Camping holidays: How to avoid a ‘nightmare’ on a UK staycation and escape the crowds

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Martin Dorey is an expert at escaping the crowds for an England or Wales staycation. He spoke to about his new book and shared his advice for new campers.

Martin said a key error can come from a lack of preparation for caravan or motorhome holidays.

He said: “Caravans and motorhomes have a lot of tanks to get to grips with. There’re water tanks, freshwater tanks, waste tanks and toilet tanks.

“Obviously everything has to be emptied and refilled. So one of the things that’s really useful to do before you go is think, ‘How do I empty the grey waste tank?’

“Learn how to do it quickly and easily. Because if things go wrong, it can turn into a nightmare.

“People should practise it at home and get used to it, so it’s not a disaster because as you can imagine toilet stuff going everywhere, it can be pretty unpleasant.”

Martin is an expert at getting off the grid in the UK but he said it’s important to keep track of some facilities.

He said: “Look up places to empty your waste. Everyone gets excited about going to Scotland and being wild and free.

“But you do have to empty your tanks in the right place and so knowing where those places are is really useful.”

Martin added: “People sometimes get really excited about going off and then realise there’s an issue when they’ve gone.

“Recently, we went to the Pyrenees to go snowboarding in our van. We had a heater and we didn’t know if we had enough power to run the heater all night.

“So we had a really restless night worrying about it. And in the end it was fine but if we’d worked that out before, we wouldn’t have had to worry about it.”

Preparation is key when it comes to a camping or motorhome holiday and could help to avoid a lot of problems further down the line.

Last year, many Britons chose to take a staycation as holidaymakers struggled with Covid rules.

Martin said this year is unlikely to be as busy but it still pays to plan ahead before leaving for a staycation.

He told “Last year, you couldn’t get a restaurant unless you booked but you have to kind of roll with it.

“Book ahead, plan ahead, maybe try to be less spontaneous, which is horrible to think because that’s what we all love.

“But you get the good spot by planning and if the weather picks up it should be a really good year for everybody again.”

The UK can become extremely busy over the summer months but Martin said it’s still possible to find peace and quiet.

He said: “There were some amazing moments walking the undercliff in Lyme Regis, which is absolutely fantastic.

“There was a landslip there about 150 to 200 years ago so all the vegetation is like virgin forest.

“If you walk through the forest, it’s just incredible. It’s really quiet and there’s no agriculture and no cars and very few people.”

Martin Dorey, Off the Beaten Track: England and Wales is available in all major retailers.

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