Staying at Campgrounds Around the World
In Europe, campgrounds have been taken to a fine art.
Europeans are great campers due to the frequency of hosting world wars that turn whole metropolises into instant tent cities.
One time when I was sleeping at campground near the Algarve
beach in southern Portugal, I wake up to the sounds and delicious
smells of activity, nearby. It was particularly the banging,
ringing of metal hitting metal that got my attention.
I climb out of my tent and am instantly greeted by my
"Bon jour, monsieur! Would you care to join us for
breakfast? I hope you are not wakened too early for by
our preparations for a proper French breakfast?" asks the
I was, but who am I to complain…
I joined them. I'm completely taken by the tastes and smells of
this astonishingly delicious culinary triumph. The crepes, the
sausages, the fruit, the sauces, the coffee, the snails!?
"Snails for breakfast?" I ask.
"We're French. We can't help it!" replies the
Not only is the food amazing (including the sautéed snails) so
was their camping setup. One large tent for the parents, one large
tent for the kids, and another large tent to eat in, table and
Topping it all was an outside kitchen with three preparation
tables, with small oven, propane grill and stove top. Above the
tables were racks and for hanging a cooking utensils for
brass ladles, large spoons, a whole set of knives, plus brass
mixing bowls, all swaying in the breeze. It is a complete gourmet
cooking kitchen, setup outdoors!
That was the source of banging sounds that woke me up.
The father is indeed a gourmet cook, who was talked into going
camping by his family. He sure as hell was going to do it in
In Australia, the Backpacker
organization includes hostels, camping and bus
transportation all around Australia
, with or without tours.
Some places in New Zealand almost demand car
camping. It's easy to rent a purpose built camper van
there. It usually comes with all the equipment you need to camp and
cook on the road. Buy some groceries; and off you go.
There are several levels of camping with or
without a car:
Camp without a vehicle. Use
public transportation. This is extremely easy to do in Europe, where
campgrounds are located in convenient places and almost always have
a bus or tram stop near the entrance.
Check out the book
"Camp Europe by Train" by Lenore Baken for ideas. When I was in
Spain, I met people in the campgrounds, who were going to my next
location. They gave me a ride and I helped with driving and gas
expenses. It's a great way of seeing the countryside. (This was my
way of traveling. Do this at your own risk.)
- Rent or buy a purpose built camper van.
Return when done if rented, or store it friend's house or sell it.
Google "Rent camper van in name of country" is the easiest way to
find out information on camper vans.
- Rent a car and stay in camping bungalows.
These are just like hotel rooms, only cozier. Most include
- You can, also, buy camping equipment at your destination or
bring your own.
I do this all the time. I bought my tiny tent for $40, an air
mattress for $20 and a cheap sleeping bag for $40 and I'm ready to
- Buy your own vehicle and turn it into a homemade
camper. Or buy someone else's vehicle that has just
finished their trip. (This can be risky. Be sure to study up on it
before proceeding. Check out eBook - Car Travel Camping
I purchased my 1959 VW from a VW dealer in Germany in the
1970s' and therefore had their skill and goodwill in guaranteeing
the condition of my car.
I drove it all summer and had no problems. I sold it to a few
Turkish workers in Germany for $100 less than what I bought it
for. Great deal!
Informal camping (not in campgrounds) is OK in
most of Europe. Check your guidebooks for details or just ask when you get there.
In Croatia I found many places to camp wild. After driving off
the ferry at the island of Cres, I begin to climb the heavily
forested mountain. Quickly, I am thousands of feet above the
Mediterranean Sea, gazing over the island archipelago.
I feel like an airline pilot with a standard stick shift. I
hope to God I don't drive off this cliff. Nobody's going to find
my smashed up car down there.
As if on cue, a camper van rolls up
and stakes its claim for the night in a parking lot space with a
270 degree view of the place.
I take note their use of local transportation (bikes) and an
outdoor tented kitchen and dinette (rectangular box below the
bikes.) These people are done traveling for the day.
Ten minutes later I begin to smell the results of their latest
activity - making dinner - and it smells great. It's a little
windy up here, but in the camper van, they take it all in
I am truly jealous.
I still have to find a place to sleep for the night, find
dinner and take in the new view. That's going to take at least
three more hours of driving, searching, finding, paying and then
enjoying it all - the same thing they did in just ten minutes.
Damn! I have to try out camper vans.
Camping Europe - great websites:
Working at Campgrounds:
I did it in Spain and didn't have to pay to stay in the
Camping Tip Websites:
Go to Hotel Prices - Great Deals on Lodging page
Here are some important lodging tips:
Go to the Page on Hotels
Dirty Hotel Rooms