Blog| How to plan where to camp on a budget
Planning big nights away on a small budget is not as hard as it sounds. Here are some money-saving tips to help you keep the costs down on your next adventure.
Where to go
You don’t need to travel for hundreds of miles to an exotic location in the middle of nowhere to have an amazing outdoors experience – in true Scouting spirit, adventure can be found on your own doorstep.
An adventure in your own backyard: Consider whether or not there’s space to camp in the garden behind your hut. It’s an especially good choice for younger section members, who may have reservations about being too far away from home. It’s also free!
Borrow some space: Think about talking to parents or local businesses – they may be able to provide some space for you and your Scouts to use as a temporary campsite. Depending on where you’re based and how many Scouts you’re planning to take, you may be lucky and ﬁnd yourselves the perfect ﬁeld.
Greenﬁelds: For something a little further aﬁeld, you could try a Greenﬁeld site with no camping or activity fees.
Scale it down: Two nights under canvas for all is better than four nights for those who can afford it, so think about what’s achievable and keep your plans realistic.
Plan ahead: Wherever you decide to go, try and give parents as much warning as possible when it comes to paying for camp. You could run a presentation at the start of September each year about the previous year’s costs, or think about allowing parents to pay for the camps they can afford in the preceding year.
How to get there
Once you’ve decided what kind of adventure you want to go on, you’ll need to ﬁgure out how to get there. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to save some pennies.
Get help: Try and get the parents of your young people involved. By organising a local camp, parents can also drop the young people off and reduce costs.
Share the load: Consider setting up a car-share system (you can include yourselves!) so that parents don’t have to do more than one drop-off or pick-up. If you’re going to be travelling a little bit further, it’s well worth the extra planning.
Choose wisely: Where possible, choose a site on which you can hold the activities you’re planning to run, rather than having to ﬁnd another location. You might need to hunt harder for the additional space you’ll need, but it should help keep costs low and is more convenient.
Don’t rule out public transport: The use of public transport can be an adventure in itself, so you could base yourselves on a local bus or train route and get your Scouts to lead the way in terms of buying tickets and planning a route. Our partner National Express offers discounted fares for members and a private hire option for Groups. Visit scouts.org.uk/nationalexpress.
Check your access: It’s worth making a visit to the site beforehand in order to check for vehicle access. If you’re planning to use multiple cars to get on and off the site, it’s worth spending a little bit more to get somewhere with easy access.