Glamping or Camping? What is glamping? And what is the difference between glamping and camping? This is what we’ll be looking at today, so you can decide which is best for your trip!
Let’s start with the obvious.
What is glamping?
Glamping is essentially camping in luxury. But that’s not the only way it differs from traditional camping. There is a little more to it than that.
When someone first mentioned glamping to me, it sounded awful. Evoking stereotypical images of pampered Kim Kardashian types who sip champagne while avoiding anything like getting their hands dirty.
I thought, what’s the point?
But some research showed that this isn’t the case. As it turns out, glamping is actually much more interesting than I thought. Glamping is still quite an unusual activity
, having not quite become mainstream yet, the great thing is that you can do it on a mountain, at a lake or even in your back garden right in the city center!
Isn’t it just expensive camping?
Instead of a pampered Julius Caesar-esque figure being fed grapes, picture something a little less pompous. Having many of the comforts of home while being able to sit and enjoy nature at the same time is quite unique. It's not often we can get the best of both worlds, but this is precisely what glamping tries to provide.
Types of Glamping
Now we’ve looked at what is glamping, we’ll look at the different types of glamping (meaning the different accommodations). There are some really interesting possibilities open to you when glamping.
A step-up from a tent as it’s much roomier and have an advantage over tents as it’s easier to regulate temperature and keep out the annoying insects! Also you can stand up inside, which is nice.
Cottages and cabins come with varying levels of luxury depending on your interests. Bathrooms, kitchens and even TV’s come with beds and air conditioning. This is my pick for a balance of comfort and camping, although I’d do without the TV!
You will likely recognize the tipi (or tepee) from depictions of Native American settlements. Making you feel like an explorer while you’re staying in one of these structures. The raised platform helps protect those inside from the rain and especially bugs that seem so desperate to get in!
RV’s (recreational vehicles) are great in that should you decide to change your location there is no need to pack up camp. Simply turn the ignition and off you go! Taking your entire camp (group, and belongings) with you! RV sites often come with Wi-Fi as well as convenient amenities like picnic tables and fire pits.
Similar to a normal tent but a bit studier due to the wooden structure rather than some flimsy tubing. The downside is this is less portable than the usual but hey, you’re not the one transporting it!
Recapture your youth and spend the night in a tree house! This is the one most likely to make you feel connected to nature as you are amongst it, part of the tree for the duration of your time here. Glamping tree houses are often more luxurious than the one you had in your youth though as they come with a terrace and jacuzzi!
As you can see, there are a few more options than just a tent or hammock of traditional camping. This can be really cool, the luxury of a safari tent in comparison to the regular seems great, but that brings us to our next point.
Glamping gear can be a bit expensive. Renting the sleeping abode itself can be somewhat pricey as well as the amenities you want to enjoy. A hammock, picnic table even a full body sleeping suit that is designed for you to wear while walking around camp (I’m not making this up).
While these amenities will undoubtedly make your trip more comfortable, it’s much more expensive than just a tent and sleeping bag!
So, how do we avoid spending an arm and a leg on glamping?
Glamping isn't just expensive safaris or mountain retreats. Cheap glamping is possible. It’s essentially camping with a few more luxury amenities than you would usually take. Shop around for accommodation, you can get an Ekopod in Cornwall for example, for around £50 per night. £50 may seem pricey initially, but if you go to a campsite, you will have to pay a fee of around £10 just to sleep on the floor (and you have to bring your own tent!). So maybe paying a little more is worth it?
You don’t have to splash out on expensive glamping gear to take part! Just get yourself a few luxuries (not necessities, that’s the key) and enjoy your cheap glamping trip!
Popularity of glamping
In recent years it seems like everyone fancies themselves as a blogger, particularly a travel blogger. This in part, has to lead the rise in mass tourism which has had both positive and negative knock-on effects. Benefits to the local economy are now being questioned, with people becoming increasingly aware of responsible tourism
But what is 'responsible tourism' you may ask? Responsible tourism is about making the place better for the people who live there. Truly making it better, not merely throwing money around thinking you’ve done some good while having a good time.
How to support responsible tourism?
Choosing hotels and restaurants that are ‘small-footprint’ establishments rather than the large resorts. In staying at resorts, you are bringing money to the area; however, you are just providing greater incentive for developers to move in, destroy more of the area and build more hotels and resorts on it. So it can appear difficult, you want to help, but, it has to be in the right way.
The solution, as far as I can see, is to do things that I’ve already suggested. Staying at small-footprint accommodation or take a tour with a local guide. The key is ensuring you are supporting a sustainable model. Choose food, accommodation, souvenirs and alike from local providers, avoiding the larger corporations, as this will only encourage developers to encroach further onto the locals land.
I’ll give you some examples of efforts that are either in place or under discussion to deal with over-tourism.
Overtourism in Barcelona
Cities like Barcelona are overrun with tourists, causing friction with local residents. Locals suffer due to increased house prices and loss of outside spaces in favor of accommodation. Sections of Parc Guell are often closed off for maintenance due to steps being worn down under the weight of so many tourists.
Venice is overrun with tourists.
Venice has suffered so much that there have been discussions to erect gates around the city. These gates, at busy times, would be available only to residents with a special pass. These ideas are far from perfect but are a demonstration of measures that are being taken to deal with over-tourism.
It seems that with the rise of social media, the public has an increasing voice in what happens in the world. So to my earlier point of how to support responsible tourism, be vocal. Choosing local service providers is great, and it doesn’t hurt to speak about this on social media. It encourages other people, and governments to support it as they see the most important thing to them - financial benefits.
But in all that you may have forgotten the link with glamping (I did ramble a bit, but I’m passionate about this). Well, glamping has a low impact on the environment, often being more focused on eco-friendly practices than chain hotels. Let’s say you choose a low-footprint accommodation up in the mountains. The impact on the environment is minimal, and you are bringing money to the locals.
The problematic part here is finding these organizations. Large resorts are sadly taking over the landscape, which makes it even more critical that we support responsible tourism. Many glamping holidays have access to locally sourced services and produce, just what we’re looking for!
Aside from societal and ethical benefits, why else might one consider glamping?
Glamping: Luxury camping
There is even debate amongst glampers, that saying “glamping” devalues luxury camping, which is what this really is. To be honest, the word you use is unimportant, we all know what we’re discussing so let’s push on!
Glamping or Camping?
I enjoy the challenge of camping, finding a good spot, setting up camp and getting dinner ready. So I appreciate the joking around with friends and walks with Bella more, as I feel like I’ve earned it.
However, there are times, usually on freezing cold mornings when I think, a heated room and a bed sound good!
My personal preference aside, I do see the advantages to glamping rather than camping. A wildlife safari, for example, would be quite difficult with only a tent between you and the wildlife. It’s this that persuaded me glamping sites wouldn't be full of prissy clientele shrieking at the sight of a worm.
It provides opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable or too dangerous. Speaking personally, I’m desperate to have a camping trip to Africa, to have a really taxing but interesting physical and mental experience. However, I don’t feel too confident having just a tent between me and a pride of Lions. Whereas if I’m in a sturdy cabin, I can still enjoy nature but feel a little safer!
Camping and glamping both bring you closer to nature, but one provides a little more comfort (for a higher price).
So, is glamping for you?
If you’re thinking ‘glamping’ is just an expensive version of camping’ to be honest, you’re not far from the truth. You spend the night outside, but the difference is that glamping accommodations are more luxurious, and therefore they cost more.
Glamping can be great for people who want to experience the great outdoors but not sacrifice their creature comforts. Things like being able to sit on a comfy sofa or even have a private bathroom.
I hope this has answered your question what is glamping? And hopefully, you have a good idea whether glamping or camping is the option for you. But what are your thoughts? I’m particularly interested to hear from people with both camping and glamping experiences as to what you feel about the camping vs. glamping debate! Let us know in the comments section!