If you're ready to explore new outdoors territory, take an international camping trip. With plenty of opportunities to meet people and see the land, you'll have a unique experience abroad that can also be budget friendly. But before you stamp your passport and get on the plane, plan your trip with these five tips in mind.
1. Look for Free Camping
If you're traveling on a budget, you're in luck. There are dozens of countries that allow free camping, including Sweden, Germany and Japan. Keep in mind that these campsites or camping areas will likely have no showers, bathrooms or electrical hookups.
It's also important to note that rules and regulations for free camping differ from country to country. The Great Family Escape gives helpful details on particular countries. Here are some to consider:
- Netherlands: To find free camping, look for signs that say "paalkampeerterreinen," which means "pole sites." These are set up by the government to provide free legal camping. These sites can be found all across the country.
- Australia: There are free camping areas throughout the entire country, and fires are allowed for the most part.
- Nordic Countries: These outdoors-friendly countries allow free camping outside of town for a maximum of two days. However, campfires are not allowed.
2. Pack Wisely
International camping takes efficient packing to a whole new level. If you're flying to your destination and taking trains throughout the country, packing light will not just be convenient, but necessary.
To pack most efficiently, bring only the necessities and buy the rest of your gear once you arrive. Make note of what gear you can and cannot bring on the plane with you. A clean camping stove, for example, can be brought on board, but not the propane. In this case, you could pack your stove and buy fuel upon arrival.
3. Plan for Cultural Differences
Don't just plan for cultural differences, but prepare for foreign camping regulations as well. Laura Canning of PitchUp.com explains, "Luckily when camping abroad, laws and etiquette rules are pretty much the same the world over ... But there are some rules, whether legal or etiquette, that are specific to different countries, as well as some things to be generally aware of when camping abroad." From language to camping policies, be sure you have all the information before heading out.
- Electrical plugs: Sockets are different in countries, such as the UK. If you plan use electrical items, buy an adaptor or purchase them abroad.
- Languages: Language barriers will be common wherever your international camping travels take you. When preparing for your trip, consider whether this will be a hindrance and plan accordingly.
- Backcountry regulations: While some countries don't allow backcountry camping, quite a few others do, but you can't have a fire. For example, backcountry camping is illegal in Greece. But, in France, you can camp in the wild without a fire.
- Wilderness regulations: Be wary of dumping and waste regulations. In New Zealand, you can be fined up to $10,000 for littering or dumping campsite waste.
4. Update Your Health Insurance
Though you have full health coverage in the U.S., your plan may not pay for insurance costs while you travel abroad, so consider purchasing traveler's health insurance. Though the plans are often inexpensive, most companies work on a reimbursement plan, meaning you have to pay out of pocket and receive the money later. Check on the specifics of your coverage, as it differs from one company to another.
5. Leave An Itinerary
After packing, but before getting on the plane, give your itinerary to a close friend or family member. Be as specific as you can about where you'll be and when you expect to arrive in each location. If possible, set up check-in times with these individuals. If they don't hear from you, they can take the necessary precautions.
Camping abroad can be a unique and inexpensive way to travel the globe. A well-planned itinerary and knowledge of the local regulations will ensure you have a safe and successful international camping trip.
Book your next camping trip