Camping. A word that strikes horror into the mind of many people of all ages. It’s the whole tent thing usually — or the idea of sleeping on the ground — or the bugs and crawly things. Yuck!!!
But what if you could save a packet of cash compared to the cost of a bog-standard and often rather characterless or ugly hotel room in Europe by staying in a campground? And what if it did not require sleeping in a tent to save that money? Do I have your attention yet???
Some campgrounds call them bungalows or cabins and some call them chalets. But if you can picture a miniature house that is all kitted out with built in furniture and bedrooms or bathrooms in Lilliputian proportions, that should give you an idea of what I am describing.
The examples below are from two out of three different stays that we had in campgrounds as we travelled from Germany to southern France and then up to Normandy in northern France. The two cabins that I took pictures of are quite different in appearance but in both cases they were well insulated and cozy and had double-glazed doors and windows for both energy efficiency and quiet from any exterior sounds. We had a brilliant night’s sleep in each of them, we had our own little kitchen to make ourselves a nice dinner and breakfast each day, and there was no noise from anyone down the hall in a hotel.
This first example was in the Auvergne, south of Burgundy in Central France. The campgrounds themselves were in a rustic area that was surrounded by farms on one side and a lake with a walking track on the other. The cabin we rented was rustic, rather ‘woody’ both inside and out, completely charming, and only cost us €39 for the night.
The next example was a newer version of the cabin/bungalow/chalet concept and as you can see in the photos, it was an homage to pastels! We found this site whilst driving from the Atlantic oceanside stay in Mimizan that I wrote about in By The Sea, Bye The Sea — But Where Are We? up towards Normandy.
We stopped for the night in Parthenay and found the cabin below right at the edge of the medieval walled city. The tourist season had officially started since it was now after June the 1st, but it still cost us less than €70 per night for a two bedroom cabin.
Compare that to the cost of the average 2-star rated hotel room in Parthenay (€68 for the cheapest one on the day that I am writing this) that has no kitchen and no second room to sleep in if your partner is snoring or coughing or whatever and you can see why we seek these places out when we are on a driving trip.
Prior to checking in, we went to the supermarket and picked up less than €20 in groceries and had a lovely dinner that evening plus a healthy breakfast the following morning with muesli and organic yogurt accompanied by a freshly brewed expresso. Yum!
If a noisy hotel room in a generic motorway chain costs you upwards of €65 per night off season or €99 and up in season, how would you like to spend a mere €39 off season and €69 in high season for your own wee house? Saving an average of €30 per day adds up to a lot of extra sightseeing or purchases! And almost all of these places offer an extra 10-20% discount for stays of over 3 nights. So you can unpack and settle in for a few days with a temporary home base from which to explore a region.
The easiest way to find these little gems is by doing an internet search on, for example, campsites in France (or whatever other country in Europe you choose) with bungalows/chalets/cabins. Many of them have websites that list the features on offer plus a clearly stated price per night, per week, or the discounted rate for multiple nights.
Additional perks of these cabins usually include a swimming pool, a playground for children, and oft-times a bar or restaurant and a mini-market for last minute groceries or shampoo.
Why not give it a try and travel through Europe in a more relaxed manner by staying in family-friendly and wallet friendly accommodation.
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.
Posted on 20 June 2011
20/06/2011 at 2:27 PM Comments (2)