Going glamping? Here's a beginner's guide
MANILA, Philippines – My husband, our dachshund, and I decided to take off for 3 days to a glamping site called Easy Adventure in Charlie’s Point, Baler.
I had wanted, for a long time, to satisfy my curiosity in this strange new way of taking a vacation – glamorous camping or camping in glamor.
This is my independent take on glamping and what you should know before diving headfirst into the experience.
Why it’s great
1. A fun alternative
Glamping is a great mix of nature, convenience, and style for anyone with an open mind.
For hikers such as my husband and myself, used to hauling tent parts up mountains, cooking our own food, and digging up a hole in the ground to serve as our bathroom, glamping presented an amusing mix of intimacy with nature sans the backbreaking work of actual camping.
One particular luxury that delighted me was the pail of water with a bamboo dipper that you use to wash the sand off your feet before entering the tent. Sand and dirt are a perpetual menace when pitching a tent by the beach.
For travelers used to multiple-star accommodations, I can imagine glamping to come across as a roughed-up version of a boutique hotel. The tents have the essential amenities of a hotel room – beds, towels, even an electric fan for some glamping sites.
Meals are prepared for you and the glamping site staff are at your beck and call. But unlike a hotel room, you live in the belly of nature and have to contend with some of its quirks – mosquitos, rain, sun, animals, nature’s smells.
2. Great way to (sort of) get away
Have you ever checked in at a typical hotel or resort in an exotic destination only to turn on the television or use their Wi-Fi to check your news feed? It’s a curse of city folk that no matter how far you are from the city, you end up still living as if you were there.
With glamping, there’s less of that danger because, more often than not, there is no TV to turn on and no Wi-Fi in your tent. In Easy Adventure, the Wi-Fi was confined to the common area.
Instead of sleeping to the drone of the air conditioner, you sleep to a symphony (or cacophony, depends on you) of crickets, swaying leaves, and if you’re lucky, raindrops falling upon your tent.
But the practical thing about glamping is you don’t have to totally cut yourself from the world. If you really need to go online for something, glamping sites can have Wi-Fi in some areas or are at least relatively close to modern amenities than if you were on the summit of a mountain.
3. Good experience for kids, families
In an age when many kids are glued to their iPads or TV screens, glamping is a first step to teaching them that adventure can be found beyond apps and shows.
It's a good option for parents who can't bring their kids to a mountain summit but still want their kids to discover the joys of the great outdoors.
This exposure, of course, still comes with some risks. Glamping sites are generally not as manicured as resort grounds. Kids can slip or get bitten by bugs. Just keep a close eye on them and bring some insect repellent.
If your kids like the experience, you might even want to take them out for real camping some time.
4. Perfect for pet owners
Some glamping sites, like Easy Adventure, allow dogs. In fact, their own dogs, Charlie, the German Shorthaired Pointer and Epic the Rhodesian Ridgeback, made our dachshund Bean feel right at home.
Glamping areas let dogs just be dogs, unlike in resorts or hotels where you have to keep them on the leash or worry always that they’ll have an accident on the lobby’s expensive-looking carpet.
Which is not to say you should let your dogs wreak havoc on the glamping sites’ amenities. You still have to make sure your pets don’t chew up the tent or don’t bite the other guests. Responsible pet ownership applies every where.
5. Tailor-fit to the area’s natural features
Glamping sites, because of how interlinked they are with the area, also do their best to highlight the area’s natural features. For Easy Adventure, for instance, the activities are paddleboarding and kayaking to make the most of the nearby river.
There’s also a wooden viewing deck with colorful bean bags so one can enjoy the view of the river, sea, and distant mountains.
The staff will even set up a cocoon hammock so you can better appreciate the fireflies that come out at night to dance among the trees.
Another night activity they offer is a bonfire by the beach. If you’re willing to splurge, you can enjoy the bonfire with a bottle or two of imported craft beer.
The Bulacan glamping site San Rafael River Adventure sets up their tents in floating bamboo rafts so guests can experience sleeping on the river.
In Blue Water Sumilon Island Resort in Cebu, there's a nearby natural mangrove langoon and ruins of a Spanish-era watch tower. (READ: 'Glamping' on Sumilon Island, Cebu)
6. Sustainable, low-impact
The environmentalist in you will love how glamping sites are generally less consumptive and invasive as typical resorts or hotels.
Instead of requiring massive construction on natural features, glamping sites build around them. You don’t need to reclaim a beach front to put up some tents.
Glamping requires less electricity. We were provided with only two lamps at night. To keep us cool as we slept, we just unzipped the window flaps of our tent.
There are only common bathrooms in Easy Adventure so we shared the bottled body wash and rolls of tissue, which suited us just fine.
If done right, glamping can be the most respectful way to travel in relative luxury.
You should know
Because glamping is a mix of camping and the resort experience, it’s tricky to figure out the exact blend of both in a specific glamping site.
Some glamping sites have airconditioning inside the tents, some don’t. Some have private bathrooms, some don’t. Some sites are well-lit, others not. Good thing we brought our own toothpaste and toothbrush because these were not provided by Easy Adventure.
Best to call before packing or read up on the amenities on their website. It’s always good to remember that, while glamping is part glamor, there is still the camping element which requires that you be ready for anything.
On the safe side, I recommend packing a head lamp or flashlight, mosquito repellent, tooth paste and tooth brush, and malong.
The opposite may also be true: the glamping site is more resort than camp site. Blue Water Sumilon Island Resort has a swimming pool and restaurant, for instance.
Glamping sites also have their own aesthetic. Some are really dolled up with fancy prints and design elements, making them highly Instagram-worthy and often more pricey. Some, like Easy Adventure, are pretty plain and basic.
Because it’s more exposed to the elements, glamping sites may not be ideal places to hang out in in the afternoon. Tents, even with all the windows unzipped, can get pretty hot. Best to get away from the glamping site during this time. Research in advance or ask the staff about nearby spots to visit and spend the afternoon in.
We rented a motorcycle from the staff to check out Ditumabo Falls in the nearby town of San Luis. By the time we got back, it was around 4 pm and the sun was about to set.
Glamping sites will also have their own touches of luxury. At Nurture Wellness Village in Tagaytay, they offer massages. At Easy Adventure, we took advantage of the unlimited coffee.
The best way to enjoy glamping is to be ready for anything and to keep an open mind.
If you’re someone used to the full resort treatment, take pleasure in walking barefoot in the grass and don’t panic if there’s a bug on your pillow. If you’re the traveler more used to actual camping, allow yourself to be pampered a little with the soft beds and gorgeously prepared meals.
The beauty of glamping is it’s that in-between experience that has something different to offer everybody. It’s that experiment everyone has to try at least once.
And because each glamping site has its own take on glamping, every experience will be different and refreshing. – Rappler.com
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