For many people, extended family camping produces lifelong memories. Of course, the hope is that these will be happy camping memories.
Getting a large group of related people together for a long (or sometimes even short) duration requires planning, finesse and a lot of patience. If National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has taught us anything, it is that getting large families together can be challenging.
Tips for Extended Family Camping
Convey expectations prior to the camping trip. It is so important to discuss expectations regarding activities, meals and more. When kids are involved, don’t forget to cover a few basics.
Will the kids bring their bikes?
Will gaming devices be allowed or banned?
Parenting styles are different even in extended families. But keeping a few simple rules consistent will reduce friction among kids and parents.
Not everything has to be done together. Plan some time for the families to do their own activities that are important to them. Jessica from Bring-The-Kids.com camps with her extended family (about 40 people) at least once every summer.
” We pretty much all come with our own ideas and then everyone’s invited to do anything they want or tag along on any adventures. It keeps it so much less stressful.”
Have a plan for meals. Planning meals ahead of time prevents wasted time trying to agree on each meal, reduces cost and according to Jessica, even allows you more time outside. Jessica’s tip for meal times is to split or share meals.
“We usually go with enough people that we only have to cook 1 – 2 times on each trip and it takes so much of the work out of camping so that you can just enjoy your time outside. Also, that way, people usually plan better meals so we tend to eat better as well.”
Take a walk. If you do find yourself getting stressed on the camping trip, enlist the help of your spouse or another family member to watch your children so you can take a walk or bike ride and relax. The great thing about camping is that nature is so calming. Having time to listen to the birds sing or sit by a quiet stream can refresh you mentally.
Extended family camping can be fun for everyone. Good communication, planning and an occasional bike ride can get your camping trip heading in the right direction, right from the start.
I’ll see ya around the campfire.
Be sure and visit Jessica on her blog, Bring The Kids, where she and her husband are proving that your adventures don’t have to end when you have kids.
Photo Credit: Camping © Elzbieta Sekowska – Fotolia.com