In an era when every holiday is Instagrammed to perfection and hashtagged to within an inch of its life, it can feel like “cool” is top of the list of holiday adjectives.
Of course, if you want to show friends, colleagues and, indeed, everybody else, how much you’re loving your #infinitypool or how effortless you find #instatravel and require absolutely #nofilter, then go for it.
But what happens when your holiday isn’t hip?
We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.
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For the past three summers, my family and I have been visiting Eurocamp sites in France, hiring a car and staying in mobile homes where we have been having, frankly, an absolutely wonderful time.
The accommodation is roomy with plenty of outdoor space; the campsites are well-kept with a huge array of activities to keep kids busy; there are pools, restaurants, riding and all manner of good solid outdoorsy stuff and it’s France, so, you know: wine, cheese, bread.
It is, in short, a fantastic way to spend time with your family in a beautiful country.
However, tell anyone that you’re spending a week in a mobile home through a company that sounds like a Belgian version of the Duke of Edinburgh awards and they will, quite often, look at you with only slightly less alarm than if you’d filled your throat with custard and gargled the national anthem.
Of course, there’s absolutely no good reason to give any number of hoots as to what anybody thinks about your holiday other than those who are on it, but see how far that gets you when “the conversation” starts.
You know the one. We’ve had months of drizzle and sun-starved Brits start asking each other if they’re “going anywhere nice this summer”.
My standard response had been to offer vaguely fudged answers about “this little place we know in France” to avoid having to say “Eurocamp” but, this year, it felt as though the tide was finally beginning to turn.
First of all, I discovered that a few friends – the cool, impressive kind of friends who work in exciting things like fashion – had also gone on Eurocamp holidays either as kids or very recently and (audible intake of breath) totally loved it.
Talking to other real-life people who knew the joys of Eurocamp was an almost illicit thrill, like admitting to an addiction at a group therapy session before turning mutinous and choosing to celebrate it rather than going cold turkey.
Then, while on our Eurocamp holiday this summer to La Palmeraie near Perpignan, I overheard some people in the on-site boulangerie (yes, there’s an on-site boulangerie – this is France, ma cherie) talking about the cultural highlights of Paris. Granted, there were also people whose idea of speaking French to the staff was speaking English at 100 decibels, but you can’t have everything.
Eurocamp, it seemed, was becoming a little bit cool – and it’s not just my imagination. The numbers back it up.
“We actually attract a more affluent audience than most people would expect,” is how Eurocamp puts it when I suggest they’re edging toward the “C word”. The brand describes its “core audience” as school-aged families with parents between 35 and 54 years old.
Then there are what they call “toddler families” who come for the parcs (there’s a bit of Eurocamp language for you) that are designated “toddler friendly”, with parents aged between 25 and 34.
So new people are seeing the attractions of the Eurocamp way. But why?
Well, the company suggests it could be thanks to the introduction of new luxury accommodation options over the last few years, and while our own experience has certainly been of clean and shiny places, there’s surely more to it. Could people be deciding to make the most of pre-Brexit Europe before we crash out in flames? Well, perhaps it’s even simpler.
Eurocamp holidays are competitively priced, particularly if you’re not entirely bound by school holidays and cheaper still if you’re willing to swap mobile home for tent. And let’s just clear up this mobile home thing, shall we? You can’t see the wheels and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Chalet, cabin or smaller than average bungalow is closer to the mark, thanks, and you get a lovely outdoor space for long evening meals with barbecues provided. There are loads of outdoor activities for all ages, and the company isn’t afraid to offer what you might call a “good, old-fashioned” holiday.
Perhaps it’s more the idea of having to make a trip “cool” and “Insta-ready” that’s beginning to fall out of favour?
Either way, I’m no longer hiding my love for Eurocamp when “the conversation” comes round, and I suspect that there will be more and more people joining me. Say it loud, say it proud: Eurocamp is cool!
Eurocamp offers seven nights in La Palmeraie, France from £392 for a two-bed classic mobile home sleeping up to seven.
HolidayExtras.com offers car hire from £135 for a week starting from London City Airport.
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