What Is The Difference Between Camping and Glamping?

The outdoors are really great… except for all the bugs and dirt and lack of air conditioning, of course.

If you’re nodding your head sympathetically, you might be a glamper. 

Glamping, which comes from  “glamorous camping,” is the travel trend that’s sweeping the nation (especially now that we have Instagram, where we can share our beautiful glamping pictures!) Glamping allows adventures with all the excitement and serenity of the great outdoors… with none of the inconveniences of, say, having to use the woods instead of a bathroom.

Camping

Whether in a tent, yurt, airstream, pod, igloo, hut, villa, cabin, cube, teepee, or treehouse, glamping is a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.

So basically, it’s camping for the indoorsy among us. But is it right for you? Let’s dive right in. 

What is the difference between Camping and Glamping?

For die-hard campers who live for days lost in the woods with nothing but a tent for shelter, glamping might actually sound like a total nightmare, not to mention inauthentic. The whole point of camping is to get outdoors and a little bit outside your comfort zone, they could argue.

But others might see glamping as a great opportunity to see and experience nature for people who otherwise might not ever do so. Whatever way you choose to get outside and enjoy the wonders of this earth is a good thing.

What is Camping?

Camping can take a variety of ways, depending on who is taking the trip. It can conjure up images of backpackers carrying nothing but a tent, sleeping bag, and a few lightweight supplies out into the wilderness. Or it could mean a family, with a tent that sleeps ten and comfy air mattresses and sleeping bags to boot. 

Just like tent camping, RV camping can also be minimal, with campers going off the grid and using only the power and water they bring with them, or it can be an extensive set up with comfortable beds and heated showers and a patio strung with lights for entertaining.

Camping people

What is Glamping?

Glamping allows campers to bring many of the comforts of home, and a lot of decorative touches along with them, too. People have come up with all sorts of creative ways to keep themselves as comfortable as possible while still technically on a “camping” trip.

There are even dedicated glamping resorts and deals cropping up as more and more travelers take to this vacation style.

Glamping is done in “luxury tents,” cabins, and trailers with elaborately decorated interiors.

Yurts and treehouses are especially popular glamping sites, and many of them are well-decorated and tricked out with all sorts of extravagant amenities. Glampers might even be served posh dinners and enjoy nightly turndown service. Some glamping facilities are nicer than the actual hotels.

Glamping

Demystifying Glamping

Camping doesn’t always have to mean roughing it. In fact, it’s becoming quite the trend to go “glamping.” Yes, you heard me, glamping.

Exactly as it sounds, glamping is a more glamorous spin on camping and it is bringing a whole new level of interest to the camping scene.

So what are some of the facilities which come along glamping?

Wi-Fi

For starters, cell service is a great place to begin. If your campsite offers Wi-Fi and your cell phone works properly, consider yourself a glamper. Sure, there are certain sweet spots you can find at any campground that offers limited service to call a friend, check emails, or even post to Instagram, but consistent cell service is definitely considered a glamping perk. Camping, on the other hand, is an opportunity to really disconnect. The lack of cell service on a traditional camping trip allows campers to unplug and step away from the real world, if only for a moment.

Sleeping Arrangements

Another major differentiating factor between camping and glamping is shelter and sleeping arrangements. If you’re traditional camping, you’re typically taking a tent to a remote location and creating your own makeshift shelter to truly enjoy nature. Just you, your sleeping bag and a tent. While glamping, you’re still enjoying all that nature has to offer, but you don’t necessarily want to part with that cozy, homey vibe. So, instead, glampers can find themselves at home in an RV, trailer, cabin, or even hotel/motel.

Cooking

Cooking has its similarities – like marshmallows, for example. Whether you’re around a campfire, portable grill, or even a microwave, who doesn’t enjoy a good s’ more? But glampers have the luxury of still enjoying home-cooked meals. Come dinner time, glampers can preheat their oven and turn on the stove to prepare their meals. Campers on the other hand keep it simple and the first order of business is starting up a fire, as this will serve as a makeshift stove, oven, and microwave.

Shelter

Wildlife neighbors are also something you need to take into consideration. Glampers might have a better chance of staying safe from unwanted furry friends than the traditional camper. Tents do not provide as much protection from nosy neighbors the same way an RV, trailer or cabin would. Being locked away in a tight and structured environment is a perk that glamping offers to stay safe of wildlife critters.

Some may consider glamping an upgrade in rest and recreation, while others still prefer the ruggedness of camping. This new type of travel undeniably captures any potential “negatives” of camping life and pivots a high level of service that can focus on the complete comfort of its guests.

Important Differences Between Glamping And Camping

1) How you actually camp

Camping: If you’re traditional camping, you’re taking a tent to a remote location and setting up shop. You’re trying to get away from technology and civilization, to simply enjoy nature. You’re miles away from the closest store, and there’s nobody else in sight.

Glamping: When you’re glamping, you want to enjoy nature, but you don’t necessarily want to leave the comforts of home behind. You’re staying in an RV or dwelling that’s probably equipped with electricity and water, and there’s a good chance you’ve got some neighbors. Many times, you’re only a short distance away from retail stores or attractions.

2) How you sleep at night

Camping: It’s just you, your sleeping bag, and the stars. No bed, no roof, no nightstand with a lamp.

Glamping: You’re going to be in some sort of structure, whether it’s an RV or a cabin. There’s probably a comfortable bed with sheets. You might have a window or dome that looks up to the stars, but that’s as close as you’re getting.

3) How you answer “Nature’s Call”

Camping: Choose a tree or shrub and make sure it isn’t covered with poison ivy. There are plenty of advantages to the simple life of camping, but this is one area where civilization is welcome. Be sure to cover up what’s left behind and hope you didn’t forget to pack toilet paper!

Glamping: Choose a magazine from the rack in your RV’s bathroom or choose the cleanest stall in the campground’s bathhouse. Wash your hands with soap and water, and don’t worry about covering your tracks.

4) How you cook

Camping: Hope you paid attention in your Scouts class because the first order of business for dinnertime is gathering some wood and getting a campfire going. Break out the portable grill grate if you’re feeling fancy, or slip some hot dogs on a hanger if you’re keeping it simple.

Glamping: You can still enjoy your roasted marshmallows over a campfire, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave behind your home-cooked meals. When it’s time for dinner, preheat the oven, turn on the stove, or figure out how many minutes you need to set on the microwave.

5) How you shower

Camping: Sometimes camping doesn’t always allow for the luxury of a shower. You’ve probably packed some baby wipes to freshen up a little or a bottle of water to splash on your body. 

Glamping: Enjoying the outdoors doesn’t mean you have to smell like it. Your RV probably has a fully functional bathroom with a shower, or there’s a bathhouse at your campground. If you’re at a really nice place, showering is the least of your worries as you might even have a spa!

6) How you deal with the elements

Camping: With traditional camping, your only air conditioning is wearing light clothes and opening your tent flaps. “Turning up the heat” means cozying up to the fire, bundling up a heavy-duty sleeping bag, or adding layers.

Glamping: When you’re glamping, hot or cool air is only a button press away. Your RV or the dwelling you’re staying in will have everything you need to stay comfortable.

7) How you rise and shine

Camping: Coffee and breakfast is a crucial part of camping. Be ready to warm your coffee over the fire and cook some eggs and bacon with an iron skillet.

Glamping: If you’re brewing your coffee yourself, all you need to do is flip on the Mr. Coffee. If you don’t want the hassle of that though, your motorcoach resort probably has complimentary coffee, just like a hotel.

8) What you’re having for dinner

Camping: Classic hot dogs and s’ mores are on the menu, and maybe a burger if you’ve got a camping grill.

Glamping: You’ll have a menu that looks just like it does at home. You will probably have a full-sized grill you can use, but more importantly, there’s a fridge stocked with food.

9) How you get your water

Camping: You’ll get most of your water the same way your animal neighbors do: the nearby lake or stream. Of course, you’ll need to boil it to make sure it’s safe to consume (unless you use one of these).

Glamping: You’ll have a supply of clean, filtered drinking water, plus some for bathing and cooking. If you’re really glamping, there’s running water on-site!

10) How you keep your supplies safe

Camping: It’s not people you’re worried about, but the local wildlife. Keeping your food safe means hanging it from a tree or locking it in your car. You don’t need to worry about keeping valuables safe, because you didn’t even bring them.

Glamping: You keep your things safe by locking your door as you head out to the golf course. Your fridge will keep your food safe, your closet will keep your clothes safe, and your electrical outlets keep your cell phone safely charged.

Advantages of Camping vs. Glamping 

Pros of Camping:

There are some obvious pros when it comes to rustic camping over glamping. 

Price

The cost of a camping trip can be very cheap. Campsites are inexpensive, and some are even free. After the initial cost of purchasing equipment, you can camp often for very little money. The cost also doesn’t tend to go up much as you increase the number of people. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors for a family keeping an eye on their budget. 

Pride

When you return from a trip where you set up your own tent, cooked your own food over a tiny stove or campfire, and matched wits with the wilderness and won…that’s a great feeling. Teaching kids – either your own, or scouts or other kids you mentor – outdoor skills also builds up their confidence and helps them realize they’re strong and independent. For some kids, the confidence they build on a camping trip can be life-changing.

Proximity to nature

You feel really close to the wilderness when the only thing separating you from the outdoors is a thin layer of tent cloth. You grow attuned to the noises outside (which is good and bad!) and you’re more likely to live by the rhythms of the sun. Camping brings us back to a way of life that’s almost entirely gone when we’re home with our electric lights and entertainment centers and plumbing (ok, that last one is hard to give up!) 

Pros of Glamping:

Easiness

If you didn’t grow up going camping and don’t know anyone who does it, it can be intimidating to head out into the woods on your own. Glamping allows you the feeling of being in nature, but in a controlled way and with all your necessities provided for. You just need to pack as though you’re going to a hotel – no worrying about messing with a camp stove or water filter or bear box.

Comfort

I don’t think even the most dedicated camper would argue that it’s more fun going to the bathroom in the woods than in a proper bathroom with a flush toilet. And as you get older, the idea of sleeping on the hard ground with a sadly thin air mattress (that always deflates! Why do they always deflate?) is less and less tempting. Even for adventurous types, after a day of hard exploring, the idea of taking a hot shower and falling into bed covered by a fluffy comforter while surrounded by charming twinkle lights is enchanting.

How Much Does Glamping Cost?

Glamping for families can incur a crazy cost, mainly because of the extravagant setups. If we check out some of the prices for accommodations at quality resorts, the least expensive options are more than $500 per night… per person!

Similarly, RVing can get expensive as well. They take a lot of fuel to run, and some campgrounds charge as much as $100 per night for full-hookup sites with added conveniences.

Glamping in an RV

With RVing, you already know what to expect and what to bring along. Your nightly retreat will feel more familiar and homey… which can actually be a lot more comfortable and enjoyable.

Best of all, unlike yurts, igloos, “pods” and “cubes,” RVs are built to move. That means you can bring your luxurious glamping experience anywhere that strikes your fancy. You could spend a few nights by the beach only to retreat into the mountains for the weekend, or even transform your very own backyard into a decadent glamping getaway. And when your vacation’s all done, you can park your rig in the driveway, knowing it’s always there waiting for your next big adventure.

Camping VS Glamping FAQS

Q. Where Can I Go Glamping In The U.S.?

From the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to Florida’s warm beaches, glamping opportunities exist throughout the U.S. and even in Canada. You can experience the most beautiful vistas, historical sites, and peaceful surroundings in almost every U.S. state, all from the comfort of a luxurious lodging option.

Q. When Is The Best Time Of Year To Go Glamping?

Glamping allows you to bring all the creature comforts you want during your outdoor adventure. So, any time is the right time to go glamping. No matter the season, each has its own interests you can enjoy. Imagine wrapping yourself in a fleece-lined blanket as you snuggle next to a fire pit on a snowy winter’s day. Or, even as the thermometer creeps higher in the dead of summer, you can take it in your stride as you sip on a cool, refreshing beverage by a pool.

Q. What Are The Benefits Of Glamping VS. Camping?

If you’re trying to decide between a glamping trip versus a more traditional camping adventure, each has its own distinct benefits and qualities to enjoy. Really, it just depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want a more traditional experience in the great outdoors? Camping may be the right fit for you. Or, is the idea of doing without running water, electricity, or a mattress too much to endure? Glamping may be the answer. Decide ahead of time what you want your trip to look like and the type of experience that will best fit the needs of you and your family.

Q. Is Glamping A Better Option For Small Children?

You know your kids better than anyone. Because glamping often offers additional amenities than a traditional camping trip, it may be the best answer to your family’s needs. Deluxe Cabins provide you with private bathrooms which means no scrambling to make it in time to the bathroom when your little one has to go in the middle of the night. They also offer a bit more privacy. On the other hand, if your kids are really excited by the thought of “roughing it” then a more traditional camping experience may be a better fit. 

Q. Is “GLAMPING” A Real Word?

Flashback to more than 10 years ago — “glamping” was a made-up concept which combined the words glamorous and camping to describe an elevated camping experience. However, as travelers picked up on the glamping craze, the concept spread like wildfire across the globe. So much so that in 2018, Merriam-Webster dictionary added the term to their official list of words. So, yes — “glamping” is now a real word!

Q. How Do You Turn Camping Into Glamping?

To turn a camping trip into a glamping experience, all you need is some awesome lodgings, those luxuries, and essentials you just can’t do without, plus, a little bit of creativity. The main difference between a more traditional camping experience and a glamping trip are those bonus amenities that make your stay all the more comfortable and the special things that you bring along that you know will take your trip to the next level.

Glamping is all about making your camping experience comfy and luxurious. Electricity, plush blankets, running water, mood lighting, scrumptious meals — all these creature comforts and more are what make glamping an ideal vacation for many.

Final Thoughts

So, if you have some time to plan a vacation, however long it may be, you should plan them to be under the sun and stars. The details of how you may choose to do it, however, can range far and wide. With our review above, I hope we provided a detailed analysis of the difference between camping and glamping. We wish you happy adventures!

Michael Holding
 

Michael is an outdoor adventurer and a kayaking enthusiast who loves to share his experiences with others. He is the Chief Editor at XgearHub.

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