History of camping and caravan clubs

Written By: Christie Quimby

Sophistication and civilization abounded in the growing cities of the 1800s. There were all kinds of new gadgets, like refrigeration, telephones and an astounding new invention called the light bulb. Industrialization was creating an ideal world for upper crust city dwellers who could want for nothing. Except that, as it turned out, what many discovered they wanted was to escape the stifling new confines of city life. The once largely-unwelcome necessity of camping outdoors was ironically poised to become a new multi-national pastime.

The world can thank Dr. R.W. Gordon Stables and his mystically named caravan “Wanderer” for modern day camping. His engagement of the Bristol Carriage Company to custom-build a horse-drawn dwelling purely for luxury and leisure was the documented kickoff of caravanning. Stables compiled his cross country adventures with Wanderer in the 1886 book “The Cruise of the Land Yacht Wanderer”. His dry humor, wit and keen observations no doubt inspired many a future camper.

Another outdoor enthusiast, Thomas Holding was already 42 when Stables published his tale. Holding was a respectable London tailor by trade, but had crossed the rugged American plains with a wagon train at the impressionable age of 9. As an adult, Holding continued tent camping and then began to combine it with various canoe and bicycling trips. His outings eventually led to the book “Cycle and Camp in Connemara”. He shared adventurous stories of days spent biking and camping with three friends as they made their way through Ireland in 1898.

Looking for other like-minded enthusiasts, Holding asked readers who might be interested in cycling and camping to contact him. The response was terribly underwhelming. Three years and 13 members later, The Association of Cycle Campers was finally founded. Their inaugural camp was in an Oxfordshire orchard and consisted of 6 gentleman campers dressed in dignified tweed suits sleeping under heavy canvas tarps.

Yet like a campfire, where there was smoke, there was fire. By 1906 the association was indeed on fire.  It amassed several hundred members in just 5 years. With his considerable experience Holding wrote another book, simply titled “The Campers Handbook” . Always the gentleman, Holding offered advice on such important matters as choosing camping companions. He wrote: “…preferably those with ‘Good temper, patience, willingness, love of fresh air, absence of dandified fads, good health, common sense, moderate love of nature, first-class appetite, stability and intelligence.’” He also advised leaving women and newlywed men at home, as both were known to ruin the fun.

The humble beginnings of Holding’s small association continued to grow despite two World Wars and Holdings’ own death in 1930. The name of the club was changed several times over the years to match changing public interest. Eventually it became The Camping and Caravanning Club. Today, the association has become the largest camping club in Britain, with over 300,000 members and international service. It is over 110 years old and still going strong. Obviously much has changed during this time.  However, it would seem that despite all the technological advancements available to society, the grass is still greener when you are camping.

Enjoying international travel With camp and caravan clubs

Written By: Delia Tallesen

Being able to travel around the world is one reason why people love camp and caravan clubs. As members, they find it easier to make overseas travel arrangements from flying to sightseeing. They are better able to book flights, rent caravans and buy discounted items for long-distance trips. Club websites have long lists of popular campsites found all over Europe and other continents. Hundreds of camp and caravan sites are located in dozens of European countries like France, Austria and Ireland. There is no reason why people should not participate in international travel with camp and caravan clubs.

International Travel Amenities

Different countries offer similar amenities for people who visit their campsites. Whether people go to Germany or the Netherlands, they find typical amenities to keep themselves entertained like pools, bars, restaurants and shopping areas. Some sites have their own businesses operating from within, while others are located near business districts. Some places are built a long walk away from the beach or countryside. Travelers can mix and match the different provisions found on the club websites.

Escorted Tours

For people who want well-rounded trips, escorted tours are designed for them. Tourists are able to see as much of the country as possible before leaving. An example is an 11 day escorted tour of Holland that does not require the use of the caravan. Visitors do everything from see flowers blossomed at the Keukenhof gardens to ride canal cruises down waterways in Amsterdam. Escorted tourists are encouraged to travel lightly to avoid losing their things and show up on time to meet the other members.

Travel to Specific Countries

When it comes to caravanning, West European countries have the most destinations for travelers. Ireland is a country well known for its lush green landscapes and rocky coastlines, which fits well for campers who love staying outdoors. Campers can have a few drinks at the pub and walk back to spend the night by an impressive coastline. A few designated campsites include Fossa, Camac Valley and River Valley, which provide facilities for cleaning and entertainment.

Spain is another country with landscapes that people want to view by caravan. Travelers get a thorough blend of Spanish cuisine, culture and architecture that sets the region apart. As for the camping environments, Spain has everything from beaches to snowy mountains. On a weeklong tour in places like Andaluca, travelers see the natural and cultural richness of the land. Whether campers love Ireland, Germany, Spain or all three countries, they are guaranteed to find some travel package that suits their interests.

New Experiences in Different Countries

When people go beyond their comfort zones and take the caravan overseas, they open up to new adventures and sights. Eventually, campers get tired of the familiar North American culture and think twice about visiting the same campsite. People who have heard about international travel with camp and caravan clubs should learn more online. They can choose from many different locations that provide unique activities for adults and children. All camp club members are encouraged to enjoy their travels internationally.

The Benefits of Getting Membership Perks in a Camp and Caravan Club

Written By: Delia TallesenSecuring a camp and caravan club membership means getting a lot of perks. All of these benefits are needed for people who want to plan the next big outing. Whether they need insurance or camping tips, campers should work … [Continue reading]

Pros of Being in a Camp and Caravan Club

Written By: Delia TallesenA camp and caravan club is an organization that supports campers and caravanners mainly in Europe and elsewhere. The main point is to bring together like-minded individuals who love camping, vanning and the outdoors. The … [Continue reading]

Camping and Caravan Clubs of America

Written By: Dan RichardsCamp and Caravan clubs have been around for a good while, around forty years or more. They offer many perks to the week-end camper that uses prepared campsites, like discounts on group sites. The main benefits of these groups … [Continue reading]