Camping guide for beginners: 5 tips for your first camping trip

Camping – sounds like adventure, campfire and freedom! Still, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning. We have compiled the most important tips for you so that you can really enjoy your first camping vacation.

Renting the right camper

If you don't have your own campervan yet, you can rent one for your vacation – either from commercial providers (rental companies, dealers and manufacturers) or from private rental companies. Here it is worth to compare carefully. Not only the prices vary considerably, but also the included services and the extent of the insurance coverage.

The type of vehicle you ultimately choose depends primarily on the number of travelers and the type of trip you want to take:

Caravans are great for longer stays in one place, especially for families or groups of up to 6 people. The towing vehicle (typically a passenger car or SUV) can be used flexibly for excursions and shopping trips. Disadvantages: When changing places, the assembly and disassembly is somewhat cumbersome and driving in the team for beginners not quite easy.
Motorhomes: Perfect for trips where the way is also the destination. With them you are independent of external supplies for at least 2 to 3 days and not dependent on campsites. Optimal for 2 to 4 persons. Disadvantages: Everything has to be dismantled and packed away during local excursions. In addition, the vehicles are relatively large, often a bit unwieldy and make it difficult to find large enough parking spaces.
Box vans and camping buses: A maneuverable alternative for those who need less space on site, but want to enjoy more freedom. They are also suitable as everyday vehicles and can get through (almost) everywhere. Disadvantages: In bad weather, it quickly becomes a little cramped for several people inside. In addition, there is often no toilet or shower on board.

Find and reserve a campsite

Finding the campsite of your choice is relatively easy – most operators present their offers on online portals such as or own websites.

It becomes more difficult when it comes to booking: At many campsites in Europe, it is not yet possible to book in advance – this is to allow all travelers more flexibility and spontaneity. The downside: vacationers who rely on vacation times often have difficulty planning. Other campsites do not have a suitable booking system yet. It can happen that "reservation mails" remain unanswered or no possibility for electronic contact is offered at all. If in doubt, call the operators and ask about the booking modalities.

Packing the right equipment

Camping vacation always means to "drive down" and to leave the luxury of everyday life a little bit behind. A few basic things should be on board though:

  • Weatherproof clothing
  • Waterproof sandals or flip-flops for the public sanitary facilities
  • Towels
  • A small grill or camping stove
  • Camping utensils and cutlery
  • Flashlights or headlamps
  • Candles or tea lights
  • A small LED or gas lamp
  • Lighter and matches
  • Sleeping bags or blankets
  • Re-sealable plastic bags
  • A few meters of paracord (parachute cord)
  • Armor tape
  • And of course a water canister

Free standing / wild camping

So-called "freestanding", i.e. camping in a caravan or motorhome outside a campsite or pitch, is not permitted in many regions of Europe. Especially in closed villages or nature reserves, violations can result in heavy fines.

Exception: In some countries a short rest (maximum one night) is tolerated as long as it takes place on public roads and parking lots or on private property with the owner's permission. However, national parks, state forests, beaches and lakeshores are off limits in this case as well.

For tent vacationers, on the other hand, there are still quite a few regions where an adventure under the open sky is possible: In Scandinavia, for example, the "Everyman's Right" applies – this means that you can pitch your tent (almost) everywhere. In the sparsely populated southeastern Europe, camping is also allowed in most countries or is at least tolerated. In Switzerland camping or bivouacking above the tree line is usually not a problem.

In principle: Who wants to free-stand or wildcamp, should show respect to nature, the wild animals and the native humans. Open fire, left garbage or dumped toilet fluid are an absolute no-go!

Slow down and let go

Our most important tip for a successful first camping trip is: Let yourself go fully on your little adventure!

  • Enjoy the closeness to nature and also the moments when your smartphone has no reception.
  • Don't be annoyed if you get lost or something doesn't work out as you had imagined. Improvisation is everything and provides you with new experiences!
  • Take your time for the trips and make a spontaneous stop in a beautiful landscape or in a picturesque little village.
  • Be spontaneous. Stay where you like and move on when the travel bug hits you again. After all, you always have your home with you!
  • Sit in front of the camper in the evening with a glass of wine and listen to the birds, the crickets or the wind in the trees.
  • After a day in the fresh air, let yourself fall into a relaxing deep sleep while the rain pelts your roof.

If you are interested in a camping vacation, you can look for a suitable camping site here.

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