Lugging a tent into the wilderness. Setting it up. Building a campfire. Sleeping on the ground. These are the basics of camping- or at least, these were the basics of camping. It required planning, a lot of supplies, and a willingness to rough it for a bit in order to have an experience in nature. It was an affordable and fun way to enjoy a family vacation- as long as you didn’t forget to bring the bug spray and sunscreen.
These days, individuals and families have a few more options for their vacations. That’s where glamping comes in, and it’s not your parents’ camping experience. I must admit that I’ve never been actual camping. I’ve always wanted to go, but I’ve never actually had the opportunity. Recently, my children were going to be on vacation with their dad, and I started to consider it. I really wanted to give it a try, and I had a week to myself where I could take a small trip. An experienced camper and close personal friend told me straight out that I should definitely try camping- but for the first time, I probably shouldn’t do it on my own. She offered to give me a crash course with her assistance later in the year.
That left me at loose ends for this trip though. What could I do on a shoe-string budget that would give me a little taste of the experience of camping without having to buy all the supplies and figure it out with no experience? I began looking online for hotel deals and AirBNB options. That’s when I stumbled upon the idea of glamping instead. It’s like camping with a few added luxuries: glamour + camping = glamping.
The first time I went glamping I stayed in a yurt on a ranch. There was air conditioning, a bed, and even a hot tub. It was hardly roughing it. For this trip, I stumbled across a listing to stay in a teepee. My adventuring heart immediately wanted this! The teepee included a bed, fridge, television, and air conditioning. There was a fire pit for those who wanted to cook outdoors. There were bathrooms with hot showers, and there was even a variety of on-sight family entertainment like playgrounds, bounce pillows, corn hole, and a swimming pool. The price was right; it was even cheaper than many of the campgrounds I’d looked into reserving. Plus, this particular one included breakfast each day. I booked it and immediately started packing. No, I didn’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray.
I arrived at my teepee to find that it was a little closer to the interstate than I preferred so instead of listening to nature sounds in the forest, I could hear the steady stream of cars going back and forth. It wasn’t ideal, but I reminded myself that the price was right. And I was still going to be sleeping in a teepee. Plus, it was comfortable. I wasn’t out the cost of supplies to try it. I could sleep on a nice bed and put my food in a little refrigerator. I could even take a hot shower and use the bathroom in sanitary conditions. It was great! The location was also a few minutes from the beach, which was a major draw for me. It was a wonderful place to stay by myself, but it would also be great for my kids for a family trip.
Whether we travel with family or on our own, we don’t have to think so much inside of the box. Glamping can be a varied experience. There are yurts, teepees, RVs, treehouses, and a number of other options available if we’re just paying attention. Rather than having to lug our tents in and out and set them up, we can concentrate on enjoying our vacation time. There’s an added element of comfort, which is important when getting rest is a necessary part of the vacation experience. I enjoyed sleeping on an actual bed but having a little bit of an outdoor experience in a teepee. When I slept in the yurt, it was nice to be surrounded by nature there but have the convenience of air conditioning in the summer. Both experiences were much more affordable than a hotel, which makes it especially friendly to those on a budget, and they both brought me closer to nature than I might have been otherwise.
While some may scoff at glamping, I enjoyed a good night’s sleep and big breakfast before setting off on an adventure to a national park where I got a true nature experience without all of the frills. But at night, I was able to call the teepee home for a few days. It’s not the typical vacation, or at least not what many of us imagine when we think of getting away for a few days. But if consider the benefits of glamping, we just might have another adventure to add to our vacation bucket list.
One day, I’m going to try regular camping. Our parents’ camping. No beds and no frills. Cooking over an open fire. But I’m going to try it with my friend, the experienced camper, before I try to go it alone. I’m sure I’ll love it. In the meantime, there’s always glamping.