Camping in less developed areas can have its fair share of challenges. Here are some things to consider before you travel to a non-traditional camping destination.
Explaining Camping In Spots People Don’t Camp
There are so many things to love about camping. However despite its ubiquitous nature in many Western countries, it’s not practiced widely all over the world.
That means that sometimes when you go to other countries, often less developed areas, it can be difficult to explain what camping is, and why you want to do it.
Why Don’t People Camp?
In many developing countries, travel is a luxury that few can afford. When people do choose to travel, it’s often a pretty big deal and tends to involve pre-organized accommodation, hotels, resorts, homestays and more.
The idea that a person with the opportunity to travel would intentionally spend their evening sleeping outside in a temporary structure isn’t just unlikely, it’s difficult to comprehend. Travel is seen as a status symbol, particularly in less developed areas. So by extension the places people stay, where they eat out, the vehicles they travel in and so on are all signs of their wealth and standing in the community.
Explaining The Draw Of Camping
Trying to explain the draw of camping comes in a couple of levels. First, you have people who might have heard of camping before, or seen it in a Western movie, and are therefore open to the idea. Then you have people who haven’t heard of camping, or seen it, but can be swayed with some explanation and information. Then you have group three, who simply cannot (and often will not) take the time to understand camping. This group of people will continually offer other options to save you from spending the night outdoors.
Unfortunately, encountering the third group can be a challenge, but for groups one and two it’s not impossible to explain just why you want to camp. Learning a few local words will often help you out, particularly in less developed areas where English is not a commonly spoken language.
The message you want to get across here is not necessarily that you’re trying to save money. Rather that you want to experience the natural environment in a purer way. Lots of compliments about a country’s natural beauty tend to go down well in all local groups. Explaining that you’re eager to see the stars, the sunrise or similar might also be a good idea. Talking too much about how you want to save money isn’t likely to get you very far. Particularly so in countries that survive on a tourist dollar, so don’t focus on this.
Finding Spots To Camp
When you’re travelling in less developed countries, it pays to do a little bit of research prior to arriving. This is to get an idea of where you might find camping areas. Camping on private land is fraught with complications, as it would be in any country. So it’s best to avoid this unless you have express permission from the landowner.
In Asian countries, you’re likely to have more luck looking for camp spots on the grounds of churches, temples and mosques. This is provided that you present yourself respectfully and seek permission from the head of the temple. Many backpackers have found Buddhist establishments to be the most open to the idea of camping. However even then there are no guarantees that you’ll be allowed to stay.
Outside of these sorts of establishments there are also national parks. These parks often provide grassed areas for free (or very cheap) camping. Of course, national parks can be a bit out of the way, and they aren’t always available.
You can also chat to local businesses, particularly accommodation and restaurants, to see if you can swap camping for other things. Things such as a small cost (less than the price of a room). Or even a loyalty promise (to eat at the restaurant/café everyday).
If you’re heading to an area where you haven’t done any pre-research on camping options, don’t arrive too late in the evening or afternoon. Arriving later in the day doesn’t give you as much time to explore your options. The last thing you need is not finding yourself somewhere to stay. If this does happen, ensure you have some local currency on you in order to barter for another accommodation option.
When camping in less developed areas, always remember:
When you’re a travelling camper, it pays to remember to maintain a positive attitude at all times. Some people can become rude, angry or frustrated when they hear you want to camp instead of utilizing local accommodation. This is even if that accommodation is overpriced and not as comfortable as your camp set up.
In instances like this just keep your cool, and understand that you might not always be able to camp. That being said, there’s no point allowing yourself to be bullied by others. So be assertive, but friendly, shaking off any rudeness, and continue getting on with your adventure.
To obtain more information and read further about adventure-related destinations, there is not a lot available. However we have managed to find the inexpensive book Adventure Travel and Trekking available through Amazon.