You can’t have failed to have been swamped with pictures and posts flowing through your social media feeds of happy guests with blissfully wide smiles, against backdrops of luxury tents, yurts and other such unusual places to stay.
Glamping arrived quite some time ago, but instead of being a passing fad it looks like it is very much here to stay. More and more campsites are adding glamping units to their sites to meet the demand. And if it means they can widen their guest appeal and even perhaps open for a longer period of time throughout the year, it seems like a no brainer.
But, what does that mean for us campers? Should we be mixing glamping with camping? Is glamping cheating?
First off, lets explore exactly what glamping entails.
Glamping accommodation seems to be able to include pretty much anything that is already erected combined with a hint of luxury. Accommodation includes;
- Safari Tents
- Shepherds Huts
- Gypsy Wagons
- Wooden Pods
When you arrive at your accommodation everything is already done for you. There is no canvas and tent pegs to negotiate whilst trying to keep the kids entertained. No airbeds to pump up – in fact, it is quite likely that you will have a luxury king size bed with Egyptian cotton sheets to snuggle in. Most holiday types come complete with private bathroom facilities, so no more dealing with the dreaded 3am wake up to nip across the field to the shared toilets. The icing on the cake is probably the heating and warmth factor. This will of course depend on which country you are staying in, but most places now have wood burning stoves, keeping you snug all night long.
Of course all this convenience and luxury comes at a price. Glamping isn’t cheap, easily rivalling a stay in a hotel. But when you weigh you up the pros and cons and what you actually want out of a break, the price isn’t so bad at all.
I am aware that many passionate campers believe that putting up tents, going to collect water, cooking over a camp stove are what makes the camping trip an adventure. That idea of living simply without modern day conveniences takes you back to basics. But that doesn’t mean glamping doesn’t have a place within the camping industry. If anything you are introducing more people to a world of outdoor living who might not have otherwise considered it. Sometimes the mere thought of having to sleep on the floor (or not far from it) is enough to deter someone from embarking on a camping break – and just think about all those other amazing experiences they will be missing out on? That perfect morning as you sip your cup of coffee whilst the bacon is sizzling on the fire – nothing quite beats an al fresco breakfast!
Pros of Glamping
Open up outdoor holidays to more people
No expensive equipment required
Great for a weekend break where putting a tent up for 1 or 2 nights seems like too much effort!
Great for families who don’t feel ready to camp with young children
A certain magical element is added when you are staying somewhere ‘unique’
A comfortable nights sleep in a luxury bed!
Usually a private en-suite – no more trekking to the toilet block in the middle of the night!
Cons of Glamping
More expensive than traditional camping
Some feel you might lose the ‘adventure’ element of camping under canvas
Having experienced both camping and glamping I don’t think you can say that one is better than the other.
They are both very different holidays. If you are a regular camper and already have all the camping gear, going to pitch up for the weekend is no great deal. But sometimes, even for the seasoned camper the treat of glamping can be tempting!
Conversely, if you are eager to try this ‘back to nature lark’ people keep raving on about, glamping might just be a way of dipping your toe in the water, without it getting submerged under soggy canvas!
As we go camping so often we have to try and be a little organised with our packing and unpacking. In the early days it would be pretty chaotic and we would spend hours trying to find things and then squeeze them into our roof box.
So we decided to get strict with what we actually needed to take with us and we created a checklist. No longer are we rushing out to the campsite shop and paying twice the price for a box of matches 🙂
Here is our list…
Duh. Yes, I know, sounds kind of obvious. I’m proud to say we are yet to forget the tent. But you never know, so it deserves a place on the checklist. We have used a variety of different tents and have finally settled on a Skandika as our best family tent (so far!) We find them large enough for our needs and the quality means they withstand all sorts of crazy weather we find ourselves in!
Yup, it’s comfort all the way for us. We don’t just go for any kind of air mattress either. We opt for the double height, feel like we’re in our bed at home style. We also go for the electric blow up ones where you just need to plug it in and it goes off and does it stuff. Pure comfort I tell ya.
If you have a weak bladder like me then a torch is a necessity. Not only are they needed for middle of the night dashes, they are also handy for sneaky night time reading under the covers. We try to bring little handheld ones for the kids, as well as bigger lantern ones to hang around the tent. If you can go for ones that don’t need batteries, even better.
Although the appeal of living on takeaways is there, the economics isn’t. And anyway, we kind of enjoy whipping up a delicious dish on the camping stove. As we are a large family we go for a two ring stove with a grill underneath, It also means we’re not just restricted to one pot meals. Make sure you’ve got enough gas to bring with you though!
It kind of goes without saying that if you are bringing a camping stove, with a view to making most of your own meals, you will need to bring something to cook said food in and something to eat cooked food off of. All I would say is don’t go crazy with the pots and pans. Remember you only have two gas rings to cook from so you shouldn’t really need too many. We bring plastic plates and cups, easy to clean and not such a big deal if they break.
Duvets are more our style than sleeping bags. I’ve got nothing against sleeping bags but I do find them slight restrictive. Duvets also feel more luxurious, somehow. We also bring our own plumped up pillows from home. Like I said, we like us some comfort 🙂
Camping Table & Chairs
Not strictly a necessity but a really nice to have. A comfy chair to me is more important than the table, but if room allows, bring the table too! You can get the cool foldaway tables that come with the chairs too, so you should be able to squeeze them in.
And those are our MUST BRINGS. We do of course sneak other bits and pieces in, depending on the time of year and where we are camping. Most times we will bring a camping heater with us (electric) and plenty of games to keep everyone entertained, should the rain decide to come along too!
We have been taking our children camping ever since they were born. Our eldest is now 15 years old and we have been pretty much every year of his life. Some years we have been half a dozen times.
We haven’t just taken our 4 children on camping breaks, we’ve been on 2 week all inclusive trips in the sun, city breaks – you name it, we’ve done it. We love travel and vacations. But the thing is, when we ask them which trip is their favourite, they always answer camping!
After many chats with them we have come up with the top 5 reasons why you should take your children on a camping trip!
When we go camping we allow our children way more freedom and independence then we do at home and other holidays. We are always very careful about which campsites we book into – they must have great reviews and be family friendly. We never stay on huge campsites, often the campground has 100 pitches or less. We can usually see (and almost always hear!) them wherever they are. But they really believe they are out roaming and getting in to the kind of adventures that all children should be. Sometimes we will give them walkie talkies so we can stay in touch.
Nature And The Great Outdoors
In todays digital age it is really easy for children to get engrossed in the online/screen world and forget that they live on a beautiful and incredible planet! We make a point of not bringing screens with us on a camping holiday. They do have a good grumble at the thought of a weekend plus without them, but within hours of running around outside they are a distant memory.
Making New Friends
We are a large family with 4 children. For this reason they are rarely lonely and without a playmate. However, sometimes it nice to breakaway from the fold and meet new people. The children love the ease with which they make friends on camping trips. We have had weeks away where we’ve barely seen the children between sunrise and sunset, occasionally popping back to the tent for food and water!
Precious Family Time
On the times when they have been unable to find any new friends on the campsite they have been forced to spend it with boring old Mum & Dad! But, although they probably won’t admit it, we have some incredible times together. We usually bring some games with us (cards, Bananagrams, swingball…) and we can lose hours having family ‘tournaments’ as we battle it out for the camping champion!
We Get To Go On More Trips!
This is one of my personal favourites 🙂 As camping is a more economical way to go on a holiday it means we get to go on more of them! As we already have all the camping gear we usually only have to pay for the cost of a pitch – which is never usually that much. What’s more, we can decide at the last minute if we fancy a cheeky weekend away. We can decide after school on a Friday and have the tent pitched by 6pm…ready for a few days of rest and relaxation.