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People today need to unplug and unwind. With rapid advances in technology, it’s easy to stay connected. Plus, many people are working around the clock. When it’s time for vacation, they want to relax without going bankrupt.
Enter “glamping.” This craze takes people back to nature without the need to sleep in the dirt or deal with pesky insects. It combines creature comforts with all the beauty of the great outdoors.
What Is Glamping?
Glamping is short for “glamorous camping.” Even though people think of it as a modern phenomenon, glamping began centuries ago, when the wealthy would travel around in style while their servants carried food, clothing and supplies. Luxury hotel chains didn’t exist. Instead, people would stay outside in grand tents.
Today, glamping is very similar. People have long enjoyed RVs because they allow trekkers to explore while offering shelter from the elements. However, not many can afford to drop five figures. Plus, insurance rates for motor homes are sky-high. Glamping is a comfy and cost-effective alternative.
Glamp grounds offer a wide variety of accommodations. Whether you want a rugged experience or a luxury stay, you can find the perfect venue in a variety of locations. Once you arrive, you’ll realize nature needs no embellishment.
Why Has the Glamping Craze Caught On?
Many people turn to glamping to improve their mental health. Among millennials, 45% say they go glamping to reduce symptoms of stress. Getting outside decreases blood pressure and releases endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals. Although researchers state it’s the exercise that produces these effects, it can’t hurt to get a little fresh air.
Today’s travelers increasingly want to disconnect while on holiday. The internet has its benefits, granting instant access to a world of information. However, it also creates problems. Reliance on phones and tablets makes us subject to frequent distractions and impatience. Plus, it makes us crave entertainment and instant gratification.
Glamping offers vacationers the opportunity to truly unplug. Some locations make disconnecting part of their marketing efforts. Certain resorts advise guests that tents lack electricity and Wi-Fi, both by design. Other areas offer limited internet access, but bandwidth and connectivity issues make getting online sketchy at best.
The Health Benefits of Glamping
Disconnecting from the internet greatly benefits both mental and physical health. Many people today have insomnia. They have TVs in the bedroom and use cellphones and tablets as alarm clocks.
The blue light emitted by these devices interferes with melatonin production, a natural hormone released by the body that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. As a result, many people can’t gain sufficient rest, no matter how many hours they sleep. What do they do when they lie awake? They reach for their trusty device to scroll through social media.
Research indicates you can reset your circadian rhythm to its normal state if you spend the weekend camping. Even when you do it the old fashioned way, using a tent & hammock. In fact, those who spend the day outside tend to go to bed earlier. Plus, tests indicate melatonin production in outdoor lovers returns to normal. If you have insomnia, glamping could help you get some much-needed rest, no medication necessary.
Other physical health benefits of getting outdoors include:
- It gets you moving: Many Americans sit the majority of the day. Technology doesn’t make you lazier, but it’s challenging to surf social media while walking or hiking. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and decreases the chance you’ll develop heart disease and diabetes.
- It relieves eye strain: Staring at a screen all day strains your eyes. It may increase nearsightedness and contribute to other conditions, such as macular degeneration.
- It may improve hearing: A considerable percentage of American adults suffer from some degree of hearing impairment. Do you listen to loud headphones at work or while exercising? These practices lead to turning the TV up louder to hear it, creating a vicious cycle of growing noise. Hearing loss increases your chance of developing dementia or suffering memory loss.
- It alleviates neck strain: Alarmingly, constant connectivity is changing the very configuration of human skulls. Researchers recently discovered a large number of young people with bony protuberances at the base of their head. The growth stems from constantly leaning forward to look at devices. While scientists don’t believe these “horns” are harmful, neck strain can cause considerable pain and trigger migraines in susceptible individuals.
- It soothes anxiety and depression: In some cases, getting outdoors alleviates depression and anxiety as effectively as medication. Considering that millions of Americans suffer from some form of mental illness, you could almost call glamping a psychological treatment.
- It lowers blood pressure: In Japan, people practice Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. One study showed taking a walk outdoors reduced blood pressure by 2% and pulse by 4%. When your blood pressure increases, it strains your vessels, putting you at risk for heart failure and stroke.
Considering the wide range of benefits, why aren’t more people taking advantage of the trend?
Types of Glamping Accommodations
You can go glamping in anything from a yurt to an old Airstream trailer. The roughest form of glamping occurs in tents elevated off the ground by platforms for comfort. Many contain full beds instead of air mattresses on the floor. Such accommodations offer maximum contact with the great outdoors.
Travelers who opt for such accommodations should follow common-sense measures when heading out. For example, many tents and yurts lack locks. Guests should leave valuables at home and invest in locking luggage to protect cameras and other pricey equipment. Many campgrounds also forbid food in tents due to the risk of bears.
Not all yurts are primitive — far from it! Many contain private bathrooms with running water, for example. You can soak in a tub under the stars. They have luxurious bedding you’d find at five-star hotels and pillows your head can’t wait to sink into.
If you prefer a bit more security, you can rent a vintage Airstream. While there are four walls, a floor and a roof, it’s possible to pick the lock, so consider how you pack carefully.
Most mobile homes contain small refrigerators and cooktops, allowing you to save money on dining out. Instead, you can prepare your meals and bond with fellow passengers. Solo female travelers often appreciate the accommodations due to the higher security level. Plus, you deal with far fewer insects.
If you love refined accommodations but want to get outdoors, rent a luxury RV. Such RVs often contain all the comforts of home, including fireplaces and showers. Specific models can sleep anywhere from seven to 10 people, allowing you to take the entire family on your adventure.
Where Are the Hottest Glamping Locations in the U.S.?
Tons of campgrounds exist across the U.S. Now is the perfect time to head out, before the weather grows too cold.
- Eastwind Hotel and Bar, New York: If you don’t like roughing it too much, or you have an inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis, the Eastwind is for you. Each stand-alone, A-frame cabin contains a queen-sized bed and a sauna. Even though you’re in the woods, you can enjoy top-notch dining, a salon and a cocktail and coffee bar with a prix-fixe menu on weekends.
- Sandy Pines Campground, Maine: This resort features accommodations ranging from Airstreams to Conestoga Wagons. Each features heat and air conditioning, so you’re sure to remain comfortable, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate. All lodging types include private outdoor dining areas.
- Under Canvas, Arizona: There’s no better way to see one of the seven wonders of the world than glamping. Stay in a safari tent just minutes from the Grand Canyon. Enjoy horseback riding through the picturesque terrain and raft down the Colorado River.
- El Cosmico, Texas: This modern-day campground is part artists’ colony and part ranching village. Choose from a selection of vintage trailers, yurts, tepees or safari tents. You can also upgrade your stay with the Cosmic Kasita, a micro-home with a queen bed, AC and heater. During your stay, check out several communal spaces, such as the hammock grove and barbecue area.
- Safari West, California: You’ll find more than vineyards and wine tours in Sonoma, California. Trade your wineglass for a safari tent as you discover 400 acres of wilderness and more than 1,000 animals. Wake up to views of grazing African antelopes and flocks of birds. Luxury tents are imported straight from Botswana.
Taking Glamping Global
Do you want to get a passport stamp while enjoying the great outdoors? You can do say at an international glamping resort. Fly south, down to Bolivia, and stay at Kachi Lodge. There, you’ll enjoy an excellent collection of seasonal wines at nearby Le Gusto.
You can also head down under and stay at Discovery Rottnest Island, located on a car-free island preserve off the coast of Perth. The accommodations vary from simple elevated tents to luxury family accommodations with built-in kitchenettes.
Given all the wonders glamping offers, what are you waiting for? Hop online and research your destination. Once you’ve found the right place, pack your gear and get back to nature!