Thinking of going camping this summer? Or maybe a family glamping holiday? In the era of coronavirus it's important to plan your holiday accordingly and consider your safety before you book a trip. To help you find the information you need, we’ve put together this comprehensive travel advice for campers during 2020, so that you can plan with confidence and return to the world of camping as soon as it's safe to do so.
Our absolute priority at Cool Camping is the health of campers, campsite owners and society as a whole. It’s important that we all work together to keep everyone safe and well. We’re doing our utmost to ensure the information below is as up-to-date as possible but do refer to the UK government website if you need further guidance. This page was last updated on 8th August 2020.
Can I go camping now?
Yes! Camping is now allowed across the UK, including England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can find out more about each nation below...
In Scotland: Self-contained accommodation without shared facilities (which includes some glamping and campervans and caravans with their own facilities) have been open since 3rd July and regular campsites with shared facilities are now open again too (since 15th July).
In Wales: Self-contained accommodation without shared facilities opened in mid July, while general camping with shared facilities opened last Saturday.
In Northern Ireland: Campsites have been open since 26th June.
I’ve booked a holiday but now the campsite is closed, what should I do?
Though many campsites are now starting to re-open, some may be closed for longer, due to their own safety concerns or because they feel unable to operate under the current COVID Secure guidelines. If you booked your holiday before the pandemic and now, due to closures, it won't be going ahead, the campsite will contact you with further information. If you booked with the campsite directly, you should contact them if you still need more information. If you booked your holiday with Cool Camping, your trip may need to be rescheduled. You can find out more about how to do this here.
What happens if I book a holiday for later in summer but then the lockdown returns?
While it’s lovely to plan a summer holiday, we appreciate that things are still uncertain at the moment and there is a still a risk that holiday restrictions may be reimposed. For this reason, we offer our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee, which ensures you only have to pay a 20% deposit when you make your reservation. The remaining balance will not be due until 10 days before your holiday starts, ensuring you know the lay of the land before you spend the full amount of money. Every campsite offering this policy is very clearly marked on our website, so you can book with total confidence. If a campsite does not offer our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee, you will need to read their independent cancellation policy, which will be displayed when you start to make a booking.
What happens if I’ve booked a camping holiday but, when the time comes, I’m ill or need to self isolate?
We understand that, even when holiday travel resumes, you may still find you are unable to take your holiday due to the coronavirus – for example, if you fall ill or if a member of your household falls ill and you have to self isolate. For this reason, we offer our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee, which ensures you only pay a 20% deposit when you make a reservation and the remaining balance isn’t due until 10 days before your holiday starts. If you find that you’re unable to take your holiday due to coronavirus, you’ll be able to move your holiday by up to 18 months to provide the maximum flexibility. Every campsite offering this guarantee is very clearly marked on our website, so you can book with total confidence. If a campsite does not offer our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee, you will need to read their independent cancellation policy, which will be displayed when you start to make a booking.
How do I know if a campsite is part of the Cool Camping Coronavirus Booking Guarantee?
Any campsite that offers our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee will be clearly marked in searches with a red tick icon. On our campsite review pages, sites with the guarantee are clearly marked with a red banner. You will also be shown the guarantee when you begin to finalise your booking details. Please note, while we recommend hundreds of campsites on coolcamping.com, not all of them offer our guarantee so do look out for these icons for our safest booking recommendations. For a comprehensive collection, you can find all of the campsites that offer the guarantee here.
Is it safe to go camping while Coronavirus is still in the UK?
There’s no doubt that camping is fantastic for finding space and being outdoors, making it an attractive way to go on holiday whilst practicing social distancing.
At a recent Downing Street press briefing, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said “it is absolutely a biological truism that outdoor environments are much less [of a] risk than indoor environments.” He also acknowledged, however, that tents can be confined spaces and camping can also involve the sharing of some facilities. Across the country, campsite owners and operators are working hard to ensure that, where any facilities are shared, everything possible is done to keep guests safe. When campsites reopen for business they will be following the government’s ‘COVID-19 Secure’ guidelines, allowing social distancing to be easily maintained. See the answer to our question, ‘what safety measures do campsites have in place?’ for more detailed information.
Ultimately, campers should follow the government’s guidance in deciding whether it is safe for them to go camping and in determining how best to practice social distancing.
Will I have to wear a face mask when I go camping?
Yes and no. You won't be expected to wear a face covering while camping, such as around your tent, the campfire or outdoors for example. But you should wear a face covering in indoor settings and in circumstances where it is difficult to easily social distance from others. This means that you should wear a face covering when inside washblock buildings, campsite shops, reception buildings and indoor communal areas. While outdoors, face coverings are not mandatory but if you find yourself in a situation where social distancing is difficult, we do recommend wearing one. It's also worth keeping a face covering in your pocket when leaving the campsite and heading out to explore – you never know if you'll want to pop into a shop or café to buy something.
Most campsites now sell face coverings and pocket-sized hand gels on site but it's worth bringing your own with you to be confident you'll have one to hand right from the off. Campsites have many other safety measures in place too (see below).
What safety measures will campsites have in place?
Campsites in the UK are only allowed to reopen if they comply with the ‘COVID-19 Secure’ guidelines published by the government. These have just been published in England and there is comprehensive Tourism and Hospitality Guidance available in Scotland, to which businesses should adhere.
To help you find out what these measures mean for you, we've put together our blog: What are the new coronavirus guidelines? And what do they mean for campers?
Even before these ‘COVID-19 Secure’ guidelines were released, many campsite owners were already looking at existing social-distancing and cleaning advice and working hard to prepare. Many campsites, for example, have reduced the number of campers they are accepting this summer, allowing for more space for all guests, and have invested in new facilities to minimise the amount of sharing. Some campsites have introduced booked time slots for using the showers, whilst many are offering contactless check in when you arrive in order to maintain social distancing. Do bear in mind when booking a holiday, too, that some shared facilities, such as cafés or swimming pools, might not be operating in the usual way or may be closed altogether. You can find a collection of campsites with social distancing measures already in place here.
Am I able to go camping with a group of friends or only members of my own household?
There are different regulations in different parts of the UK but, while it is okay to meet with friends, this is still only in very limited numbers. In England, two households can meet in any setting – meaning you can go on a camping holiday with another family (provided each family constitutes one household) – and up to six people from different households are allowed to meet outdoors. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland these restrictions vary but small meetings of a similar kind are permitted.
It is worth noting, however, that large group bookings of multiple households and big gatherings are unlikely to be allowed for a considerable time. Many campsites are limiting the number of people who can book together, in order to ensure they comply with any social distancing measures and, though it might be possible to book lots of individual pitches to circumnavigate the rules, we urge people to respect the guidelines and avoid gathering with friends. Read our guidance on how to be a good camper in the coronavirus era and postpone your big group holiday to next year.
Will you be refunding the VAT on this summer's UK bookings?
At Cool Camping we recommend hundreds of independent camping and glamping sites, but each determine their own prices and discounts, as well as their refund policies. Any refunds given should be issued by the campsite. Many of the small, independent campsites we represent do not meet the threshold for VAT and are therefore not VAT registered. As a result, most bookings on coolcamping.com will not have had VAT added. For further information, you can read our full statement on VAT refunds here.
Can I go camping in France and Europe?
Yes, campsites in France have been open for a while and many people have been booking holidays abroad. On 10th July, the UK government announced a list of countries and British overseas territories that would be exempt from the 14-day quarantine in England. However, this list is subject to change and some countries, notably Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Andorra and the Bahamas have recently been removed from the list. Travellers to these countries will now have to quarantine for 14 days on their return.
Recently there has been some speculation that the growing number of coronavirus cases in France will mean that it, too, will be removed from the list and travellers will have to quarantine again. It is worth noting, therefore, that all travel plans are potentially open to disruption and you should bear this in mind when booking your holidays. If a quarantine period is introduced this will not stop you from taking (and enjoying!) your holiday abroad (campsites will remain open for business) but it does mean you will have to self-isolate when you return to the UK, which may effect your work or daily life, so be sure to consider this when booking your trip.
The UK government's Foreign Travel Advice pages are the most reliable source of information regarding whether or not you should travel to other countries. In particular, their travel advice for France can be found here.
Should I buy travel insurance?
Yes. We always recommend that you have comprehensive travel insurance for any holiday you take. We recommend you take out a policy which covers you in the event of cancellation, even if you book a holiday with our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee. This will provide extra cover in circumstances where you have to cancel due to reasons not related to Coronavirus too. For foreign holidays, we recommend you take out a policy that has good medical coverage for international trips. Please contact your insurer directly if you have questions about what they cover.