Having a roof over your head, running water, a kitchen and all the other luxuries that come with staying in a hostel or apartment are great when travelling. Not only do they offer you similar comforts that you take for granted when you are home, they give you the space and facilities to relax after a full day of immersion in the culture of a new country. However, isn’t travelling meant to be more than simply seeing the sights and then retreating to a replica of your life back in your home country? We all enjoy a comfy, warm and secure building, yet it may mean missing out on some of the experiences that make travelling truly different from your daily routine. One way to get in touch with your surroundings, immerse yourself in nature and have a change from the norm is by camping. Camping gives you the opportunity to feel as though you are constantly outside, breathing fresh air and embarking on a real adventure. While a hostel, hotel or Airbnb may be a slightly easier option, you are sure to have a more authentic experience if you opt for camping. It can also be sociable, with many a story told and songs sung around a campfire.
As a consequence of all this, we have put together a list comprised of the top four camping websites for finding and booking your ideal camping holiday, be it in New Zealand, Patagonia or the Scottish Isles. If you truly want to get in touch in nature and go on a travelling adventure, then this list will assist you in finding the best spots for pitching your tent around the world. Each site was thoroughly assessed to ensure that a selection of only the best were selected, with each review containing a brief summary of the website, its highlights, what makes it unique and its potential drawbacks, while the pros and cons of each one are listed in an easy-to-read set of bullet points below each review. There are hundreds of sites all promising to offer you great options for finding and booking campsites, however we’ve chosen only the ones that most suitably fit our criteria by considering a number of factors outlined below.
Most important when reviewing any type of booking website is its user interface – or UI – and how easy it is to achieve what you set out to do whilst on it. A good, user-friendly interface with simple aesthetic is an obvious, yet often underrated, aspect of many websites, and something that can ultimately influence the entire experience for customers trying to find and book a campsite. While a website may offer a vast array of options and added features, an overcrowded and confusing homepage can make using even the platform’s most simple function difficult for many users. Frequently, the best sites are those with a simple, minimalistic aesthetic that make no attempt to over complicate the service offered by adding too many extra features, while they also seem to be the ones with the fastest loading speeds. Those that have an abundance of pop-up adverts and promotions can also make searching for information a more stressful experience than it ought to be. Therefore, we made sure that, when reviewing the various camping sites, we considered the overall usability and how easy it was to find what you were looking for before going on to assess any other factors.
As we mentioned, camping is not the easiest form of accommodation and inevitably, when searching for campsites, a number of different factors have to be considered to ensure you find the right place for you. The ability to quickly narrow parameters down so that they match customers’ specific requirements is a useful feature to have included, saving time in scrolling through pages and pages of suggestions, none of which are of interest to you. The option to narrow down and sort through search results often comes in the form of filters and ‘Sort By’ options. By applying various filters, you will be able to view a selection of all the campsites that match your specific requirements, while the ones that do not match will disappear from view. ‘Sort By’ options, meanwhile, work in a similar way to filters, however as the name suggests, they sort the results once users have added the appropriate filters, so that they can view options in either ascending or descending order depending on what they have selected. If, for example, you are looking for a site that is closest to the beach with good shower facilities, you will be able to do so by applying filters and then sorting in ascending order by distance.
Verified feedback from former customers was also factored in, as this can often be the most accurate and well-informed way of discovering about a particular campsite and its facilities. As, unlike the company themselves, customers do not have a vested interest to promote the service as anything other than what it is, they can be a better reference than any other in attaining information on what to expect. Hipcamp, for example, has on its website under the profiles of the various campsites, a review section where customers can leave their thoughts, feedback and photos detailing their personal experience staying in that particular place. This is great in gaining a real sense of what each place is really like, as they come from an unbiased source. CampingDirect.com also offers this, as well as the ability to filter by review type, such as ‘With Friends’ or ‘Family with Children’ in order to read the feedback most relevant to your the type of trip you will be taking. Therefore, we strived to look for those websites that included a good selection of verified user reviews when assessing the various platforms as they undoubtedly contribute towards making the service more transparent for customers.
Last, but not least, we looked the level of customer service offered by each of the camping sites. Included in this was the range of options for actually getting into contact with customer service in the first place, as just one form of contact can feel limited, especially when abroad and making a phone call has the potential to be expensive. The presence of an live online chat was considered a great addition, where customers are quickly put in contact with a travel agent who is on hand to clear up any queries they may have without the need to login to their email or wait in line on the phone. Nevertheless, once in contact, the level of attention is important, as there is little use in being told there is 24/7 customer support without somebody quickly responding to your queries on the other end. Each one was therefore assessed not only on how many ways there were of getting into contact but also how prompt the agents were at replying and how fast they could get you an answer.
Overall, this list provides a selection of the four most helpful websites for finding and booking your perfect camping trip, anywhere in the world. While camping may not be the first choice for many backpackers, it is an age old form of travelling that truly puts one back in touch with nature, something that has largely been lost since the dawn of smartphones and the internet. Explore amazing campsites, discover inspirational ideas and embark on a unique adventure, all by simply referring to our carefully curated list. We have taken into account the aforementioned factors to provide you with only the very best sites for finding and booking camping accommodation, and with this list you will have everything you need in one convenient place, saving you time in scrolling through pages of results.