You have the tent, caravan or motorhome cleaned out now all we need is to get going. Like all holidays, the planning and organising can be fun but can also be very stressful. Making sure you have everything packed, checking that you have all the essentials, what to bring and what not to bring, storing everything, finding the right pitch, the list is endless.
However, we have drawn up a list of hacks and ideas that should help you to make the planning and the holiday stress free. Like everything a bit of planning and organising is vital. Before we get going for this holiday season let’s get everything sorted and ready for the off.
You need everything need to fit in and you don’t want to be weigh down with too much equipment or things that are heavy.
Have a set of all essentials items packed in boxes and stored away ready for your trip. Then you only need to pack food and clothes each time - Kitchen utensils and equipment, cleaning supplies, bedding, towels, a first aid kit, games, and camping furniture/equipment. Put together your own camping essentials box and include things like duck tape, a multi-tool, first aid kit, torch, matches and so on.
Do up your own checklist
It’s a great idea to create your own checklist. We have created our own checklist. Click here for a comprehensive check list. This is handy to tick things off when you have them packed. You can check before you set off each time and then if you are missing something or you ran out on the last trip you can then pack it before you leave.
Caravan space saving ideas
- Sticky hooks are cheap, and if they break off you can just buy another and stick it on. They can be used to hang a multitude of things and saves you having to root around in drawers or bags to find things. They are also very handy to hang wet towels or swimwear for drying
- Cloth laundry bag can be folded up and put away when you are not using it
- Collapsible can be a real help. You can get everything from washing up bowls to storage baskets and cups that fold flat.
- Herbs and spices can be stored in either tic tac containers or tablet boxes.
- Miniature condiment sachets like salt, pepper, sugar, tomato ketchup and vinegar are easy to store and remain fresh for some time.
- Linen and towels should be rolled before storing in cupboards as this takes up less space and is easier to grab the roll out without pulling out a whole stack
- Extra storage space can be hidden away in caravans or motorhomes. Take a good look at your unit and any spare space can be fitted with a rail or small storage boxes which fit in to the available space.
- Small rotary clothes hangers are a great idea for hanging socks, undies and other small bits. They create more hanging space without actually taking up any extra room on your clothesline.
- Hanging shoe rack can be used storing all kinds of things, such as cloths, tea towels, barbecue tools, toiletries and can be easily carried around.
- Vacuum bags for storing clothes are really handy. You could have a bag for each person and when you have them packed vacuum all the air out. You’ll be amazed how small each bag will be then.
You have the basics ready and stowed away in the caravan or the boot of the car and now you are on the way. It’s all well and good having everything tidied away or securely stowed away in cupboards, drawers or storage bags but what about making things easy for when you arrive at your destination.
Tips on keeping things clean & tidy in your caravan or motorhome
Yes, we know that it’s probably impossible to keep things clean when you are camping but hopefully these few tips will help to make things easier.
- Floor mats before you step into the caravan/motorhome or tent stops so much dirt, dust and sand from getting inside. You can get washable mats which can be thrown in the washing machine to clean and dry out quickly.
- Hang a damp, reusable cloth for each of you at the entrance. You can use it to wash your hands or rub sand off your feet before you enter.
- Make sure you pack babywipes and hand sanitiser. They're camping necessities and you can never have too many.
- Have a dirty clothes bag that can go from van to home or van or laundry room. There is nothing worse than dirty or wet clothes being mixed with clean clothes!
- Leave a box at the entrance where you can put dirty shoes and wet clothes.
- How annoying is it when the shower door keeps sliding open or a cupboard door keeps banging! Just attach heavy duty magnets to the door and the door frame and this should keep it in place.
- Always clean out your caravan or motorhome as soon as you get home. There is nothing worse than deciding to take a last minute trip only to realise that all the stuff from the last trip is still in the unit.
- For tent people, always make sure your tent is completely dry when you pack it away. Mildew can damage it and will make it smell. If you can't get it dry before you leave, remember to unpack it again at home and dry it out. Poles and pegs should also be dried as they can get rusty.
Ok, we have covered storage and we have covered cleaning now it’s time to get to the fun part.
Little quirky tips and hints to make life easier.
- Practise makes perfect - do a trial run in your garden before you go. It’s not as embarrassing to make mistakes in your garden than in front of other well seasoned campers!
- Packing your car/caravan/motorhome - make sure the things you will need first when you arrive on site are easily accessible. It’s stressful enough trying to set everything up without having to empty the contents onto the grass to find something at the back, particularly if it’s raining.
- Set up in daylight - always arrive at your campsite a good few hours before it gets dark. That way you can find your pitch and have plenty of time to set up before night fall. Scrabbling around in the dark trying to pitch up is no fun for anyone and you're more likely to do something wrong.
- Setting up your tent – always zip closed doors before you put your tent up. If you leave the doors of your tent unzipped when you pitch it will be pulled so taut that zipping the doors up will be difficult, causing tension that could damage the zips.
- Don’t push in pegs using your feet - The easiest way to bend pegs is by attempting to push them in with your foot. If the ground is super soft, you might get away with it, but in normal conditions, you’re more likely to bend the pegs rendering them unusable. Always use a mallet
- Wet shoes - As you’re going to bed, take the insoles out of your wet shoes and stuff the shoes with newspaper. By morning they should be nice and dry.
- Sealable sandwich bags - great for storing any small electronics when the rain starts pouring
- Heat getting to you - Hang a cold damp towel over a fan to cool the air down before it circulates. This is a handy tip for anytime not just camping time.
- Toiletries – some people suggest you buy travel size toiletries as they take up less room. However, these can be costly and need replenishing regularly. Take the ones you use at home. Simply cover with cling film under lids to avoid spillages and store in a ziplock bag
- Look before you pitch – Pitches can vary a lot within a site. Always take a good look around to make sure it is suitable for you, particularly from a safety point of view if you have small children with you. Also, you may want a quieter spot away from families or want to be close to facilities. If you have specific requirements always make sure you talk to the owner when booking.
- Give the kids jobs to do - Whilst you are busy pitching and setting up, children can sometimes prove to be a bit of a distraction. Give them jobs to do so they aren’t under your feet and they feel like they are helping. Delegate easy jobs like blowing up air beds and setting up simple camp furniture to the kids so they feel involved and are kept busy.
- Trees - The shade of a tree can look appealing, but the grass is often poor because it’s protected from the rain, trees can drip sap and birds have a habit of roosting and leaving little presents on your lovely unit beneath. Rain will also drip from trees long after a storm has passed
- Fuel for cooking - Take extra fuel for cooking. You might get through more than you think and not every campsite has a camp shop. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of cooking dinner and you run out of gas.
- Gas cylinder - To find out how much gas you have left in a bottle, pour warm water down the side. The water turns cold where the gas starts
- Cool Box – Freeze as much as you can before you pack it, and if you can’t freeze an item, at least make sure it is chilled, rather than at room temperature before you place it in the cooler. Remember too that the fuller your cool box is, the more effectively it will keep the contents cool.
- Keeping things cold longer - Rather than filling your cool box/bag with ice, freeze bottles of water instead. They can take a long time to thaw out and should keep your food nice and cool. Then, once they do thaw, you’ll have plenty of fresh drinking water available.
- Water carrier - A collapsible water carrier is very handy, particularly one that also dispenses water and then can be folded away when not in use.
- Staying warm when sleeping – This can be difficult, particularly with the Irish climate. Put an extra blanket or even a picnic blanket underneath air mattresses as another layer of protection from the cold ground. Invest in good sleeping bags and air mattresses. Take pillows and extra blankets or duvets to stay super cosy.
- Zips – Whether it’s the zip in your tent or the zip in your sleeping bag they can often come stiff and difficult to open. Rub an unlit candle over it. Also, sometimes little fingers find it hard to grasp the zip so attach a large keyring to make life easier.
- Sleep aids - Earplugs also come in handy in case of nearby snorers and noisy nocturnal wildlife. Also, eye masks will limit the glare of the early morning sun
- Glow sticks – Hang them outside your unit so that you can easily spot your pitch when you are coming back in the dark.
- The dreaded insects – Inevitably there will be insects flying around. Some people will escape but for many others the Irish blood is very tasty for these insects. If sitting outside keep a citronella candle burning or dilute a few drops into a spray bottle and use it to spray around your area to keep the insects at bay.
- Mealtimes – We all have to be fed and one of the great things about going camping is cooking outdoors. It is wise to plan ahead, prepare as much as possible at home and if possible pre-cook things so that you won’t be wasting precious time from your holiday cooking.
Here are a few handy tips on feeding your family on holidays
- Don’t rely on just a barbecue. Weather conditions may not always be favourable to outdoor cooking. Make sure you have an alternative method of cooking food, like a simple camping stove.
- A small bottle of spray oil is very handy for cooking. Saves the unpleasant mess of a big bottle of cooking oil spilling while travelling.
- How do you like your eggs in the morning? Rather than bringing a box of eggs and running the risk of them getting smashed if you go over a bump or something heavy is on top of the box, crack and put them into a bottle before you leave home. One water bottle can hold approximately 8 cracked eggs.
- Keeping your pan clean - put a little washing up liquid on the bottom before putting it on the grill. It’ll be much easier to remove ash and grease.
- Pool noodles have many uses not just swimming aid. They can be cut into small sections and placed over guy ropes to make them stand out against grass to prevent anyone tripping. Also, place a pool noodle in the corners of a pop-up or canopy to keep rainwater from pooling around the supports.
- Repair kit – Always have a full stocked repair kit. It should include at the very least duct tape, cable ties and extra pegs.
Caravan & Camping in Ireland
I hope these help you to really enjoy your holiday in Ireland. There is no better way to see the country with all your own home comforts. Click Camping Ireland to find information on all the great caravan & camping sites throughout Ireland before you travel. It is always wise to book ahead so you won’t be disappointed or have a wasted journey. Download the Camping Ireland App which you can use to browse and search for approved sites with ease while you are travelling around. For more information on the app click here
There are over 100 quality approved caravan & camping parks throughout Ireland. Sites offer top class facilities with many onsite amenities. There is a variety of sites around Ireland. Maybe you are looking for a quiet site where you can pitch up and use the site as a base for travelling around. Maybe you want a site where there is a playground for your kids or even sites where there are a host of onsite activities for all the family to enjoy. Whatever you want Camping Ireland has something for everyone.
Don’t forget to order your Camping Key Europe Card which offers great discounts and savings at campsites, visitor attractions and many more outlets. The card is accepted in over 2,800 sites in Ireland and Europe. It also includes free third-party insurance. You can order the card here
For information on these sites, the facilities they offer and other information log onto our website Camping Ireland Enjoy the independence and flexibility that camping in Ireland can offer in quality approved sites. We look forward to welcoming you to outdoor living.