People love the free-spirited, spontaneous life of camping -- the let-your-hair-down happiness of chucking real life and heading for the hills. But it takes work to make it happen. To preserve the integrity of your idyllic wanderings, first complete these five tasks that have to do with – horrors! – laws, fees, fuel, phones and Facebook.
- Check Local Laws
Every state has different laws. Depending what you plan to do other than putting your feet up on a camp stool, you should be aware of laws of the land. Check with the local visitor’s bureau. In Nebraska, you’ll find camping rules and laws on the Nebraska Game and Park Commission website.
- Prepay Your Deposit
If you know where you plan to camp, pay fees ahead. This helps assure your spot won’t be given away—and cancels out the craziness of finding dollar bills to stuff into the envelope if you arrive after hours. Also, paying ahead means you won’t feel the pinch of using a big chunk of your cash in hand.
- Keep Your Fuel Tank Full
Avoid the danger of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing but fumes. Always fill up when a station is available if you are at a half-tank or less. If camping remotely, carry an extra gas can (using all the safety tricks you know to keep it from blowing up).
- Note NO SERVICE Phone Zones
Some people tell you not to go where your phone won’t work, but you’d miss out on some of the most beautiful land in the U.S. (even in Nebraska, because Sandhills). Just be aware when you might lose service. Revert to old-school rules: let someone know where you are and when you are expected back.
- Don’t Post on Facebook
Save vacation bragging rights until AFTER. If you post on Facebook that you’re excited about your trip or send photos while you’re gone, it’s a big invitation to burglars. I sometimes post photos from the road. However, I try to make it unclear whether I’m seeing sites today—or SAW them in the past.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Learn the laws, prepay fees, fill up on fuel, check phone service and make a Facebook plan, then let your hair down and have fun. Safety is always first, but camping adventures are the best.
Kindra Foster is an award-winning senior writer/editor who has worked many years with a broad array of businesses. She’s also an "every-person's" travel writer, usually traversing the U.S. and Canada solo, camping in the back of a Jeep, collecting memories of America's beautiful and interesting places, and introducing readers to the hardworking people of this land.