Are You a Camper or a Glamper? These 7 Differences Will Help You Decide

Last updated on March 3rd, 2022 at 11:30 am. Originally published on June 7th, 2015

For most families summer means the time for vacation. If you plan to vacation in the great outdoors this summer, do you prefer camping or glamping? Not sure? No worries! We’ve broken down the top 7 differences between camping and glamping to help make your decision a breeze.

What is camping?

Camping can look a lot of different ways, depending on who’s 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. 

RVers also refer to taking their motorhomes out on the road and setting up at campgrounds across the country as camping. Just like tent camping, RV camping can 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 setup with comfortable beds and heated showers and a patio strung with lights for entertaining.

What is glamping?

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 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.

“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.

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

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

Here are the top 7 Differences Between Camping and Glamping:

For 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. Whatever way you choose to get outside and enjoy the wonders of this earth is a good thing.

1. How Much Nature is Too Much Nature?

Camping enthusiasts prefer to trek out into the wild where they can pitch a simple tent and sleep under the stars. They love nature and pride themselves in the ability to survive without any luxuries.

Glampers think a little nature goes a long way. While they may seek “a good outdoors experience,” a true glamper wants to sleep on a comfy mattress. From RV to Safari tent, glampers believe every vacation includes a touch of class.

2. Cliff side or Pool side?

Campers love to hike for miles, and set up camp alongside a stream or cliff. No luxury? No problem. True campers enjoy the thrill of the wild and the process of setting up camp. Campers want to get away from people, places, and things. They don’t mind roughing it. In fact, they enjoy it.

Glampers choose “reasonable” locations. These may include RV parks, glamping resorts, or cabin rentals at a nearby lake. Glampers want their location to include at least the basics (although a hot tub and heated pool doesn’t hurt), and they don’t like going without.

3. Hot Dogs or Steak?

Campers pack the basics and eat what they catch along the way. They think dehydrated food makes a great quick meal, and no evening is complete without cooking over a open fire.

Glampers are foodies. They prefer gourmet foods and fine wines. Meal planning is carefully thought out and may include a tablecloth and fine china (or at least real plates).

4. Hiking or Reading?

Campers enjoy hiking, biking, fishing or hunting. Their idea of a good time is exploring the great outdoors on foot or by horseback.

Glampers spend their time reading, painting, writing, or photographing wildlife. They may enjoy light fishing and an evening horseback ride at sunset.

5. Fresh Air or Technology?

Campers grab their GPS and go. Forget about the phone, tablet and T.V. They are camping! They don’t need that stuff, besides where would you plug it in?

Glampers scale back on technology, but still pack the basics. They will no doubt carry a phone and a tablet so they can watch their favorite program or read an e-book. They also want to stay connected with family and friends while they are away. Plug it in? No problem. Glampers DO NOT go without power.

6. Out House or Bubble Bath?

Campers love a challenge. A toilet could be behind a tree, a makeshift bucket, or a pit toilet deep in the forest.

Glampers prefer a good flush. If their accommodations don’t have a bathroom, they at the least expect a nice shower with full flushing facilities to be nearby.

7. Wild or Tame?

Campers expect to see animals. These may include moose, deer, or wild boar. The less human neighbors the better. Campers hide their food in the trees and always carry bear repellent. Wolves? No problem. Raccoons? Bring em on!

Glampers prefer their wild animals in Zoos. Here they can experience wildlife without the unexpected. In truth, glampers don’t dislike animals but prefer them to be wither contained or of the tame variety.

Now that you know the difference between glampers and campers, which category do you fall into?

If you said glamper then you’re in luck because I have 5 can’t miss places for you to glamp in style!

1. Champing : Camping in an Historic Church

Visiting England? Why glamp when you can champ?  According to the Churches Conservation Trust over 347 churches are now trying something new!  They are opening their doors to campers who want to stay overnight and have plenty of time to explore both the building and the countryside. Rural churches offer a variety of lodging options. 

2. The Idaho Original

Mary Jane’s Farm in Moscow, Idaho is the epitome of the the term glamping.  This original farmstead has been kept alive through Mary Jane’s passion for her bed and breakfast and fresh organic foods.  Experience rural life with no electricity or phones, but live like a queen with excellent meals and soft down bedding.

3. Washington Wanderlust

You know “glamping” has hit the height of popularity when a state park offers it. At Wanderlust Camps in Moran State Park you can book your Orcas Island vacation and enjoy glamping in a custom canvas tent with cedar plank floor, comfy queen bed, and everything you need to experience the great outdoors.  Rates start at $119 a night and their are plenty of activities nearby!

4. The Vintage Flash Back

Step back into full 1950’s technicolor. At the Shady Dell in Bisbee, Arizona you can enjoy a stay in one of several restored vintage trailers. From the 1949 Airstream, to the 1950 Spartan Manor, you’ll have everything you need for a memorable glamping experience. The Shady Dell provides vintage lawn chairs, radios and retro dishes to complete the “flash back” experience.

5. Yurt City

Looking for a totally different glamping experience?  You have to visit the Treebones Resort in Big Sur, Califormia.  This one of a kind glamping location includes a variety of yurts offering views of the sea. Treebones has a restaurant, organic garden and breathtaking California views!

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

It’s easy

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 campstove or water filter or bear box.

It’s comfy

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.

Glamping Tips

If you’re interested in glamping, here are some tips for booking a glamping getaway, or to put a few touches in your own RV to make it feel more luxurious.

1.) Try a glamping adventure

Book a getaway to a fancy yurt, a grown-up treehouse, a safari tent, or in a vintage RV and stay in style! 

2.) Spruce up your RV with throw pillows

Not everything in your motorhome needs to be strictly functional – have a few festive throw pillows tossed around on your dinette set or bed! Because throw pillows are small and inexpensive, you can swap them out with the seasons or whenever you tire of your old ones.

3.) Hang things with Command Strips

Command Strips fasten your pictures or other collectibles tightly to the wall and keep them much more secure than by using a nail or picture hanger. You can hang pictures from your adventures, or trinkets you’ve discovered along the way.

4.) Lay down some rugs

You can brighten an entire room with a small rug in the center. It also helps keep the chill off your feet when you’re walking around in your motorhome!

5.) Paint

Yes, you can paint in your motorhome! Browse Pinterest for ideas, or look online for motorhome color schemes and pick some charming colors to brighten your own motorhome. You can find more ideas on how to outfit your RV for glamping here on RVshare

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. 

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 – either your own, or one you rent through RVshare – and make the open road your glampground.  

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of places to go glamping around the country! Check out these articles for places to consider if you want to plan a glamping trip:

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