Glamping is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. A portmanteau of "glamorous" and "camping," glamping brings the comfort of a hotel into the great outdoors. Although the concept has been around for years, it has really started to take off with the launch of sites like Glamping.com and Glamping Hub, which help teach people about the joys of glamping and match potential glampers with the experience they're looking for. So we caught up with the experts to learn the ropes.
What is glamping?
David Troya, founder of Glamping Hub, says that they look for three elements in identifying glamp-sites: they should have a "unique structure;" immediate access to the outdoors as opposed to a hotel lobby; and the comfort of a hotel ("at the very least you're going to have a bed and hot water"). So it could be a yurt or teepee outfitted with a wood-burning stove in the mountains of Utah or it could be a luxury safari tent in a Tanzanian game reserve.
Who should go glamping?
The range of glamping experiences is so varied that it can appeal to virtually anyone. Chad Taylor, Director of Sales and Marketing for Glamping.com says that they see a lot of couples, and in particular honeymooners, looking into glamping. It also provides a happy medium for families and is an increasingly popular choice for corporate teambuilding, he says. Troya notes that the majority of people he's observed through Glamping Hub are interested in glamping staycations; "so maybe they go from San Francisco to stay in a tree house in Monterey." Troya says he's also seen an upsurge in glamping girls' getaways and bachelorette parties.
What's the first step?
The first step to planning a successful glamping getaway, says Taylor, is to "figure out geographically where you're looking to go—are you looking to go to Africa to do a safari, are you looking to go to Europe and explore glampsites as you explore different countries in Europe, are you looking for an American west experience...?" From there "set your budget, decide how much you're willing to spend," he advises.
What to look out for?
"Don't assume that just because glamorous is encrypted in glamping that you're going to get a luxurious experience every time," advises Troya. "Do a little bit of research and make sure you know what kind of experience you're going to have. There are some [glampsites] for $50-$60 a night and others for $2500 a night, so I would say do not expect the same experience from every glampsite." Be sure to "look at the amenities," says Troya. "The majority don't require any gear, but check to see if your tent is heated."
Taylor suggests checking out Tripadvisor for reviews of the glampsites, as well as suggestions on what to do once there. "What did people do, where did they stay, what did they do during the day, what kinds of activities did the resort offer, what kinds of beds, is it better for a couple, will there be screaming kids around, etc. Figure out where you want to go, then research the other guest reviews and amenities offered," he says.
In the end, think about glamping as being different from your average vacation. "It's an experiential travel opportunity," says Taylor. "It's once in a lifetime."
Looking for inspiration on where to set up "glamp"? Check out our picks on where to go glamping across the US and our tips on when and where to splurge and save when it comes to your next glamping trip.
Photo credits: All photos courtesy of Glamping Hub