Friday, August 24, 2012

Car Camping

One advantage of travel by car is that, in an emergency, you can always opt to sleep in the car. This is not a practice I recommend--it's not very safe and can be hard on the bod. However, when all other options fail it can be the best choice available.
I've done it at least three times, all in Europe and quite a while ago. I camped in a small car with my friend Susan in the Highlands of Scotland, by myself somewhere near the French-Swiss border, and with three school friends in the hills overlooking Monaco. Actually in Monaco I and another girl slept in my VW, and the guys slept outside on the grass. The police came along and hassled us a little, but we explained that there was absolutely no place to stay. It was Grand Prix weekend, and while we had secured tickets for the race we hadn't bothered with a hotel or other lodging, figuring every place would be out of our price range if it was available at all.
My other experiences of sleeping in the car have involved driving so late that everything was booked up, or simply nonexistent. The only slightly scary time was when I was by myself, but they were all uncomfortable.
I have read recommendations since then about car sleeping, which is an unfortunate daily reality for some people who are temporarily or permanently homeless, and whose numbers have included luminaries like financial guru Jim Cramer. The safest places to sleep are usually hospital parking lots, or sometimes the parking lots of Walmart or other stores. It is better to park where there is some light, even if that makes it harder to sleep. Parking in the woods away from other cars and people is not a safe option.
When you buy your next car, it's something to consider--is this a car I would be comfortable sleeping in? My present car, an old Volvo, actually has a fold-down seat so at least the driver can stretch out. (So far, I haven't had to use it, but I'm glad it's there, especially when I drive on the Adirondack Northway where towns are sparse.)
Today a lot of us are getting experience with sleeping in airports, train and bus stations when bad weather or other problems strike. Luckily I haven't had that experience yet.
If you do find yourself reduced to sleeping in a car, try to think of it as an adventure and keep notes so you can talk about it later.

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Anonymous Campervan Rental Company said...

Car camping may not sound good for some. However, you made a good point on its benefits especially in times of emergencies. Thanks for sharing your experience.

4:44 am


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