What is Glamping? Glamping Tips, Pros, Cons, and FAQ
So you’ve booked a glamping trip, and now you’re wondering what exactly you’ve gotten yourself into.
It’s a reasonable thought! You see all these pretty glamping pics on social media of happy people enjoying the great outdoors, under fairy lights and beneath safari tents, not a bug or bear in sight. There are real beds and other furniture, fireside s’mores — it all looks like the very best version of camping possible.
However, those photos don’t answer the really important questions. Like, where’s the bathroom? And is there WiFi?
Here’s everything you need to know about glamping beyond the glitzy photos.
The Vacationer Tip
Haven’t fully booked your glamping journey yet? Use the following guides to help you complete your trip.
Table of Contents
What is Glamping?
“Glamping” is a relatively new term for a relatively old concept. “Glamping” is just a mash-up of “camping” and “glamorous.” It’s luxury, upgraded camping.
Glamping has become popular over the last ten years or so, but affluent travelers have enjoyed forms of glamping for decades and centuries. For example, the wealthy elite from Manhattan would often escape to Upstate New York in the mid-and late-1800s for some glamping, sometimes bringing along hordes of servants and tons of amenities and furnishings to keep them comfortable in their canvas tents (and later, log cabins) scattered throughout the mountains.
You could put together a DIY glamping trip wherein you buy all the necessary supplies and set up at a suitable campsite or on private property. However, now it’s much easier to just book a glamping trip wherein everything’s already set up and thought of for you.
When looking for a glamping experience to book, you’ll find that there are both all-out glamping resorts, but then also individual glamping rentals on private property, similar to a home rental you might book on Airbnb (in fact, Airbnb is one of the websites where you can book precisely that).
The Difference Between Camping and Glamping
All glamping is camping, but not all camping is glamping. Glamping is camping, just with more amenities and creature comforts.
Some of the key things that set glamping apart from camping include…
- Beds: You usually have a traditional bed in a glamping setup, complete with an actual mattress, not an air mattress or cot.
- Bathrooms: There’s typically some sort of bathroom facility; however, the type of bathroom will vary. Some glamping setups have full-on, luxury, private bathrooms, while others might only be outfitted with a composting toilet in a building separate from the glamping tent (so like an outhouse, just a little better).
- Tents: You can usually expect a canvas tent, yurt, or similar structure that’s weatherproof and outfitted with electric service.
All that said, though, again, glamping setups differ from location to location. Rather than assume that you’ll arrive for a glamping trip and find specific amenities, verify that those amenities exist at the location you’re headed to before you arrive.
Where Can You Glamp? Examples of Glamping Resorts and Sites
Glamping resorts and privately owned glamping sites exist all over the globe. Wherever you’re traveling, so long as it’s not right in the middle of a city, you can expect to find at least some sort of glamping option. Here are a few examples that run the gamut between rural and rustic, and ultra-luxurious.
This glamping resort is in La Ventana, Mexico, and it blends the glamping experience with the amenities you might otherwise expect at a beachside resort. The property consists of a range of luxury glamping tents on the beach, next to the ocean. The resort provides airport shuttle service (for a fee) and free WiFi. There’s a resort bar. Each glamping tent or yurt is outfitted with beds, chairs, rugs, and other furnishings, and each tent has its own outdoor fireplace.
This resort in Japan is an example of one of the many that offer dome accommodations. Just what they sound like, domes are rounded, domed structures with a bit of an otherworldly, lunar appearance (like something you’d expect an astronaut to stay in on Mars). Glamping domes often feature a hard outer shell outfitted with a window to offer scenic views of the surrounding landscape.
These domes offer creature comforts like beds, couches and sitting areas, decks, and outdoor dining spaces.
Another Mexican-set resort, these glamping options are a little more luxurious, with extremely stylish tents that go above and beyond the basic glamping setup to provide a luxe hotel experience, just … well, in a tent. This resort offers free WiFi and comes with a pool and hot tub.
This Croatian glamping resort likewise provides more of a hotel experience than a roughing-it-in-the-woods experience, with rain showers, vanities, and other creature comforts. Your bed sits under an open-air canvas tent for a unique experience, and your tent’s deck leads right out to a private pool.
Stateside, this Utah glamping resort has a dude ranch feel with several different tent options. You get free WiFi, free parking, and an outdoor fireplace if you book the right tent, and the resort even rents out bicycles.
Should I Stay at a Glamping Resort or Private Glamping Site?
Of course, as mentioned, you don’t have to book a stay at a glamping resort to enjoy this style of travel. You can also book a singular, privately owned, and outfitted glamping spot via Airbnb and other home rental sites such as Vrbo. There are pros and cons to both options.
Glamping Resorts Pros and Cons
- Often more amenities and features like pools, hot tubs, restaurants, and bars
- For those who enjoy meeting other travelers, you can easily do so at a glamping resort, where travelers often mix and mingle in outdoor common areas
- Staff are always nearby in case you have any needs
- You will be around other people and may have differing levels of privacy depending on the resort
- A resort stay can be pricier — sometimes even as pricey or pricier than just staying at a hotel
Private Glamping Sites Pros and Cons
- These sites are often a little more rural, rustic, and secluded, so if you really want to dive into the great outdoors, this option is for you
- With that rural seclusion, you get more privacy
- You can often find unique, private glamping options that aren’t really doable on a resort scale; for example, you could find private glamping sites that consist of a tree house or that are on a boat.
- If you don’t like the thought of being secluded in the woods, you might not care for this setup
- If you want as many creature comforts as possible — like on-site dining or a pool — you likely won’t find those particular amenities when just renting a private site
Booked a glamping site or resort stay and ready to experience this unique mode of travel for yourself? Here are a few tips to make your trip as easy and enjoyable as possible.
1. Leave the valuables at home.
While, yes, by and large, glamping resorts and sites are very safe, and you should not have to worry about crime at them any more than you might at a home rental or hotel room… you still have to consider that you’re leaving your belongings in a tent — in some cases, an open-air tent. As you would when traditionally camping, leave the nice jewelry, tech, and designer bags at home.
2. Pack a few camping basics.
While you’re not exactly roughing it at a glamping site, you may still want to add a few camping essentials to your packing list. Think bug spray, sunscreen, a lighter for campfires, and, on that note, some s’mores fixin’s.
3. Plan for the weather.
The one thing that most glamping tents — no matter where you stay — offer? Climate control. If you’re glamping in the summer, dress accordingly. If you’re glamping in the fall or spring, bring layers. While, yes, many tents will offer space heaters or fans, don’t expect to be able to set your tent to a mild 70 degrees before you head to bed.
It all depends on your specific site or resort. Some glamping tents have luxurious private bathrooms, while others have more rustic facilities.
Yes, most glamping sites are outfitted with electric lights and outlets.
Many glamping resorts offer WiFi service. However, whether or not you have phone service will depend on the resort or the site’s location.
Don’t just assume that glamping is a cheap way to save money while traveling. Just like hotel rooms, the cost of glamping accommodations varies wildly according to factors like destination and amenities. The cheapest glamping accommodations can go for as little as $50-ish per night, while you can also easily spend hundreds of dollars per night for luxury accommodations.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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