Compared to vacation packages with tight daily schedules, camping offers the flexibility and slower pace that many older people seek. Camping is becoming increasingly popular among young families yet the 50+ generation still represents a large part of the camping community. From the decades-long camper fan to the camping newcomer - for seniors, camping vacations have many advantages and are a convenient way to travel. To make sure nothing gets in the way of your camping fun, we have collected important info on age-appropriate campervans and senior-friendly campsites in this article.
What are the advantages of camping for senior citizens?
In a foreign country while still being home: camping vacations combine many contrasts. A campsite is a sociable place, but an RV offers peace and privacy. If you want to plan your vacation exactly how you want, camping allows you to do so. For older campers, there are also clear advantages to camping:
With camping there are no strict conventions. At the campsite, you can spend your vacation without set meal times or a rigid dress code.
In the camping community, it's easy to find connections and contact with other campers. At the same time, it is also possible to retreat into the privacy of your campervan.
The arrival and departure on a camping vacation are less stressful than on a package vacation. The pace of the journey, the breaks and stops can be decided by yourself and without time pressures.
The travel arrangements are flexible and can be changed at short notice. There are campsites available in most regions and near various natural areas and attractions.
At many campsites, the sanitary facilities are now age-appropriate or barrier-free, so that a stay is possible without any problems even with limited mobility.
In the RV there are short distances between the bed, living and cooking areas. If the RV has its own bathroom and toilet, it can be very comfortable.
The infrastructure around the campsite offers solid health and emergency care so that people with chronic illnesses can also enjoy a carefree stay.
Campsites for seniors often offer leisure activities older visitors can enjoy. These can be, for example, tours of the next largest town, guided walks, cycling or boat tours, or wine tastings.
Those who do not want to purchase their own campervan can rent an RV at a reasonable price. To find the right model, you can compare offers with different features online (e.g. automatic transmission, air conditioning, etc.).
Senior camping: What should campers keep in mind when planning their trip?
Free, flexible, and at your own pace: planning a campervan trip allows for some freedom. However, to ensure that nothing goes wrong on the road, some important points should be considered:
What is the best time to travel for senior camping?
Choosing the best time to travel is important for those campers who want a quiet and peaceful vacation. For those people, it is a good idea to avoid the high season. Choosing campsites in the low season can save you some money as well. In spring and fall, nature is beautiful, and the temperatures are still pleasant. There is also usually less tourist traffic in the low season. Since retirees can often be more flexible when they travel, they can find cheaper offers in the low or mid-season.
How to find a senior campsite?
When planning a camping trip, it is important to look for campsites ahead of time and compare their offers and facilities. It all depends on the individual needs of the traveler. So far, no seal or award rates campsites as suitable for senior citizens. Nevertheless, many campsites specialize in older campers. On search and comparison portals for campsites, these senior-friendly criteria can be filtered out in different ways:
Search using the filter "quiet campsite", "no children’s program", or "campsite for adults only", you can find campsites that are geared towards relaxing and quiet.
A "senior discount" sign at reception shows that the campsite is also geared towards older guests and is happy to welcome them.
A "barrier-free campsite" indicates that restrooms and common areas are designed to be accessible for less-abled people. That means they are also easily accessible and usable without restrictions for older people with limited mobility and wheelchair users.
Classic camping or luxury camping?
“Glamping" is a luxurious type of camping where comfortable equipment and special amenities are provided at the campsite. These include, for example, high-quality equipment in the sanitary facilities, pool facilities, catering on the site or a continuously manned reception. For senior citizens who want to enjoy comfort on their trip, glamping can be an exciting alternative to the classic camping vacation.
Those who place more value on experiencing nature and are not necessarily dependent on wellness programs for relaxation are in good hands on a normal campsite. Sites that only have a minimum of facilities (sanitary facilities with toilet and shower, disposal stations for the camper van) are often cheaper than fully equipped campsites with extensive wellness and leisure facilities.
Barrier-free or disabled campsites have various adaptations of sanitary facilities and common areas that make them accessible to people with reduced mobility. However, seniors who do not have a physical impairment are encouraged to keep parking spaces free for wheelchair users or accessible toilets and showers.
Preparing for the camping vacation
Before the camping fun can begin, thorough travel planning is necessary. Especially travelers who have not travelled by RV for a long time or have never done so before should consider the following points:
Getting to know the RV: For camping beginners, it can be useful to plan a short trip with the RV and familiarize yourself with the features of the vehicle. How best to load the campervan or how to empty tanks is best learnt beforehand.
Driving training for more safety: Even for experienced drivers, maneuvering or parking with a campervan can be difficult at first. Driving safety training, such as offered by driving schools or RV manufacturers, helps to get used to the new driving experience.
Only travel in good health: Especially before long trips, it is a good idea to have a thorough check-up with your family doctor. The car trip itself can be a strain and activities like hiking, cycling tours and boat trips during the camping vacation can mean additional exertion.
Pack an adapter: If you are travelling abroad, you should have a Euro adapter for the gas bottle with you. Gas connections in other countries are often different.
Don't drive too far: One advantage of camping is the flexibility in scheduling. Sufficient stops or overnight stays reduce the stress of longer journeys - and may even take you past interesting places or sights.
With a standard car license, you are allowed to drive vehicles weighing up to 26,000 pounds.
Age-appropriate campervans: How should the RV be equipped for seniors?
When choosing the right age-appropriate RV, seniors can look out for various equipment features and technical adaptations that make the vehicle particularly senior-friendly. A van for seniors should meet the following criteria:
The vehicle has a small turning circle, which allows for better maneuvering and parking.
The vehicle should not be too high, which offers better control.
Easy, joint-friendly access to the campervan (e.g. with the help of a non-slip step stool or retractable stairs).
An RV with an automatic gearbox, which makes it easier to drive.
The journey can be made more comfortable with extras such as a reversing camera or cruise control.
An air conditioning system ensures a pleasant temperature in the vehicle.
The interior, especially the kitchen and restroom, is spacious, not too low and has few or no steps.
The beds are at ground level (no bunk beds). Beds which can be easily reached are also advisable for couples.
Conclusion: Senior-friendly camping
Many seniors appreciate above all the peace and flexibility that a stay at a campsite promises. They often have different requirements for an enjoyable vacation than adventure tourists or families with children. Many campsites tailor their offers to the needs of older campers who want to spend a quiet stay. Senior campsites in regions with a healthy climate, such as mountains and the sea, invite you to relax, but also to exercise in the fresh air. To ensure that the trip goes smoothly, the ideal RV for seniors should have the necessary safety and comfort equipment, so you can enjoy a well-earned vacation.