Camping vs. Glamping: What Makes for the Best Summer Fun?
Glamping will take a chunk out of your budget, but according to those who’ve done it, the experience is worth it. Is it really that much better than camping?
I first went summer camping while still in college, and I’ve loved it ever since. I like being outside, getting away from a noisy city, and feeling self-sufficient. No lie, setting up a tent gives me a little rush. So when summer glamping became a thing a while back, I scoffed.
Glamping sites range in their amenities, but you can kiss the traditional camping tent and sleeping pad goodbye.
Camping vs. Glamping
Camping is basically synonymous with roughing it. You bring and cook your own food, drink water from gallon containers, sleep on the ground, and walk around in the outdoors for fun. Camping is cheap – you may pay a fee to enter a state or national park and another to rent the campground, but that’s it. Entrance to Big Bend National Park costs $25, for example; and staying in the campgrounds there costs between $17 and $25 per night.
What is glamping? It’s “glamorous camping”… You can experience nature without sacrificing any comfort.
Glamping, meanwhile, involves staying in a comfortable structure like a yurt, tepee, or A-Frame house. It means having electricity, Wi-Fi, real beds, and sometimes even full kitchens. No need to boil water over a campfire.
Glamping is also much more expensive. For example, El Cosmico – a famous glamping site in current hot-spot Marfa, Texas – charges anywhere from $85 to stay in a safari tent to $170 to stay in a trailer or teepee.
This trend is still new to the mainstream. People only started Googling the word “glamping” in 2007. While fancy, comfortable vacations in beautiful locales have always been available to the wealthy, the idea of summer glamping for all seems to have gotten traction thanks to the music festival circuit.
Attendees wanted ways to make the festival experience more comfortable, and companies capitalized on their desires. From there, the idea expanded into other types of recreation and vacations.
If you can’t decide between camping and a hotel, glamping is the way to go.With glamping, the hard work is done for you. Amenities may vary from site to site, but you definitely won’t have to set up your own shelter or cook your food over the fire like at a campsite.
You can also glamp in several ways. For example, you can go ultra-glamorous and have catered meals, air conditioning, or even a personal bathroom at some glamping sites. Or you can find less luxurious ones, where you may not have all the luxuries of your home, but you’ll still have more comfortable, sturdy lodging than a traditional tent – as well as, perhaps, some battery-powered lighting.
Often when you arrive at the glamping site, you’ll check in with a concierge, just like at a hotel.
Somebody may even drive you to your glamping site if you’ve chosen a truly high-end one. At your glampsite, the shelters come with amenities like rug-covered floors, queen-sized beds, heating, electricity, and an internet connection.
For example, at the Paws Up luxury camping resort in Montana, you can rent luxury tents for an evening that come with, to quote their site, “The Last Best Bed and an ensuite bathroom with a vanity with two sinks and a large slate shower. Creekside Camp also has an architecturally impressive dining pavilion with a monumental stone-and-timber fireplace, as well as an outdoor fire pit – perfect for a night of stories and s’mores.”
Some glamping sites offer catered meals, while others offer full kitchens where you can cook for yourself. Some glamping companies are in remote areas, while others have set up camp outside of National Parks to capitalize on the crowds that the parks draw. You can stay in a luxury safari tent 10 minutes from Yellowstone National Park that has king-sized beds, hot showers, flushing toilets, furniture in your tent, and a personal wood burning stove.
Essentially, glamping takes the work out of camping. You pay for the comfort of a hotel room in the natural beauty of a campsite. You can make it as luxurious as you want and pay for it.
So, Camping or Glamping?
At first, it seemed outrageous to me that people were trying to insert a hotel room into pristine nature. The truth, however, is that glamping doesn’t take anything from those who love camping. They’re two totally different experiences.
If you’re looking to save money on a vacation, camping is the way to go. Even glamping sites on the cheaper end will cost triple what a campsite does. Camping is much more DIY, as well. So if that’s your thing, you’ll enjoy camping the most.
Summer glamping is a good idea if you want to retreat to somewhere beautiful without having to pack all the stuff you’ll need to eat, sleep, and have fun. If you want a more laid-back, luxurious vacation and you have money to spare, then glamping is the way to go.