Sarah Barrell: Time to canvas support for the defiant camping break

Travel View

I've just come back from a long weekend's camping in Monmouthshire, dashing back late on Monday afternoon on a train packed with bank-holiday travellers.

Surrounded by all these grim-faced souls returning to real life (myself included) it felt irritatingly like a pre-rush hour commute rather than the tail-end of a holiday. I'm wondering if I should have bothered coming back at all. It's not that I'm work-shy (at least not that much) but after talking with some of the happy camping families pitched around me, it seemed that an increasing number of us are electing to live under canvas, at least for the summer.

I spoke to a family who are spending the entire school break camping, the workers among them commuting into cities around the south-west to eek out their earning hours indoors, before returning to the freedom of the campsite at night or at weekends. I love this idea. It's a kind of "statement camping" that has a defiant, libertarian attitude about it.

Taking the home-away-from-home idea to a potty extreme, I met a couple from Bristol who had recently camped in Devon near a tent full of cats. The cats' owner would appear twice daily with kitty biscuits, cuddles and to let his pets in and out. At dusk the animals would appear, yawning and stretching before vanishing into the woods for their dark pursuits, and quite incredibly were happily herded back inside each morning where they spent the day snoozing.

It seems the cats' owner had opted for a summer of camping only to be offered a two-week house-sit nearby, at a rather grand property that didn't allow pets. What's a free-loading holiday-maker to do? Leaving cats under canvas was clearly the answer.

Last year, there was a rash of alarming news stories about the increasing number of Londoners who, thanks to prohibitively high property prices, were forced to live permanently in campsites and commute into work each day. I didn't meet any of these embattled workers. And neither did I encounter any off-grid-living, yurt-loving Freegans, but rather a breed of innovative holiday-maker looking for a cheap way to stretch out their summer break.

***

If you want to make your holiday budget go further but can't face camping, don't be tempted to think an all-inclusive resort might be the answer. According to a recent report from the Post Office, 94 per cent of all-inclusive holidaymakers expected all meals in all restaurants to be included in their package price, but its survey of 54 hotels in 24 destinations worldwide found that 65 per cent charged extra or put restrictions on using their à la carte restaurants. With all-inclusives now accounting for around a third of UK package holidays, this could mean that some five million of us are out of pocket. Of course, it is entirely possible not to spend an extra penny once you are at an all-inclusive resort but according to the Post Office only one in five holidaymakers managed it. Not surprising really, as the key culprits of unexpected costs – mini bars, cocktails, international drink brands and internet use – are many people's essential ingredients for holiday R&R.

Do you have a travel issue? Email sundaytravel@independent.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor