All Ready To Go Camping!

As a parent living on a low budget and until recently without a car, there were many experiences from my childhood that I wished I could give to my kids, but were untenable. However, we went camping every summer, and often twice, and that was something that I knew could be done frugally with my kids. But first we needed to figure out how to do it without a car.

When my kids were very little we borrowed someone's tent and went camping in the forest/field right outside my community and we were able to walk there. The kids had a terrific time.

Then we figured out a place that was free to camp and bus accessible. The first time we went there, we took a bus to my ex's relatives and then they drove some of us and the rest of us bussed to the beach campground a few miles from their house.

Since then, we've gone camping pretty much every single year. We figured out how to go to that campground entirely by bus and had a wonderful time and implemented lessons learned from our previous years to make it better.

After separating from my ex, I still took my kids camping, and in some ways, it was even easier (my ex always got annoyed at how much schlepping was involved, but I would rather take more things and be prepared). We had a terrific time.

During corona, I finally renewed my license, and my bestie and I decided to go camping with our families in a crater a few hours drive from us, during a meteor shower in an otherwise empty campground so it was corona safe. I rented a car and off we went.

I didn't realize until now, but we didn't go camping the summer after that (it might have been a lockdown), but last year we went camping there again with my bestie and her fiance's family. The trip was great but the car we rented stopped working on the way back (the steering wheel stopped working normally) and we got into a terrible car accident. Fortunately, no one got hurt, but that ended up putting an extra large expense on our otherwise frugal trip.

This past year I was able to buy a car (and on my birthday!) and part of the reason we got a larger car was so we would be able to go on trips comfortably

Since we were able to go camping by car and not just with what we were lugging by hand in a cart, we've built up our camping supplies, so that we could camp as comfortably as possible. I would say this year we finally have everything we might possibly want when camping. I accidentally bought a few too many chairs- I was sure we didn't have good camping chairs and wanted to make sure everyone had and didn't need to sit down on rocks, so I bought 5... and turns out we already had 2 at home. So we're very set.

We have 3 tents, one 8 person, one 6 person, and one 2 person. This way everyone has plenty of room. (Of course 8 person tents don't really fit 8, same with the 6 and 2- I'll be in the two, my girls in the 6 and my boys in the 8. We have 2 double blow up mattresses and 2 single ones. We have two grills and a few coolers. 

This year we are 4 families- us, my bestie, her now husband's family, and a friend visiting with her kids from the US. I did all the shopping and they paid me back for their portion, but it wasn't too expensive even with a decent amount of meat and lots of snacks. $170 for 4 families.
The most expensive part of our trip will be the gas.

When we packed up the car, it was so exciting, and validated my desire to get a larger car. So spacious. Room for everyone. No one needs to keep things on their laps or next to their feet- it all fits in the trunk and where the two seats in the back folded away.

We're leaving in 5 minutes and I just wanted to get this written and posted before we left.

Woohoo! Can't wait to update you on how it goes!

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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