Glamping vs Camping: Which is Right for You?

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. And no, that’s not a typo.

Glamping, a portmanteau of  “glamorous camping” or “glam camping,” is a new way of travel that’s sweeping the nation. It allows adventurers 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.

In other words, it’s a way for people who want to experience the world without getting their hands dirty to have their cake and eat it too.

“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,” according to the movement’s official website.

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

Camping vs. Glamping

For some die-hard campers who live for days spent 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 — even if it does mean sleeping in in glamping “pods” or “cubes,” whatever those are.

It’s kind of like when literary people argue about books like Twilight. Sure, it might be predictable drivel, but at least it’s getting people reading, right? (Full disclosure: I’m a Harry Potter kind of girl, myself.)

Luxury Camping

No matter where on the spectrum you find yourself personally, it’s interesting to look into glamping ideas and accessories. People have come up with all sorts of creative ways to keep themselves as comfortable as possible while still technically on a “camping” trip.

Common motifs include exposed lightbulbs, rustic-looking decor that probably cost thousands of dollars, and attractive people happily clinking wine glasses in a clearing surrounded by well-manicured woods. The whole thing is an Instagram goldmine.

There are even dedicated glamping resorts and deals cropping up as more and more travelers take to this hybrid 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 fancily decorated and tricked out with all sorts of extravagant amenities. Campers might even be served posh dinners and enjoy nightly turndown service.

But if you want to camp in comfort style, do you really need to go to all of that expense?

Glamping Holidays

Fortunately, traveling by RV is kind of like do-it-yourself glamping.

Think about it. You’re enjoying the great outdoors, but you’re sleeping on a real mattress. You can make s’mores over the campfire, but you can also whip up a tasty dinner in your fully-functional indoor kitchen — which comes complete with a full-size fridge instead of just a measly cooler.

You can spend your days sweating yourself into a mess, enjoying every inch of the great outdoors by hiking, climbing, or biking… with the comfort of knowing a hot shower is waiting for you when you return.

You can even end a full day of outdoor adventures with a movie night, cuddled up on your RV couch in front of the television.

Of course, how “glam” or luxurious your RV camping experience is has a lot to do with how you approach it. For instance, staying exclusively in luxury resort-style camprgrounds with a laundry list of amenities is a lot different than regularly heading out into the middle of nowhere on wild, off-grid boondocking trips.

It also depends what kind of rig you’ve got. Camping in a Class A motorcoach is much less like camping than hunkering down in a modest pop-up camper or sleepervan.

But no matter how you slice it, and no matter what kind of RV you’ve got, sleeping on a bed totally beats even the comfiest, cushiest sleeping bag. On that point, at least, I think both campers and self-proclaimed glampers can come to an agreement!

How Much Does Glamping Cost?

One reason RVing might make more sense than glamping for families is the crazy cost of some of these extravagant setups. I mean, check out some of the prices for accommodations at this resort in Montana. The least expensive options are more than $500 per night… per person!

Don’t get me wrong: RVing can get expensive. 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.

But even factoring in a $200-a-day RV rental, food costs, and entertainment, it would be pretty tough to match those insane glamping prices. (You’d have to go out for a pretty darn decadent dinner, and maybe not even then.)

Plus, with RVing, you already know what to expect and what to bring along. Your nightly retreat will feel more familiar and homey than overblown and expensive… 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.

Show me a yurt that can do that!

So don’t pay $500 just to camp with a real bed to sleep in. You’ll be roped into the glamping resort’s prices and regulations, not to mention stuck in one place.

Instead, grab an RV and make the open road your glampground. (Don’t worry: You can definitely still bring wine.)



What do you think?