DH = Dear Husband
There’s our canoe up there. Soon, we’ll be hoisting it down to strap to our van for a camping trip. Of 24 hours.
It’s good to get away.
DH is self-employed and runs a home business. Although there are many great perks to this situation, one complaint I do hear from time to time is, “I find it so hard to relax at home! There’s always a job to do – administrative paperwork to finish – e-mails to answer . . .” When we recently went on a 3-day road trip, DH in particular LOVED it. “Wasn’t that great? We had so much fun! It was a real break,” he said more than once afterwards.
For DH, getting out of the house is important. But the demands of his work make it so that he can’t leave for too long. And our goal to be completely debt-free in another three years makes it so that we can’t spend too much on these get-aways. What to do?
What to do when time and money are limited?
Camping has got to be the most frugal form of vacation out there. All of the paraphernalia of tents, sleeping bags, cooler, camping stove, and canoe cost quite a bit to start with, but we’ve had all of the above for years and years. At this point, a camping trip costs us the gas to get there, the food we eat, and the overnight fee (a fraction of the cost of a hotel).
What are we going to do with our measly 24 hours? Here’s the plan:
- Arrive at 2:00 and set up the site.
- Go for a swim at the beach.
- Prepare a dinner of steak and salmon (this is Fruclassity, my friends!)
- Canoe around the lake.
- Build a camp fire.
- Early morning run (which ends with a sweaty plunge into the lake in running gear – except for footwear).
- Omelettes for breakfast.
- A few hours of reading, swimming, canoeing, Frisbee-tossing.
- Sandwiches for lunch.
- Pack up our site.
- A short hike followed by a final swim.
Just writing it all out makes me happy!
“What if I’m not a camper?”
From what I can tell, just about everyone who loves camping was raised camping. DH and I are no exceptions. I went on my first camping trip at the age of one.
That’s me getting potty-trained just outside the family tent back in the day.
For adults who are new to the tent-and-sleeping-bag scene, there is a sharp learning curve that can make the whole experience seem like more trouble than it’s worth. How do you set up a tent? Blow up mattresses? Work a Coleman stove? Pack a cooler? If you’re committed to frugality for the sake of debt-repayment or the goal of financial freedom though, let me encourage you to press into that learning curve. You will get the hang of it! And once you do, you’ll love it! I (almost) promise. (Alas, there are some who just don’t like camping. Period.)
It’s a versatile activity too – and you can adapt to suit your needs. You can:
- camp for two weeks or one day.
- “glamp” or go really basic.
- go conveniently near a town with grocery stores, or far away from any signs of civilization.
- set up at one site, or go wilderness camping and portage from site to site.
- go with friends, with children, as a couple, or solo.
Basic camping** – which is what we do.
Can you think of a more frugal get-away than camping? Did you camp as a child or learn as an adult? What do you like best about it? (Absolutely nothing?) If you run your own business, do you take mini-vacations of a day or two? Your comments are welcome.
*(Glamping photo courtesy of Ronnie Watts)
**(Basic camping photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net)