The Great and Glamorous Outdoors: A Beginner's Guide to Luxury Camping
Everything You Need to Know to Go Camping in Style
Looking to get away from the daily grind and truly connect with your family and yourself? Camping can be a great way to escape the distractions and obligations of daily life and enjoy nature and inner peace. However, if we’re honest with ourselves, not all of us are ready to give up our morning cappuccino or our comfortable bed.
Nor do we all get excited about the idea of dealing with some of the difficulties involved with traditional camping (carrying gear to a campsite, cooking over a campfire, sleeping on the ground, etc.). That’s what leads many to seek out a more luxurious camping experience.
Luxury camping is one of the hottest travel trends lately, perfectly designed for those who love the idea of getting out in nature and enjoying the great outdoors but aren’t ready to give up the comforts of home.
What Is Glamping?
Glamping is a popular word for luxury camping, which was made by combining the words “glamour” and “camping.” It combines the excitement of exploring the outdoors with the luxury surroundings of a resort vacation. Basically, it means spending time in nature without giving up the creature comforts of home.
In order for an experience to be considered “glamping” you will find a couple of quintessential features present. First, you will have close access to nature or outdoor life to explore. The sites are typically in quiet, private locations with spectacular views and beautiful nature.
Secondly, you will find many of the comforts you would expect to have in a resort hotel such as hot running water, air conditioning and a comfortable bed.
As the trend becomes more popular around the world, more and more companies are catching on which means glampsites are popping up all over the world. Whether you want to stay in a yurt in Mongolia or an eco-friendly pod in Patagonia, a teepee in Portugal or a tree-house in Ohio, you’ll find glampsites of many varieties in tons of exotic (and not so exotic) locations around the world.
Where Will You Stay?
Whether you go the luxurious or traditional camping route, you will spend your nights in a tent or tent-like structure. However, a luxury tent typically will be a comfortable temperature with home-like furnishings like a bed, walls and even a kitchen. This is more than a pop-up tent — this is a luxury home with walls made of canvas.
Sometimes they even take the form of tree-houses or other structures. Some types of accommodations you may see include:
- Eco-friendly pods and cubes
- Campers and trailers
Check Your Expectations
Luxury camping is amazing but you must go into the experience with the right expectations.
If you can’t handle a stray bug here and there or a bit of dirt, it probably isn’t for you. Even though you are in relatively luxurious accommodations, you are still surrounded by nature, so you can expect a bit of dampness, insects and dirt from time to time.
Also, don’t expect glampsites to be in close proximity to fine dining restaurants, entertainment attractions and the like. While there may be some glampsites in areas like this, the idea is to get out into nature and often this means being farther away from cities and towns.
Going into a glamorous camping experience knowing what to expect will help curb any disappointment and can help you decide if it is really for you.
This beginner’s guide may have you looking to book your next vacation at some of the top glamping resorts around the world. However, if you haven’t the time or the funds for a getaway, that doesn’t mean you can’t have the glamorous camping experience right at home.
If you are an avid camper already you will probably have much of the gear you need. However, if you are looking to upgrade your camping trips to a more glamorous, 5-star experience, you’ll need to add some gear to your collection.
Your DIY Luxury Tent
First and most basically, you’ll need a large tent. Even if you already have a tent your family comfortably fits in, you may need an upgrade. Better yet, you can look for something unique which could even be rented temporarily. Companies like Terra Glamping offer tents for hire throughout North America.
Their tents have everything you need for your own pop-up retreat including safari-style tents, king or queen beds with comfortable memory-foam mattresses, fine furnishings, a fire pit with s’mores kits and even options like yoga kits, hammocks, morning coffee and tea packages and heaters.
Another rental company, Under Canvas offers both safari-style tents and teepees which make for beautiful and luxurious outdoor accommodations throughout the United States and Canada.
Alternatively, you can make an investment in your new luxury tent camping lifestyle by purchasing a large family tent and outfit it yourself. These days, tents can be set up easier than ever before with some of them able to be pitched at your campsite in mere seconds. That way you can get right to the fun and relaxation while on your trip.
Another option for accommodation is to book a campervan. RVing has long been considered a more luxurious version of camping. While most RVs don’t have chic or stylish interiors, they certainly provide the creature comforts of home.
For an especially memorable experience, rent a cool retro camper or trailer and simply drive your luxury camping experience to whatever destination you choose.
Regardless of what type of DIY luxury camping you are planning, you’ll need bedding. It may be impossible to get a real mattress to your DIY campground; however, if you choose to go the inflatable route, you’ll want to invest in a top-of-the-line air mattress, so your luxury night doesn’t become an uncomfortable one.
We’d suggest topping it with an all-seasons duvet which is warm enough for chilly nights but won’t leave you sweating if the temperatures turn a bit warmer. Choose some plump luxury pillows and high thread count cotton or Mulberry silk sheets for a plush place to lay your head.
Add to the romantic experience by draping some fabric around your luxury bed and stringing some fairy lights around the room. These are the sorts of touches that make the difference between regular camping and a true luxury camping experience.
Lounging around outside with those you love is an essential part of camping in general. While traditional camping involves sitting around in lawn chairs, you’ll want to create an outdoor lounge area for relaxing that fits the bill. Lay a few tarpaulins on the ground and top them with rugs or sheep skins. Then bring in some bean bag chairs, day mattresses or other lounge furniture for sitting and relaxing.
Hang up some fabric or tapestries and add candles or solar-powered lights to really set the mood and help you see after dark. A fire pit is also worthwhile for atmosphere, warmth and some good old campfire cooking, which will be sure to take you back to your childhood.
Drinking and Eating
Camping typically means sacrificing gourmet cuisine in favor of roasted hot dogs and uninspired sandwiches. However, fresh steamed mussels, a bottle of wine, high end charcuterie, chocolate and other gourmet treats will elevate your experience from simply roughing it to true luxury camping.
For those who can’t start their day without a cuppa fresh brew, make sure you also bring along some decent coffee and a way to brew it.
Even though it would be dreamy, it’s out of most of our budgets to bring along a chef to whip up restaurant-style cuisine right at our glampsite. Rest assured, though, you can have a luxurious and relaxing experience and cook your own food. You’ll just need to do a bit of advanced planning.
If you are doing it yourself, bring along a gas cooker to make everything easier. Make a menu in advance and write a shopping list to make sure you have all the ingredients. To make things even easier, you could also consider packing some pre-prepared gourmet meal kits such as those offered at the grocery store, or through a number of mail-order food companies such as Hello Fresh.
As another option, you could simply spend some time prepping meals in advance so you can relax during your actual trip.
Even though gourmet dining is a part of the experience, don’t completely ignore campfire cooking. If you have access to a fire pit, roasting marshmallows for s’mores can be just what you need to make for a memorable and nostalgia-inducing luxury camping experience.
As well, always make sure you are properly disposing of the waste you generate. Properly disposing your trash and avoiding burning plastics and metals are just a few ways you can respect the natural environment you are enjoying on your trip.
Other Things to Pack
You’ll want to bring along plenty of thick, soft towels, with at least one for every glamper. This is also not the time to skimp on toiletries. Indulge and pack your favorite luxury shampoos, soaps and lotions to make sure you feel pampered.
If bugs are a concern where you are camping, you’ll want to bring along plenty of bug spray and a mosquito net to drape around your bed for comfortable sleeping.
Pack some games, a good book, a guitar or sports equipment. While some of us can lounge about all day and not feel a bit bored, others will need a less sedentary vacation. Packing some fun activities will keep you from being too restless.
What Not to Pack
Leave the laptops, iPads and smart phones at home! Resist the temptation to spend the time on social media, or browsing the internet on your device. Even if you are in range of WiFi, it’s good to unplug from time to time and electronics seriously mess with the zen we’ve tried so hard to achieve in our chic camping setup.
Use this time to talk to your family and friends, catch up and make new memories with each other.
Some Notes on Location
Whether you are planning to glamp at one of your bucket list destinations, or are truly on a budget and can’t go much farther than your backyard, try to make the environment as distraction-free as possible.
Invite only those things that you intentionally want to include into your glampsite and you’ll thank yourself later as you are relaxing, stargazing and enjoying the company of those around you.
Popular Glamping Resorts Around the World
As luxury camping becomes more and more trendy, destinations are capitalizing on the trend and luxury camping resorts are popping up all over the world. You can find a glampground nearby almost anywhere you find yourself these days. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites here.
To be included on our list, the destination must feature luxurious, eco-friendly accommodations, a quiet location and amazing views of nature.
Terra Glamping in California, USA
Perched on a California cliff along the famous Pacific Coast Highway 1, Terra Glamping offers 10 safari tents which each have full ocean views. Each of the luxury rooms come outfitted with everything you’d find in a high end hotel, but there’s no WiFi here as this experience is meant to be a digital fast (as we believe all luxury camping should be!).
Each tent has a private porch where you can watch whales or point out constellations in the star-filled night sky.
Wainamu Luxury Tents in Auckland, New Zealand
Breathtaking Bethells Beach in New Zealand certainly ticks all the boxes for what we want to see in a glampsite. Wainamu Luxury Tents has a number of canvas safari tents on this slice of paradise, and you can rent campsites in both winter and summer.
The campground is completely off grid so there is no electric power, but don’t start thinking you’ll be uncomfortable. You’ll have hot water and a gas cooking hob, as well as lanterns for night time use. The campsite comes with a stocked pantry area and a cooler with ice that is stocked with some basics before you arrive.
You’re sure to have a memorable experience as you enjoy the magic of New Zealand’s west coast by camping in style with Wainamu.
The Manta Resort on Pemba Island, Tanzania
Just offshore from Pemba Island in Tanzania, this gorgeous property provides guests with floating water cabins as accommodation. These cabins, akin to having your own private island, have three levels where you can relax in the sun, enjoy a meal on the water deck and even sleep underwater in a marine room that offers nearly 360-degree viewing of marine wildlife through the glass panes.
The Manta Resort offers the best of both worlds with a private luxury space and everything you could hope for in resort amenities as the nearby resort property has a spa, swimming pool, bar and beautiful botanical garden.
Sandat Glamping Tents Luxury Resort in Bali, Indonesia
Experience the green rice fields of Ubud, Bali in style with beautiful accommodations that are decked out in natural colors to perfectly set you up for a soothing and relaxing stay. Luxury, hand-carved wood furnishings and seashells create a cozy getaway. Your tent also has its own private swimming pool and stunning views of the surrounding forest.
Sandat Glamping Tents Luxury Resort is conveniently located just 3 km from the center of Ubud, one of the most famous cultural centers of Bali. You can choose from luxury, safari-style tents or thatched-roofed Lumbung which are traditional, barn-like structures perfectly suited for romance and chill time.
Keemala Bird’s Nest Pool Villas in Phuket, Thailand
Dreaming of spending a night perched high in the trees? Look no further than Keemala Bird’s Nest Pool Villas in the hills of beautiful Phuket, Thailand. The opulent accommodations feature roomy king-sized beds, massive, luxurious bathrooms, partial sea views and forest views.
You can spread out in the spacious indoor space, sunbathe on the outdoor deck and relax and enjoy the view from your private pool. At the end of the day you are sure to sleep well as you are lulled to sleep by the sounds of the forest on the soft Egyptian cotton sheets. The villas also have resort-style amenities with two restaurants, a holistic spa and more.
Due to the height in the trees, this may not be the best choice for family travelers, but it’s perfect for honeymooners and couples looking for a unique experience.
Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel and Alpine Experience in Monthey, Switzerland
This luxury, eco-hotel allows you to get up close and personal with the beautiful Swiss Alps. The Whitepod Hotel has unique glass pod accommodations with over three different experiences that will all take your breath away. There are luxury amenities like private saunas, spacious bathrooms, large terraces, in-room breakfast, iPads with Netflix, spa services and more.
And with stunning views of the Alps at every turn, you’ll never want to leave.
Treehotel in Harads, Sweden
Treehotel in Harads, Sweden offer several unique luxury accommodations up in the treetops. From a cube made of mirrors that means it blends in seamlessly with the forest, to a bird’s nest-style suit, to a UFO in the trees, there are several exciting options.
However, what really sets Treehotel apart is the range of exciting activities available to guests which make it perfect for those who prefer a bit more adventure in their stay. From full day hikes in the nearby nature reserve and white water rafting, to sea kayaking and a moose safari, you certainly won’t be bored.