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Buying camping equipment in Germany for our family?
Hi, we're taking a family trip to Germany and France soon, and we thought we might like to camp out instead of staying in a hotel. Would it be reasonable (cost wise) to buy a tent and sleeping bags once we get to Germany? The thought of bringing that with us from the States seems a little crazy (we're going to Ireland first, to visit family, before going to Germany). We'll be in Germany/France for about 20 days.
Thanks for any and all advice
generally I'd agree with you, since prices aren't very much different to the US anymore. Personally I prefer not to waste my travelling time going shopping for my basic equipment. Besides that, it is easier to check & compare items re quality & suitability while I'm still preparing and organising my trip.
But if you're only interested in camping stuff for only a short vacation and get rid of it afterwards instead of hauling it back home, this could be a sensible solution.
In most towns you will find shops selling camping equipment. Naturally you will have to be able to at least read & unterstand German if you search the web for such shops in advance. Same applies for French on French web sites :-( But getting along in English in everyday life is no problem though. It's just that the web sites of most local shops do not offer any infos in English.
generally I'd agree with you, since prices aren't very much different to the US anymore.
I'm not at all sure about that comment - In my experience the USA is much cheaper than Europe in almost every respect. Certainly most goods are cheaper in the US compared to UK prices. I know Sterling is high against the Dollar at the moment but even when it eventually returns to it's normal 1.6 US Dollars to the UK Pound the U.S still seems much cheaper.
In my opinion most goods are at least one third cheaper in the States and some goods such as clothes are as much as two thirds cheaper.
My advice is to take your camping gear with you rather than try and purchase it in Europe, I fear if you do then you shall be in for a dreadful shock!
It goes without saying don't attempt to camp in Europe until summertime well and truly arrives... (it's getting down to Minus 3 during the nights at Easter here in South Eastern England).
On the off-chance that you decide to buy camping gear in Ireland to transport to Germany, there are a few camping shops in Dublin, and a few together on Capel St in particular.. Stuff is reasonably cheap there, but don't forget to factor in the cost of getting it to Germany.
If it were my trip, I'd be buying all the kit in Germany.. that saves the cost of shipping it from either the US or Ireland.
US prices are often a lot cheaper for some items than here in Europe. As a retailer, I am well aware of the differences.. which to be honest I struggle to understand at times.
But, my opinion would be to ensure you have your sleeping bags and mats, sorted before you arrive.. nothing worse than plannign to buy the gear to find the sizes you need are not instock and sleeping bags and mats are rather essential if your to enjoy your trip.. tents are usually not a problem unless you set your mind on one particular brand and size. Keep in mind many US brands are not found in europe due to the shipping costs.
Cookers, pans, torches, etc are easily found so those you can defenitely get when you arrive.
well, now, here's my dumb question for the day.....is it possible to RENT/HIRE camping equipment in Germany? I'm not opposed to buying it, as we can then leave it with family in Ireland and, at least in theory, use it again next time we're over. I figure the price will be more than here in the US, but the convenience factor of not having to haul it over might make it worthwhile.
We have a fairly decent tent that we use here, but it weighs a ton! Maybe I should look into purchasing a lighter tent and just haul it over.
Our itinerary isn't solid yet, so I'm not sure where we're heading for first. We will be there mid May through early June, so I'm hoping the temps will be decent...if not maybe we will be staying in hotels!!! My two boys are quite excited about the thought of camping out in Europe. My husband is fine with the idea; me, I'm not so thrilled, but for the boys (all 3 of them!) sake, I think it will be fun.
Thanks for all the help,
If you're flying Ryanair, I think you're right about the cost of excess baggage making it difficult to bring your own stuff, unless you can divide it up among the kids like their sleeping bags.
I don't know about renting but nearer the trip you could try a couple of German supermarket sites to see if they do something similar to the Halfords deal, try Lidl and Aldi for starters, or Carrefour in France. Tents are a seasonal thing and they may not be selling them yet.
Also, a popular cheap holiday in Europe is to drive to a campsite where big family tents are already set up and you stay for a week, I believe they're popular in the south of France. You should ask your family in Ireland to start checking the back of the Sunday papers for offers.
Have you thought about youth hostels? Many have family rooms to rent, you join your national association first, and it works out not too expensive. Some German YHs are geared up to be family friendly:
I youth hosteled in Europe right after I graduated college, and LOVED every minute of it. I had thought about it briefly for this trip, but then it got lost in the busyness of life. Thanks for the timely reminder and the link!
I had no idea there were family tents already set up in France! What a great idea.
And I knew Lidl was in Ireland, and we enjoy shopping there. My aunt is forever telling us the latest deals she has got from them. I didn't know they were on the continent too; guess I had never really thought about it.
I have a book coming from half.com called AA Caravan and Camping in Europe (from 2007, so hopefully fairly uptodate on information). I must say, though, that this website's forum community has been most helpful
It was not clear from your first post if you want to move around or stay pretty much static; that is the obvious downside of these pre-erected tents, although I think some companies offer two centre vacations.
I've heard good things about Eurocamp over the years (they have been around quite a while), but never used them personally.
BTW, both Lidl and Aldi are German companies, and they both have a strong presence in the UK, and, no doubt, lots of other bits of Europe.
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