With tough economic times, many people are choosing to stay closer to home for their vacations this year. The popularity of camping is on the rise, as is the emerging trend of luxury or glamorous camping, also known as “glamping.” Glamping options vary from high-end resorts offering accommodations in luxurious five star tented accommodations, to State Parks offering rustic yurts and camping cabins. Even your typical car camping trip can be glamorous with the right accessories and destination. Here are 50 Tips and Tricks to put some glam into your next camping trip:
1. Start planning early. Some campgrounds and resorts sell out months in advance, particularly over holiday weekends.
2. Do your research! It is important to know what is supplied at your destination and what you will be required to bring. Do they have running water? Toilets? Electrical plug-ins? Cooking supplies and utensils? Better to ask in advance the show up unprepared.
3. Rent a tent. If you are planning a camping trip but don’t have a tent or any supplies, many outfitters and camping stores offer gear for rent.
4. Invite your friends and family. Your trip can be easily organized as an event on Facebook, using an Evite or on a social travel site like Tripwiser. Glamping Girl recommends that you limit the size of your group to no more than six people to minimize your impact on the environment.
5. Try a tipi. These traditional dwellings can accommodate up to eighteen people and offer an alternative to tent camping. In Alberta, Canada, you can stay in traditional Blackfoot Indian Tipis at Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In North Dakota, you can sleep in authentic tipi on the shores of Lake Sakakawea.
6. A yurt can’t hurt. These traditional Mongolian circular structures are popping up all around the world. In the US, many states including Oregon, Washington, New Jersey and Missouri offer yurts for rent in their State Parks.
7. Hit it up safari style. Kenya offers hundreds of safari camps with options for every budget. Fall asleep listening to the roar of the lion and the wind whispering through the tall grasses, while you are safe and cozy in your safari tent. For this experience closer to home, many nature preserves, like Shambala in Califorina or the Fossil Rim Foothills Safari Camp in Texas, both offer safari camping experiences.
8. Glamping Girl prefers to be as close to the beach as possible. There is no shortage of beach-front glamping accommodations in North America. At Malaekahana State Park on the island of Oahu, they offer five furnished camping yurts with electricity right on the beach. At Treebones Resort in California, some of the yurts have an oceanfront deck and they even offer a human sized nest.
9. Get out to the mountains. The Sequoia High Sierra Camp offers five star luxury in the heart of Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, with gourmet meals, deluxe tents and hike-in access. Choose from an easy one-mile stroll or a twelve-mile trek. Either way, they will shuttle in your luggage for you.
10. A mobile form of glamping consists of overnight adventures in covered wagons. Available in Wyoming and Ontario, you can pioneer a family adventure on the trail and spend the night in a covered wagon.
11. Spend the night in a cave. Kokpelli’s Cave Bed & Breakfast in New Mexico is far from primitive. The cave house is built into the 65-million year old vertical cliffs of Ojo Alamo Sandstone, 300’ above the valley. The 1650 sq. ft. cave has a bedroom, kitchen, dining room and bathroom with waterfall shower and Jacuzzi tub.
12. Enjoy a spa treatment. The Talking Trees Campground and Spa in Hodgen, OK offers campers hydrotherapy, massages, catered meals and more. The Halcyon Hot Spring and Spa in Nakusp, BC offers a campground with therapeutic healing hot springs and a full service spa and restaurant.
13. Crave adventure? Try a white water rafting trip. Many rafting outfitters offer accommodations that range from primitive campground to luxury tent resorts.
14. Take the kids glamping Disney-style. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort in the heart of Disney World Resort and offers basic to premium campsites, cabins and villas. Far from rustic, they also offer shopping, entertainment, meals and WiFi.
15. Waterfront accommodations are always glamorous. Safari tents on stilts? That’s glamping! 9 Beaches Bermuda Resort offers tents built on stilts over the turquoise waters. They even have a window in the floor to view your neighbours, the tropical fish swimming below.
16. Skip the all-inclusive for your next vacation and go green. The La Leona Ecolodge in Costa Rica is a vacation destination for nature lovers.
17. Go glamping in the desert. The all-inclusive Longitude 131 Resort in the Outback desert of Central Australia offers 15 luxury tents, a pool, and your own private view of Uluru (Ayer’s Rock).
18. Spend the night in a tree. The Out ‘N’ About Treehouse Treesort in Takilma, Oregon offers over ten types of treehouse accommodations, zip lines and more, open year-round.
19. Go high end and take a glamping vacation in a five star resort. The Clayoquot Wilderness Resort off the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada is a celebrity favourite (Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds got married there). Even the most discerning traveller will be impressed.
20. Retro is the way to go. Vintage Airstream trailers offer a kitschy Americana appeal. You can rent them in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains in France or at Shady Dell in Bisbee, Arizona.
21. Consider carpooling to reduce the environmental impact of your trip.
22. Pack smart. Don’t forget any necessities. Print out essential glamping checklists and triple check everything before you leave.
23. Glamping isn’t about hotdogs and burgers. Gourmet food can be cooked at your campsite. Think steaks, salmon, grilled vegetables and more. Glamping Girl recommends the cookbook Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors by Robin Donovan.
24. There is a wide range of deluxe camp stoves, propane powered ovens and even a microwave oven that you can plug into your car lighter. Put it together in your all-in-one camp kitchen, even Martha would be impressed.
25. Instead of buying plastic or Styrofoam cups, plates and cutlery, consider a green alternative. Many organic and health food stores carry vegetable based tableware that is 100% biodegradable.
26. There’s nothing glam about doing dishes, but, if you must, don’t forget to bring a wash tub, a drying rack, dish towels and biodegradable soap.
27. Don’t forget you are in the outdoors. Don’t store any food in your tent, ever. Avoid wild animals by putting your cooler in the trunk of your car or stringing your food high up in a tree, away from your tent.
28. No more instant coffee! Enjoy delicious coffee brewed with a camping coffee maker or try a stove-top espresso maker. Consider using a French Press, it is portable and self-contained and can be used to brew tea as well.
29. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a civilized glass of wine while you are glamping. We recommend using a wine picnic kit, an all in one solution for carrying the bottle, glasses, corkscrew and everything else you need. If you don’t want to take the bottle, Kleen Kanteen offers a stainless steel wine carafe that holds a full bottle of wine.
30. For a true glamping trip we recommend a portable bar that includes a cocktail shaker, stainless steel martini glasses, a corkscrew, and a bottle opener.
31. Get a good folding chair. There are so manystyles to choose from, in every colour of the rainbow. Options include recliners, built in footrests, double chairs, and chairs with built in tables and coolers.
32. Bring a hammock to kick back between the trees.
33. Get a good tent! If you are going to be sleeping in a tent, consider the best option. There is a tent for every budget and every family size. Choose from multi-room condo-style tents that sleep up to 12 or a self-contained solo tent, for the independent traveller. Tents even come in designer colours and patterns, so you are sure to stand out in the woods.
34. Put together a tent kit. It’s going to be your home away from home so bring a doormat, a hand broom and dustpan and a tent light. There are even collapsible shelving and storage units to keep you organized inside.
35. Get a silk sleeping bag liner. They come in every colour, protect the lining of your sleeping bag and are luxurious against your skin.
36. If sleeping on the cold hard ground isn’t your thing, consider an air mattress. For extra luxury and comfort, buy one with a memory foam topper, or, add your own. Don’t forget a pillow! Some sleeping bags come with little portable pillows but Glamping Girl recommends bringing your own full sized pillow for maximum comfort.
37. Can’t get away from the office? Take the office with you. There are plenty of solar powered laptop chargers in case you need to stay connected on your trip.
38. Glamping is not about off-key chords on an acoustic guitar around the campfire or rounds of Kumbaya, don’t forget your iPod and some portable speakers. Make sure you put together a crowd-pleasing glamping playlist or two.
39. Stay clean! Use biodegradable soaps and shampoos. Get a portable shower and shower tent. Don’t forget toilet paper, toilet seat covers, wet wipes and hand sanitizer. If there are no toilets ladies, there are plenty of gadgets to assist you with bathroom functions in the woods.
40. Don’t forget your insect repellent, portable bug zapper and citronella candles! There is nothing glamorous about big itchy, red welts.
41. Bring sunblock. If you are going to be going swimming, make sure it’s waterproof!
42. Bring your pet! They have their own tents, backpacks/saddlebags, collapsible dishes, life jackets and much more. Appropriately named, the Paws Up Resort in Montana is pet-friendly and offers ultra luxury in a tent for all breeds of guests.
43. When you’re not at the spa or cooking up a gourmet meal over the fire, you need to keep busy! Bring a good book, some board games and don’t forget a deck of cards.
44. Consider bringing an outdoor area rug. Not only will it spruce up the surroundings, it will reduce the amount of dirt you track into the tent.
45. Lighting is key to a positive glamping experience. Don’t fumble around in the dark or trip over exposed tree roots. Make sure you bring a couple of good flashlights and a lantern. Glamping Girl recommends a lantern with a tripod to illuminate the campsite and solar powered garden lights to mark pathways.
46. Bring a lightweight, non-breakable mirror to fix yourself up.
47. Don’t forget a toothbrush and toothpaste. For an extra level of cleanliness, consider a portable UV toothbrush sanitizer.
48. Get a cooler on wheels. It’s like carry-on luggage for your food and drinks! No more lugging a heavy old cooler around.
49. Be green. Pack out what you brought in with you and reduce the amount of waste you produce as much as possible.
50. Above all, have fun! Glamping isn’t meant to be taken seriously and the more laid back you are, the more fun and relaxing your vacation will be.