camping just as much as we do and we tend to share some of our more expensive equipment between us. This weekend for example, my sister in law is borrowing our electric hook-up cable and a few extra sleeping bags and during our last trip we made use of my mum's cool box. Don't rush into buying everything straight away, check out what your friends and family have on offer first.
3 - Stock up on essentials when you see them in the sale
With three kids to consider, it can be expensive kitting them out in fleeces, wellies and cosy socks (which are all essentials for camping). Personally, I don't like to compromise on quality and I like to buy their fleeces and wellies in the Joules sale. For Steve and I, we buy our essentials from Dalton Park near Sunderland and the January sales are a fab time to keep your eye out for a bargain.
4 - Invest in a good quality tent that will last years
I've went through my fair share of tents in the last 10 years. Ranging from cheap pop-up tents that cost less than £20 to tents that cost over £500. I can honestly say, if you are going to be regular campers, you must invest in a tent that offers very good protection from the elements and is of good quality. I'd rather buy a decent tent that lasts 5-6 years and serves me well than multiple cheap tents that end up being binned after a few uses (which also isn't good for the environment). My top recommendation is the Skandika Kairo tent which is the tent we have used this summer.
5 - Cook your own food
During our last trip we made the mistake of eating out quite a bit which works out to be quite expensive. My top tip would be to book sites which allow BBQs or take a camping stove. I wouldn't recommend taking much food with you (who has the space to do this!) but instead use sites such as Supermarket.co.uk (or good old Siri) to locate the nearest store to your campsite. Some will even deliver! Nothing beats a good burger cooked on the BBQ for supper.
So there are my top money saving tips for your next camping trip - I'd love to hear if you have any of your own.