Have you ever been camping? Maybe you’ve stayed in a pop-up tent, a chalet, bungalow or mobile home on a campsite? But have you ever considered living on one?? Thousands of people have made careers out of camping in Europe, and I am one of them! Well, now I’m here to tell you the perks of living on a campsite and why you should try it too!
1. Discount in the campsite shops
I don’t know about you, but no matter how often I’ve been into my local Tesco – the teen on the check-out still has never given me any discount!? Campsites, however, can be pretty generous. It might not be everywhere, and admittedly it’s fairly pricey in the first place – but a sweet 20% off isn’t uncommon! This is often the case for restaurants, bars, cafés, and takeaways on the campsite and even in nearby towns, in return for promoting their business to guests.
2. Free stuff
What’s better than a discount? Free stuff, of course! Getting things left behind from tourists, or ‘finding’ things that have been left behind or ‘thrown away’ is great. Obviously, you get some things that you’d rather they took with them -but it’s swings and roundabouts! Our first ‘finds’ of the season included porridge oats, a wooden chopping board and a Ben & Jerry’s cool bag!
I recently read an article about a woman in Spain that left the cleaners used bottles of shampoo as a thank you – Not uncommon in the camping world, and usually appreciated, but she has gained a lot of criticism for it! What do you think? Let me know at the end of this post!
3. Drinking a Spritz while waiting for the washing machine
This is actually what I was doing when I decided to write this post! Depending on the country and region you are in, it could be a beer, sangria, glass of red or maybe a coffee. But it’s nice to grab a drink while you wait, as most often the washing machines aren’t far from a bar of some kind.
4. Living in a bubble
Even though we all still have news apps and social media, it is nowhere near as ‘in your face’ as it is at home. You’re not seeing the news every night, its harder to get hold of your local newspaper, and everyone is a little less interested. Because most of the connections you make with people are fleeting, they only go so deep. People will (usually) keep their stronger opinions or political preferences to themselves. There’s no constant talk of who just lost their job, got a divorce, fell out with the in-laws, or worse. Perhaps ignorance really is bliss, but you have no idea how negative it can feel until you’ve experienced being away from it. Albeit a little dramatic, I think my friend and fellow season worker, Chloe, summed this one up, perfectly:
“Being closed off, to a certain extent, from the horrors of society”
5. Pretending to be on holiday
No matter how hard you work, or what you do while living on a site. This is always a perk. Be it an hour at the pool, a trip to the bar, watching animation or a stroll on the beach. For that moment you can pretend that you are on your holidays too!
Often living in such close quarters, means creating a little community. This gives a feeling of being at home, despite being out of your home country. Although a lot of us have come from smaller communities at home – without the family histories and the village gossip, it is a very different experience. Having said that – everyone still knows everything, so careful what you say and do and who you do it with!!
7. Everyone is different
So many characters. All from different backgrounds and countries. You get to meet people every day that you wouldn’t normally. That goes for people that you work with, as well as those on holiday. You’re not going to like everyone, and they’re not all going to like you. But that’s OK. Some, you become good friends with and see again, but most you won’t. You’ll share stories, experiences and sometimes, even tents, with them. You’ll laugh (and maybe even cry) together, but hopefully, you’ll learn something from each other before they, or you, move on to the next place, or return home.
8. Everyone is the same
Ok, so I know I’m contradicting myself here, but it’s true! Everyone is staying in tents, mobile homes or other camping accommodations. Yes, there are those with nicer cars, branded clothing or bigger motorhomes, but overall, we’re all the same. Comparisons don’t really come into it on campsites. Generally, people that choose self-catering holidays, are people that like the outdoors and simple living. And it’s great to not have the same judgment and competition you sometimes find at home, or in places that attract those looking to impress.
9. Everyone leaves
This may sound harsh, but it really is a perk! If there is someone you don’t like, or you’ve got a noisy neighbour – you don’t have to worry! In a week or so, they will probably be gone, and (hopefully) replaced with someone a little more respectful or friendly. Having experienced mobs of angry guests, loud coach parties, school groups, and drunk football fans, this thought has got me through on numerous occasions! The same can’t be said for staff though – so, be sure not to p**s anyone off!
10. No bills!
This depends on your personal situation, how you live and who you work for, of course. However, for most, campsite living is basically free! Most sites will charge something for washing machines and wifi, but there are no gas/electric/water bills and you will likely have accommodation for free too. Anyone living on a campsite, but not working, will have fees to pay each year for the ground their accommodation is on. Even so, much cheaper than a house!
11. Surrounded by nature
This will vary (let’s be honest, some are glorified carparks!) but campsites are basically massive gardens. Ducks, squirrels, cats, geckos, ponies – you name it, there’s a campsite with them somewhere! I know it isn’t for everyone at first, but I’m a huge believer in getting out in nature – it really is good for the soul! Living near beaches, fields, lakes or mountains; surrounded by trees and flowers. It sounds ideal to me!
12. Location, location, location
Fancy living in the grounds of a chateau? In the heart of a medieval town? How about on the Adriatic coast or next to Italy’s largest lake? Maybe you prefer the wooden-clad towns of the Alps or the convenience of living next to a capital city? Well, living on a campsite can make these dreams become a reality. You get to live in stunning locations, often in places, you never would have considered visiting otherwise. Sometimes it can be tough to get off-site, public transport isn’t always great, and sometimes you find yourself in an area you’re not fond of. But make the most of it, because it will be an incredible experience either way.