In a modern world obsessed with social media and binge-watching, it’s easy to forget that there’s more out there than just a digital screen, like trees, lakes, wild animals, and so on. And if you’re planning a trip or even thinking of one, such natural features are likely far from your mind. Sure, going off to explore and experience a far-flung city or developed area with plenty of people around is a good way to spend a vacation. But it doesn’t have to be.
We often associate camping out in the woods or spending time in nature with areas close to where we live, but there are legions of fantastic national parks, local wildlife preserves, and other perfect places for spending your days and nights in the great outdoors that are all around the United States (and the world). There’s even extra benefits and advantages to camping that you probably won’t get from other travel styles.
Here are eight reasons why should to go camping on your next trip:
It’s Good for Your Health
Outdoor life haters will probably list all the various extreme dangers to life and limb as a valid reason to stay out of the woods. But the truth is, camping trips can be great for your health. Hiking and other activities are fantastic forms of exercise. Camping trips also traditionally entail healthier food. All the natural sunlight you’re exposed to can translates to a healthy dose of vitamin D. Oh, and sleeping outdoors has been shown to reset campers’ natural sleep schedules. What else do you need?
It Boosts Your Mood
Remember all those things we just mentioned above in regard to physical health? Yeah, they’re good for your mental health too! Getting away from it all and enjoying the peace and quiet the outdoors bring is well known to help people relax. It’s easy to see the benefit of unplugging from work emails and the competitive pressures of social media, but there’s also the documented positive effect that comes with being around nature and spending extended periods of time in green spaces.
It’s Perfect for Cost-Effective Getaways
There’s a reason we used “cost-effective” instead of “cheap.” If you’ve ever found yourself in a camping supply store or the outdoor section of a sporting goods chain, you’ve probably noticed the high price tags. But, unlike the supplies and tools for a lot of other hobbies and activities, camping gear tends to last a long time. Just ask anyone who’s still schlepping around the backpack they used in their twenties or still using the camping stove from when they were a boy scout. Add in the low cost of staying at a campground or price of admission to a park and camping seems like less of a strain on the wallet versus other vacations!
It Creates Stronger Social Bonds
There’s nothing quite like relationships that are forged outdoors. Whether it’s new friends made right on the campground, old ones that you’ve made the trip with, or enjoying some family time, camping is known to bring people closer together and create tight bonds that extend beyond the woods. Think about it the next time you book cheap domestic flights…you never know where you’re going to find a friend for life!
It Connects You with Nature
Camping takes place in the middle of nature, usually in a beautiful park preserved from the taint of modernization. Most campsites offer a few conveniences such as toilets, showers, and sometimes electrical hookups, but, for the most part, the natural world is untouched. Spending time in the midst of that can really connect you to nature. You will be able to soak in the beauty and peace of the natural scenery and grow to appreciate how the world works.
We’ve already cited all the things that just being in nature can do to improve your mood and health, but along with all that the reduced stress, increased dopamine levels, and clean air (as well as plenty of other stuff), there’s something that nature gets in return. You see, as you grow to appreciate nature you can become better for the world itself by learning to love and care for the planet — and that’s not a bad thing.
You may also like: 4 Fall Nature Hikes to Take Around the U.S.
It’s Your Chance to Unplug and Digitally Detox
Camping is a time to get away from the constant influx of blue light, screens, and notifications that fill our daily lives. When you “unplug” for a while, you will find relief in not having to check your phone constantly, and a break from social media and the news can help you truly relax.
It’s clear that in today’s world the amount of technology we face is having an impact on our lives…in both good and bad ways. Some of the negative effects include hindering our ability to socially interact with others, hurting our short-term memory, confusing our circadian rhythms with blue light, and messing up our sleeping patterns because of notifications.
A digital detox can help restore some of the things we lose through technology. It’s refreshing to our bodies, and it will be surprisingly fun to find out how many things there are to do that do not require screens. You can expect some quality time, meaningful conversations, and precious memories created with loved ones!
You Can Develop Some Life Skills
You’ll find many chances to flex your creative muscles when camping in nature. There will be the main skills, of course, like setting up a tent and building a fire. But, chances are, you’ll learn and practice several more new skills along the way too! It might happen when your tent pole breaks, the air mattress pops, or the lighter gets lost. Suddenly you find yourself in the middle of an adventure, needing to problem-solve intuitively and creatively.
Although it’s important to know basic survival skills, most of us never will never have the chance to use them. Camping will allow you to practice and hone those skills. You may even find something new to try and learn, like cooking a recipe without a kitchen or reading a map for your hiking expedition. The educational value of these practical life lessons is immense.
You Get Valuable “Me Time”
Solitude is often rare to come by these days, and most people regard it almost negatively, but it can have enormous restorative powers on your well-being. By removing yourself from your normal obligations, the pressures and responsibilities you face at work, or perhaps even from social demands, you give yourself a chance to become more self-aware.
You’ll discover what is most important to you when you eliminate the typical distractions of your busy schedule and gain a new perspective on your world. This can help you prioritize and gain a significant understanding of yourself and your decisions. You may realize that things were weighing on you emotionally and mentally that you did not even recognize, and camping will often give you the silence and privacy to ponder those things. This can become a form of self-care and help you develop healthy psychological patterns.
Have another reason to go camping that’s not our list? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!