If you had told me at the start of the year that my only summer holiday in 2020 would be 2 nights in my home county, I wouldn’t have believed you! I had a week in Tennessee, USA planned, along with a week in Portugal and 2 weeks in Zanzibar (Tanzania). As you can imagine, they all got knocked on the head. One was completely cancelled, one got rebooked and the third is in vouchers. So to give me some sort of a break, I booked a last minute 2 night glamping trip, literally 20 minutes from my house!
Staycationing In The UK
Depending on who you speak to, the term ‘staycation’ has several different meanings. One is that you have a holiday in your home country rather than travelling abroad. For example, a more slang term for domestic travelling. Another variation is that you actually just stay at home and then go out for day trips. To me, I lean towards it being more domestic travel than day trips. Day trips kinda just feel like a normal weekend.
The town where I went is somewhere that I’ve been many many times on day trips. But it felt more like a ‘staycation’ because we had the overnight stop away from home. It really felt like we were on hoilday. I haven’t been to a typical British campsite for years and part of me felt like I was ‘at home’ in a different sense. It’s an environment that I grew up around but as I’ve got older and my funds have allowed, I’ve had my sights set on places further away from home.
First things first, the amount of luggage we took for a couple of nights was crazy! I pride myself on being a light packer but we had so much! We took all of our own bedding, camping chairs, disposable barbecues etc (glamping packing list). Before we got to the campsite, we stopped at the nearby supermarket to pick up food, drinks and large bottles of water. Of course, wearing masks.
There were definitely some changes to how things would normally be on a campsite. Yes we didn’t have our own caravan/tent, but ‘check in’ was contactless. We received an email before we arrived, telling us to go straight to our glamping pod, the gate codes, where to park, where the keys were hidden and the code to open the lock box and what toilet was ours (more of that in a minute!).
That evening, the campsite warden came over to make sure we’d arrived and got in ok. He stayed in his golf cart, away from us. He gave us the ‘rona speech’ about how if we come down ill then we had to let the site know and if anyone in a nearby pod reported being ill, then ‘data protection would go out the window’ because they would have to pass on our details to NHS track and trace. That’s all expected though. We took the risk by travelling and technically restaurants and pubs are SUPPOSED to be doing the same.
So let’s talk about toilets! Maybe it’s just the setup of the site, but I loved the changes to the toilets. Usually on a campsite, there’s a central toilet block with all the toilet stalls, individual showers and then a row of sinks, but the toilet block at the site we went to had separated toilets, shower and a sink in individual ‘rooms’. This then meant that each glamping accommodation (those that didn’t have a private toilet), were assigned a toilet room. The staff cleaned it before arrival and wouldn’t clean it again until after we had left. We had a key for the door and could leave our towels and wash stuff in it, rather than carrying it between our pod and the toilets!
They did say that people with touring caravans and tents would need to use their own toilets and temporarily wouldn’t be able to use the site facilities. (My dad would have hated that…he used to have ‘toilet rules’ when we were younger…no poops in the caravan!!)
The play areas were all open again. The clubhouse…hmm. Well they tried. All the staff wore masks. There was hand sanitiser on entry and a one way system. Less tables inside. The pool tables were disinfected frequently. The live entertainment had been moved to the outside beer garden, one night was supposed to be a band but instead only the lead singer was allowed to play. (Thank goodness that for once the English weather was on our side!). Due to the nature of the campsite, a big proportion of ‘guests’ were people with permanent holiday homes. You could tell the ones that knew each other because they were all gathering in big groups together. Social distancing was out the window in their eyes. When people have had a few drinks, you don’t really stand a chance.
A cafe, that’s part of a local chain, has a location on the campsite. You couldn’t fault them at all. They had strict social distancing measures. One way systems, hand sanitiser, all the staff wore masks, perspex barriers were at the tills, the menu was stuck on the wall, contactless payment was preferred, our name and phone number was taken etc.
What We Did On Our ‘Day Out’
We could have just stayed on site and relaxed, I did go swimming in the sea though because my local pool is still shut, yay! But we went out to one of our favourite local attractions instead. The car park machine was only accepting card payments, no cash. They also have a mini golf course where they were telling people to social distance. You had to sanitise hands on entry and exit. All the golf balls got disinfected after each game and the clubs were put upside down in a big disinfectant bucket at the end.
We also walked to a nearby village and had a drink at one of the pubs. They were completely ‘shut’ in the sense that you couldn’t go inside, not even to use the toilets. Instead, you were served through an open window, again contactless payment was preferred and all the drinks were served in plastic cups, so you could take them away and sit in the beer garden or on the nearby sea wall. It was busy but everyone seemed to be keeping apart and all the cups made it to the bin. Hooray!
Why Didn’t I Travel Overseas?
I have already made one overseas trip during this crazy time. I have no complaints about the experience I did have. I was more than comfortable flying so that’s not the problem. (What It’s Like Flying International Long Haul In 2020: My Experience). I’ve also had to do the UK 14 day quarantine on arrival. Yep, all those people that are moaning about it being sprung on them, I had that a few days before MOVING to another country. Amazon was my best friend during those 2 weeks!
I’m now working online so even a quarantine wouldn’t be too much trouble, as I work from home. But it’s not really a lot of fun if I was to spend like a whole month of summer trapped inside! The main reason for deciding to stay in the UK, is that I was meant to be in Tanzania this summer. The trip is paid for, I still want to go when I can. I have rescheduled it and the money is obviously tied up in that trip. Again, I’m OK with that. But if I was still able to have gone in July, I wouldn’t then book another trip…so for now I have to just treat it like that was my big main holiday…even though I haven’t yet gone. I also quit my job to move back to the UK. Although I’ve started making some money again, it’s going to take a while to build up my ‘client base’ and therefore my income. So for now it makes sense to just stay put and explore local until things are a little more stable.
The UK weather has been glorious the past couple of weeks, so I can’t really complain on that front! I’m just hoping that in 2021, I’ll be able to go back to having my usual adventures again!