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Glamping vs. Camping
The great outdoors has a lot to offer. Exposure to fresh air, sunlight, peace and quiet...ahh. And now with most of us working and living in busy and crowded cities, nature's appeal has never been more....um...appealing. For example, in 2012 Americans spent approximately $646 billion dollars on outdoor activities. And outdoor recreation is a sector of the economy that has grown 5 percent year after year for the past 5 years. However, some sectors of the outdoor recreational economy are growing faster than others with no end in sight. I am of course referring to the phenomenon know as glamping.
What Is Glamping?
"Glamping" is a combination of the words "glamorous" and "camping." It was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary as of 2016. Its earliest usage can be traced back to the UK circa 2005, and related terms include "glam camping," "posh camping" or "luxury boutique camping."
Whatever term you choose to use, they all describe the experience of traditional camping but with the effortless ease and convenience of modern technology and design. Instead of campfires for cooking and heat, your glamping tent may include a microwave, stove, and central heating. Instead of using a sleeping bag and sleeping mat to rest your head at night, your glamping tent might include a queen sized bed with duvets. Essentially, glamping is the perfect way to get in touch with nature without actually roughing it. For the rest of this article, we will explore the ways in which camping is both similar to, but at the same, an enhanced version of the traditional camping trip.
On a typical camping trip you will probably use a nylon or polyester tent meant to hold anywhere from one to eight people. With fiberglass tent poles for structure support and rain-proofing accessories, modern camping tents are a must-have for people looking for safety and security amidst the wildlife and forests of the great outdoors.
But what about bathrooms? What about showers? What about room service? Well, when you go glamping, not only do you get to stay in yurts, large luxury tents and cabins, but depending on the level of service offered by your glamping site, you can get room service, laundry, housecleaning, the works. As an example, you can check out the link for Firelight Camps in Ithaca, New York. Although each tent at Firelight Camps is off the grid, you get access to complimentary continental breakfast each morning, electric heaters, a queen bed with plush linens, and a common lounge area.
When you think of camp food, you generally think of either convenient prepackaged fare as trail mix, nutrition bars, and beef jerky, or fire-roasted delicacies such as s'mores, roasted chicken, fried fish, and canned beans (by the way, TrailCamp beans are amazing). And while these can all be delectable meals in the harsh wilderness, proper glamping often involves something a little more extravagant.
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All glamping sites vary according to the degree and quality of the meals they offer, but as a reference point you can look towards the Food Network's Ultimate Glamping Menu, a slideshow of glamping meals that are sure to whet your palate. The platters include fruit and chocolate fondue desserts, creamy clam pasta with tomatoes, and breakfast burritos with slow roasted ham. For even more inspiration check out Camp Orenda, a glamping site in the Adirondacks that boasts open-flame cuisine prepared daily. Bon appetit.
The range of activities for typical campers run the gamut from fishing, hunting, rock climbing, caving...whatever nature and your own personal resources allow you to do. After all, what is glamping if not camping without the planning and logistical hassles. Therefore, many glamping trips are typically supervised, furnished, and monitored by trip leaders. Some resorts give you access to ATV parks, snowmobiles, Olympic-sized pools, tennis courts, basketball courts and live music. Moreover, glamping sites near water or the shoreline often offer such resort-quality experiences as scuba diving and jet-skiing.
Animals, Critters and Wild Things
Whether you are camping or glamping, getting more in touch with nature is integral to the whole experience. Additionally, it is rare to have a tent (whether it be glamping or traditional) that keeps every single small annoying bug out of your domicile. In fact, when it comes to wildlife, there is very little difference between traditional camping and a luxurious glamp excursion. That is, unless you are glamping near a safari, nature or park reserve.
That's right, glampers: several locales around the world allow you to glamp where the wild things are. For instance, in the United States, you can stop by California's Sonoma Serengeti at the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains to spend a few nights at Safari West, a combination conservatory, research center and glamping resort where groups can take safari tours. On these tours you can encounter hyenas, cheetahs, and hundreds of species of birds.
And just across the Atlantic, the UK has its own special conservatory/glamping site. In the county of Kent, not too far from London, is the Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve. Its Giraffe Lodges are world-famous due to the fact that you can actually feed real giraffes from the comfort of your luxury glamping tent. Also, you can check out Port Lympne's Tiger Lodge, which places your luxury living space right in the middle of a tiger sanctuary (behind thick plate glass, of course).
Glamping is Here To Stay
No matter how you do it or why, glamping is here to stay. Major cities and towns all across the world are catering to this new type of glamorous activity as a way to increase tourism and revenue in an increasingly competitive outdoor recreation market. Most interesting of all, research shows that glamping is a particular draw for both GenX and Millenial campers.
So to all the happy glampers and potential glampers out there, I hope this introduction answered some of your most burning questions and inspired you to plan you next glamping trip. And if you are still on the fence, I included a little video above to show you how luxurious a glamping tent can be when properly furnished. Happy glamping!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.