Going camping could be the answer to your lockdown melancholy

After spending half the year cooped up indoors, many of us will be chomping at the bit to go on holiday.

But before you jump on Skyscanner for your cheapest flight out of this island, you may want to consider staying slightly closer to home.

Are you craving sun? Solitude? Beautiful scenery? Well, we’ve got that right here. You definitely don’t need to go to a hotel in Alicante along with hundreds of other families to enjoy a break – especially if what you’re really craving is a break from urban life.

VisitBritain’s UK Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report shows that 20% of adults plan to take a short staycation by September, with coastal areas emerging as top destinations.

So why might camping be a better bet than say, staying in a hotel?

According to business lecturer Carol Southall from Staffordshire University, the benefits of spending time outdoors and taking family holidays are numerous.

We know that time spent in nature can improve blood pressure, digestion and immune function, as well as mood.

‘Camping, more than most forms of holiday, involves family members doing more together and encourages a more active, back-to-nature lifestyle. And, according to research from the University of Plymouth, children who go camping do better at school and are healthier and happier. So it’s a win-win,’ Carol explains in The Conversation.

‘The children who took part in the research were asked what they love about camping and the most common themes were making and meeting new friends, having fun, playing outside and learning various camping skills.

‘Children also recognised camping’s value for problem solving and working together – out in the fresh air, away from the TV and computers.’

Then there’s the fact that spending time as a family on holiday offers parents a unique opportunity to reconnect with their kids and vice versa. Even if you’ve been locked down together, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve been able to spend one-on-one quality time with each other. Home schooling, work, coronavirus stress will have all caused major distractions.

Carol cites a 2011 Thomson Holidays report, which found that more than one-quarter of working parents spent less than an hour a day with their children, despite wanting to spend more time together.

Four benefits to camping

You’ll sleep better

If you struggle to sleep, camping might help. There’s less blue light, fewer distractions and because it’s dark, you’ll naturally start to feel more tired as the night progresses. It’s like resetting your biological clock.

If you struggle to wake up in the morning, you might find it easier in a tent which gets lighter as the sun rises and is surrounded by waking wildlife.

It’s great for expanding kids’ horizons

Forget the tech, giving kids a chance to be at one with nature is going to provide them with plenty of opportunities to learn new facts and skills.

As that Plymouth Uni study found, an overwhelming majority of parents believe that camping has a positive impact on their child’s education.

It trains your brain

Camping is all about problem-solving. How to put up a tent, deal with flooding, cook umpteen dishes on one portable stove…it throws up lots of new experiences and scenarios that tend to require a logical approach.

You’ll be more active

At a hotel, you might schlep from bed to buffet to beach – and back again seven hours later. Camping is less luxurious and way better for getting you out exploring.

You wake up with the lark in the middle of nature with no excuse not to have a walk or cycle around. It’s also generally a little walk to the bathrooms and washing up facilities.

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