There are over 2,800 campsites in Germany, the majority of which are in Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Baden-Württemberg. According to current statistics (as of 2024), almost 40 percent of German camping vacationers preferred local pitches last year – this year the tourism industry could experience a new boom: Due to the prevailing corona crisis, many families have canceled their booked vacation abroad Alternatively, you can plan a spontaneous trip in your own country. The topic of “camping with children” is at the top of many people’s lists, but many tourists lack the necessary experience. For this reason, the most important questions about camping holidays are answered below.

Regardless of whether you are planning a camping holiday in Germany or abroad, the equipment always remains the same. So that you don’t experience any unpleasant surprises during your stay outdoors, the most important points are summarized for you:

The locationFirst things first: Wild camping is prohibited throughout Germany. In other countries such as Sweden, Norway or Finland there are exceptions, but you should find out in advance where camping outdoors (outside a campsite) is allowed – and where it is not. You are always on the safe side if you book a permanent parking space. Here the ADAC is a helpful companion when looking for a suitable place for your family. Whether it’s the North Sea or the Baltic Sea, in the valley or in the mountains: you’re guaranteed to find what you’re looking for in this camping guide for Germany and Northern Europe.

The equipmentThe heart of camping with children is the tent. It should be large enough to accommodate all of your fellow travelers and their luggage. Models with two separate sleeping cabins are best suited for families – this gives parents the opportunity to put their children to bed earlier without accidentally waking them up late at night. In addition, it gives you and your children more privacy. When purchasing, make sure your tent is waterproof and includes UV protection. It should also be easy to assemble.

Not only the tent, but also the sleeping place plays an important role when planning your vacation. It’s less about the comfort of lying down than the fact that you lose 50 percent of your body heat through the surface – which can be uncomfortable and unhealthy on cold nights. It is therefore best to use sleeping mats – there are back-friendly models that inflate on their own and therefore provide better protection from the cold. These can be used as a sleeping surface for the whole family (doubles also available).

The sleeping bag should also be purchased carefully. Square models have the advantage that when opened, they can be covered with bedding and used as a blanket. There are now even larger models for two people. Depending on where you want to camp, the sleeping bag must be warm enough if it gets very cold at night, or thin enough if you are traveling to a very warm country. Models made of synthetic fibers are suitable for children, as they dry more quickly if a nighttime mishap occurs to your little one.

Clothing There is no specific dress code when camping with children. Since the weather outside can change constantly (and it does, especially in Germany), you should primarily rely on wind- and weatherproof textiles. Warm fleece clothing, rain gear and mud gear should all go in your suitcase, as should swimming gear and short clothing. Make sure you have a balanced mix of children and adults so that you are prepared for all eventualities. Otherwise, most campsites also have washrooms.

HygieneSo that you can practice your daily hygiene even on vacation, you should store the most important utensils such as shampoo and shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant and shaving kits, etc. in a practical toiletry bag (also available for children). It’s best to get a model with hooks so you can hang it up. To save space, you can also switch to small, travel-sized bottles that you fill yourself at home.

The food Since you have to look after yourself when camping with children, you should not only take crockery and cutlery (preferably made of plastic) with you on holiday: one of the most important kitchen utensils that you need for cooking is a gas stove. But can openers and bottle openers, pots and pans, sharp knives and boards, spices and oil are also important everyday items. There are even camping kitchens for on the go.

The first aid kit Last but not least, you should always think about your family’s health, as unexpected illnesses can occur even on vacation. It’s best to pack a small first-aid kit in which you can store the most important medications for typical gastrointestinal complaints, diarrhea, fever and cold symptoms. You should also take appropriate sun protection and a repellent against mosquito bites and burns. If your children need special medicine, for example for allergies, this should also be taken with you on holiday. To be on the safe side, a first aid kit is always a good choice.

The toyDepending on how small your children are, you should also think about appropriate toys for the little ones. If you are spending your camping holiday by the sea, special beach toys are recommended. If you spend most of your time near the tent, you can also take the toys that your children like to use at home with you. But there are also nice games for children and adults that you can play together outdoors – such as badminton, beach tennis, boules, Viking chess and flying a kite.

Otherwise, if you have forgotten something at home, there is of course always the option of buying it directly on site. Be it toys or medicine – you can actually get everything here and abroad, although perhaps at higher prices.

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