Camping and eco-tourism

I am fascinated by the amount of press these days that the subjects “eco-tourism” and “carbon footprint” are generating in the mainstream media. It has certainly made me ponder over how we should be taking our holidays or just travelling in the future. One thing that will certainly put the dampers on flying abroad, is the rising cost of flights. Have budget flights had their day and if not how much longer can they continue? Where are we heading? What is in it for us in the long term?

A recent camping trip certainly opened my eyes to the alternative possibilities of holidaying and our constant thirst for travel and a little bit of adventure. We all generally lead hectic lives and have daily routines that are becoming increasingly predictable, which for me makes me want to holiday more and more. Its a way of escaping for awhile and allowing your mind, body and soul a chance to recharge.

I have to admit that in the past, the definition of the word “holiday” for me would invariably involve a trip to our local high street travel agency. We would come away clutching a ton of brochures and you could guarantee that we’d only ever look at one of them, the rest being binned (which is not very environment friendly is it!). We would then pick one, part with a large sum of cash, catch a flight at some unearthly hour of the day, bundle into an old coach the other end that would hardly pass any emissions test and then live out a routine of breakfast at 7am, excursion and dinner at 8pm. Doesn’t that sound just a little bit “routine” to you? Well I have never really worried nor cared too much about such things, I have always enjoyed a good package holiday, everything is laid on for you so that you can be lazy whilst a small army of people look after your every whim. There can’t be an alternative to that surely. All inclusive is the way to go surely not?

This brings me back to the concept of camping. I went camping about 10 years ago and then again very recently. In the 10 years or so, the whole experience seems to have changed, camping kit is now more sophisticated than ever before and you can if you wish plug in to the mains, so that you can surf the web on your laptop. Campsites with wi-fi? You bet, many now do offer this as a service!

Keeping costs down is now becoming ever more important for you and I, the ordinary folk of the world whom earn normal salaries and have to budget for things. Package holidays are becoming more expensive, so now is the time to create your own bespoke itineraries and really explore what you want to see and in your own time – no schedules to be seen anywhere, now that has got to be good news for the best of us.

So here is a little suggestion for a great European trip that is unlikely to break the bank:

Recently I have looked into the costs of taking a ferry or Eurostar across to the continent with your own car. Ferries from Dover to Calais with a two week return period cost around £70. Eurostar is more expensive but is in fact more environmentally friendly, since they claim to be 100% carbon neutral and you do pay for that to a degree. However travel times on the train are much faster. It doesn’t matter as either way you can get yourself, family, car and a boot full of kit across to Europe with minimal restrictions being implied. You couldn’t do that by air.

Once in Europe you can travel wherever you wish and stay anywhere, provided you are using a tent. Tents are now becoming more and more sophisticated with as much room inside as your average package holiday hotel room. All you need is a campsite with facilities and plenty to do in the area and you are all set. There are millions of places across Europe where you can get really close to some stunning natural locations and quite literally wake up next to them, ready to explore and enjoy them.

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