Glamourous Camping Is Now A Mainstream Thing
People started using the term Glamping back in 2005. But, the word did not enter into the Oxford English Dictionary until 2016. On a recent trip, a friend and I were introduced to the phrase Glamping. We both agreed upon hearing of the hybrid word for the first time that it didn’t exist. So, of course, we did what any curious camper does, we whipped out the google dictionary to discover a whole new world.
Of course, I had a vague idea about soft camping, aka luxury camping. But like I have said before when I think about a word, I have to keep reading and reading until I know it all. So let’s explore what this worldwide phenomenon activity that is gaining traction is, let’s explore together what is Glamping.
What is Glamping—The difference between camping and Glamping?
If you have not been camping before or even recently, you may perceive the activity of the great outdoors and camping as a romantic and luxurious pastime. A scene of you and your loved ones clinking champagne glasses while relaxing within a colorful sprawling tent in the Sahara Desert. An image portrayed in most golden-era Hollywood films. But in reality, the scene plays out with you and your family quickly hammering in your tent pegs in torrential rain as you curse up at the sky wondering why you didn’t save enough for that second-hand campervan.
Glamping is not like the old camping trips.
But without exaggerating, what appealed to me about traditional camping in my teens and early 20s was that it was all about the challenges. It was the experience of putting up with the tiny two-person tents that always leaked and felt wet if you touched the insides. It was a way of acclimatizing your spine on the groundsheet and a thin sleeping bag. No Wifi, no charger, no phone call, no technology and certainly no outside stress. A pillow if you were posh, and the welcoming smell of cooking eggs on the tiny one ring camping stove powered by Calor Gas.
I remember one warm summer. I was sleeping with the tent open at the front. The tent was so miniature that a few shifts of my body were all that was required to have my head positioned outside the tent. I purposely did this so that I could breathe in the still night air while watching the stars and feeling at peace. Oh, the beautiful memories of this trip as it was.
But I must admit that I am older, with sporting injuries and all the other aches and pains that come with being active. The prospect of having a “proper” bed and a more civilized camping experience does have its appeal.
There are, in fact, many older people who think back to their younger days on a nostalgic camping trip. They would love to get out there but know that the mind may be willing, but the body is not able. Glamorous Camping is what the doctor ordered!
A recent Glamping experience.
Although reluctant at first, I recently attended a Glamping retreat with my partner. Now imagine relaxing on the banks of the Murray River. You’re always falling in and out of consciousness due to the hypnotic and restful sounds of the river flow. It’s a sweltering 35 degrees Celsius outside, but within the confines of your luxury tent, it’s a cool 16 degrees. Your attention and connected Spotify surround sound music is interrupted by the knocking of room service. The attendant reminds you that your order of Chilli lime Mudcrab and fragrant rice has arrived. This over the top description was not fiction and was a snapshot of my real-world experience on this most recent glamorous camping excursion. A different world isn’t it; it was an incredible insight into the celebrity version of camping that is quite accessible, if only just for a few days?
A historical snapshot of glamping history.
Now you have an idea of what this lifestyle is all about, let’s start at how we got here to the world of the Glamp.
In the sixteenth century, the Earl of Athol in Scotland came up with the idea of the opulence retreat, to present himself as a successful ruler. He was hosting King James V of Scotland, who had traveled to the highlands with his mother. The Earl set up some lavish tents with furniture and provisions from his home.
This was nothing compared to King VIII of England, who was hosting a summit with the French king. The summit was in Northern France, a super sumptuous event, which they named “The Field of the Cloth of Gold”. A field with some 2,800 tents and fountains that dispensed an endless amount of flowing wine.
In the 1920s, the big thing for wealthy Americans and the British was an African Safari. This sounds pretty adventurous, but that vision of adventure disappears. When you discover that the tents had generators, folding baths, and cases of champagne and caviar, this is the typical iconography of camping within the guise of the golden Hollywood era.
Statistics show that Glamping is trending up.
Camping Glamping are becoming hugely popular in the UK. 40% of people claim to have taken part in the last year. There has been a steady rise in bookings in the previous few years, with growth from 15 million bookings in 2016 to 17.9 million in 2017. Market Analysts Mintel claims that reservations and bookings should rise further to 21 million in 2020.
Who would want to go Glamping?
Glamping is universal. It can appeal to many different types of people for a variety of reasons. Maybe you love the camping experience, but your wife will not even consider it. She will not sleep on the ground with all those bugs and critters. Maybe you just want to arrive at your boutique camping retreat without the hassle of having to bring all the camping gear that comes along with the experience like sleeping bags and the air mattress. Glamping is the perfect compromise. Maybe camping is such a massive part of your life that you want your very young children or babies to experience the great outdoors but in a safe and comfortable environment. Or better yet, why not bridge that gap between their childhood and an outdoor adventure by luxury camping in one of a few hybrid tree house glamping tents. There are many reasons to consider what is Glamping and so many destinations you can choose from.
Celebrities enjoy camping glamping.
If you had to ask this select group what is Glamping chances are they already know. Glamorous camping has attracted a whole new audience, including a host of celebrities who has started to enjoy the Glamping experience.
Shay Mitchel, the Canadian actress who was in “Pretty Little Liars” is a Glamping fan. Recently, she was a luxury camping deep in the mountains. She said Glamping with the girls is the perfect excuse for cozy “Glamp” worthy outfits.
Solange and her husband Alan Ferguson started Glamping way back in 2015 when they enjoyed a New year break with a circle of their closest friends and relatives. Beyoncé anyone?
Emma Roberts, unique Glamping in the Philippines.
Emma Roberts, an American actress, and singer founded an exclusive Glamping resort called Birdhouse. This resort is in Palawan in the Philippines. The resort can only be reached clambering up a steep staircase from the beautiful beach. The accommodation is a collection of luxury safari tents, each of which contains a queen-sized bed: two single beds, an exclusive private bathroom, and your veranda. Prices are FROM $350 a night with a two-night minimum. You will have to wait, though, as the Birdhouse is booked right up until the end of next year.
Other celebrity Glampers.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Bosworth. Emily Ratajkowski, Jamie Chung, Carly Simon, and Guy Ritchie. Want more names, here is an excellent article from on celebrities that are Glamping across the world.
Modern Glamping experiences and getaways.
There are so many possible destinations and types of Glamp lodgings. It’s almost mind-boggling. Browsing through the listings on Glampinghub is super fun. Below I have decided to list two unique examples that I have narrowed down to as our next destination. The missus picked our first retreat; now it’s my turn (I say this in my childlike excited voice). These examples show you the diversity and adventurous nature that sometimes only the Glamping experience can provide.
Roulotte Retreat, near Melrose, Scottish Borders.
How about renting a real Romany Horse Drawn Caravan (stationery) that has come from France?
It is a beautiful example of craftsmanship and features a peaceful meadow of flowers. The campsite has a stream running through it. Within the Caravan, you can expect to experience Scandinavian influenced decor and roomy entertainment and sleeping areas. Ours came with its beer keg. You can tell that the hosts and curators have spent a lot of time creating this space. They suggest to make your food in the tiny wooden cooking area or have a campfire for that authentic gypsy ambiance.
Community activities built into the package retreat include:
- Massage treatments
- Yoga classes
- Horse riding
- Eco Hot Tubs
Bear Lake Utah, USA.
Another stay in a wagon, but this time the Glamping retreat is set in the Wild West era. Bear Lake offers the Glamper a chance to rent a wagon, or if you are feeling conservative, you could instead opt to stay in one of the many luxurious tents on offer. Whichever option you go for, you will get a comfortable soft bed to sleep in and fresh linens.
- As you mosey in and around the resort, things you may encounter include:
- Old style saloons and restaurants,
- Local stores, all set within the Wild West
- Horseback activities and of course;
- Free WIFI.
How to go Glamping.
I hope I have given you an idea of how varied and exciting Glamping can be. How such a wide variety of people love it. Now let’s look at the practical aspects of Glamping.
Like any vacation, you need to take time to prepare and plan. First of all, you need to consider whether you are staying in your own country or traveling abroad. Having decided where you want to go, at least the country. It is time to start checking out the directories of Glamping locations. As previously mentioned, I like to peruse Glampinghub, but there are many other sources to find Glamping listings such as Airbnb, Riparide, or even Google hotels search.
You may have noticed already that there are many types of accommodations.
Styles make memories.
Here are a few kinds of places in which you can stay.
- Glamping tents
- Modern conversions
- Converted buses
- Converted planes
- Shipping containers
- Safari tents
- Bell tents
- Shepherds hut
- Gipsy caravans
- All-weather creature comforts pod
- Luxe tree house
Of course, deciding what you need to take will depend a little on the type of accommodation and where the resort is located. However, the great thing about Glamping is it takes the extreme equation out of camping to make it a more appealing, tolerable, and comfortable experience to a commercial audience. From my experience, there are so many camping glamping options and retreats as listed by the kampgrounds of america that you may need to pay attention as to how much gear if any you should bring. If you go Glamping in the United States chances are you wont have to bring many creature comforts. Everything will be there waiting for you. This also applies to remote sites, for example, even though you may be out in a remote part of the Grand Canyon, you may not need to bring much if any cool-weather apparel.
A few Glamping tips.
- Finding locations is as easy as going to Google and searching for “Glamping Sites”. If you want the feel of what the area is like, then use Google Maps and Street View.
- You will have a lot more fun if you phone call and invite family and friends to come along. Ok, that does not mean you have to share the same tent, but an enjoyable company in the evenings can make it unique. Remember, champagne glasses don’t clink themselves, so its best to bring company.
- Consider your budget; Glamping is always going to be a bit more expensive than what we like to call in Australia’ roughing it’. Also, you can’t expect the word ‘Glamour’ to be associated with anything budget-friendly.
Hacking your way to Glamping memories.
In my opinion, a more authentic, agile, and cost-friendly way to Glamp is just to do it yourself. You could deck a trailer or campervan out with furniture, or you could Glamp up your regular tent. Best of all, if you decide to do it yourself, you aren’t tied down to one specific location, and you can get closer to some amazing landmarks.
Be imaginative in what you can bring. A rug, a mattress, a chair, a table, fold up metal chairs. You can do it your way.
I remember those times I had as a child when we went camping. Sometime in the future when all my friends are saying that I am too old for camping, I can always disagree. If the time is right, I will be more than happy to share my Glamping hack with my friends, relatives, or even the Grandkids on a Glamping trip. I can have some comfort, but they can still experience the whole living in a tent thing and let them build memories as well.