SMART CONSUMER: 'Camping beats Florida!'
Laura O'Sullivan, from Shannon in Co Clare, has taken camping holidays with her family for the last nine years -- and wouldn't have it any other way.
"My two girls, Ciara and Emily, are nine and 13, and they love camping trips. We have a trailer tent, and take off all over Ireland.
"We've been to Florida and Spain, but if I ask my two girls where they'd prefer to go on holiday, they always say 'camping'."
But does it really work out cheaper than a cheap package abroad?
"One of the main attractions is the cost. Most campsites cost about €30 a night, including pitch and electricity, and we bring most of our food."
And Laura adds that you don't need to spend a fortune on equipment when you're starting out.
"Our best buy was a barbecue -- we picked one up in Tesco for €7. But the sites provide an awful lot for free. All the campsites are family friendly -- the kids can be out until 10 or 11. The girls' favourite place is Parson's Green in Tipperary, which has a free animal farm, lots of lovely walks in the area and even a kids' disco. "
Laura traded in her caravan for a trailer tent, so as to get outdoors a little more. Any regrets?
"Sometimes we can get unlucky with the weather, but the kids never even notice -- they love the chance to stick on the wellies and get dirty, seeing as they're not allowed to at home!"