In 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary added the word “glamping.” The word is a portmanteau or a combination of two words — glamorous and camping. The vacation trend made its way from a humorous mashup to a full industry.
There are glamping publications, blogs and membership associations. There is even a glamping summit. The Glamping Show Summit is a trade event that hosts industry executives, suppliers and operators.
So what is this industry and how did it evolve? Here’s what you need to know about glamping and if it’s the right vacation experience for you.
What is glamping?
Glamping is a luxury camping experience in which campers spend time in semi-indoor locations as opposed to the normal tent or sleeping bag. Glamping typically offers the indoor amenities that regular camping lacks: beds, electricity and indoor plumbing.
Glamping has many different looks, including airstreams, barns, cabins, huts, cottages and treehouses. Glamping.com offers everything from yurts and shepherd huts to villas for a luxury camping experience.
What do you do when you go glamping?
The experience of glamping depends on the location, price point and preferences. Glamping.com advertises outdoor activities like ATV excursions, hiking, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding and even dog sledding. try a premade travel guide to plan out your glamping trip, or make it your own by hand selecting your favorite activities.
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The history of glamping
According to The Glamping Association, the word glamping was first used in the early 21st century in the UK Born out of an international financial crisis, young families turned to glamping after searching for a luxury holiday experience at a fraction of the price. In 1997, the UK driving license banned towing caravans, so travel companies created a low cost luxury vacation for families that would have normally gone caravanning.
Though the portmanteau wasn’t seen until the 2000s, the concept of glamping dates to the 16th century. In 1520, a summit known as “The Field of the Cloth of Gold” brought together King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France, who were rivals looking to wave the white flag. The result was an 18-day celebration with lavish activities, festivals, tournaments and feasting in tents set up for the royal courts. According to Historic UK, the tents were so luxurious that they were designed to look like “portable palaces” with fountains, stained glass and exquisite gold and jewels. Glamping indeed.
Another example is seen in Scotland, where the Duke of Atholl builds an elaborate, luxurious hunting lodge for King James V and his mother when they come to visit.
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