Feeling stressed and need a break, but can't afford a luxury spa retreat? Don't worry - a camping trip could be just what the doctor ordered.
New research suggests that while nearly two thirds (57%) of non-campers are stressed or anxious on an average day, just a third of campers (35%) are stressed out.
The latest figures also show that in 2012, UK residents took 15.9 million camping and caravanning trips, spending £2.5 billion. Of these trips, 48% were spent in static caravans, 26% in tents and 26% in touring caravans or motorhomes.
1. Camping can be fancy
But if the prospect of Britain's unpredictable weather puts thoughts of a relaxing camping break in the shade, don't despair – there's always 'glamping'.
Glamping just means glamorous camping, so you still experience the great outdoors, but rather than risking a small single tent with just a sleeping bag and a campfire for company, you could opt for a luxury inflatable tent with carpets, or even go for a portable wooden-framed yurt complete with beds and a wood-burning stove.
2. It makes you happier with life
Whatever type of camping you choose though, the study, by outdoor holiday specialists Camping in the Forest, found that campers (77%) are much more satisfied with their quality of life than non-campers (59%).
In addition, past research by the Camping and Caravanning Club discovered that 93% of campers say camping can make you happier.
3. Bonding time
Additionally, the research also showed that eight out of 10 campers felt that camping brought you closer together as a family. Some 80% of kids who camp felt their parents were less stressed when camping, 76% said their parents shouted less, and the same proportion of kids who camp noticed that their parents had more time for hugs than usual. Similarly, a Camping and Caravanning Club review of more than 60 academic studies on the benefits of camping showed it also facilitating children’s learning, with a positive effect on behaviour.
4. Change of routine
According to Dr Kaye Richards, a senior lecturer in outdoor education from Liverpool John Moores University, camping allows us to get away from the routines – and relative comforts – of our daily lives.
5. Improving communication
Even though camping and caravanning today is a much more comfortable experience thanks to modern equipment and facilities, the simple fact that we've taken ourselves out of our normal environment and into a different one, surrounded by nature, means we act, think and even communicate differently with each other.
6. Stress less
Bob Hill, sites director at Camping in the Forest, says: “With the advent of technology in all aspects of our personal and professional lives, the reality is that it can be very difficult for people to switch off. Unfortunately, this can make life very stressful as we need time out to relax, rejuvenate and just be.
“Camping offers a sure-fire method to alleviate the stress – there’s nothing like communing with nature to put one in a better frame of mind.”