Glamorous camping -- or glamping -- may have started out as a niche for extremely wealthy travelers or hardcore adventurists. But ever since safaris became all the rage a few years back, this mode of luxury tenting has been broadening and becoming a stronger force than ever. Most recently, we're noticing a daredevil streak in the world of glamping, too. Here's a look at the phenomenon on the rise, including who's doing it, why they're doing it, and the latest trends.Who's Doing It
Glamping is most popular with "families, high earners, and travelers over 65," according to Marco Walter, managing director of ECOCAMPING. Generally, a night glamping costs more than a night in a 4-star hotel, but these groups seem most willing to pay the premium. Most glamping resorts are located in gorgeous locales, far from city lights and other nuisances, while offering the same high-class amenities that would typically be found in a high-end hotel.
How It's on the Rise
The glamping trend truly began to pick up a few years ago, with there are no signs of stopping. Under Canvas Group, a company that offers glamping accommodations near some of America's most beautiful National Parks, has "nearly doubled" its reservations since 2012. Across the pond, the figures for German and Austrian overnights in glamping accommodation rose by 18.5 percent in 2013, with an even greater rise forecast for 2015. Need more evidence that travelers are interested? Last fall, Linda Clark of glamping.com noted that Google searches for "glamping" increased by 15,000 within a 18-month period.
Why It's Popular
It's not difficult to imagine why glamping has become such a hit. Luxury aside, glamping accommodations are usually built right in the middle of your destination -- helping travelers make the most of precious vacation days, with enough time for rest and relaxation. To boot, glamping doesn't always have to be expensive. Going to Kenya for the ultimate Big Five drive with all the works is one thing, but more affordable options here in the States and all over the Americas abound.
A great resource: GlampingHub is a handy website that collects accommodations for comparison, and many are priced well below similarly equipped hotels. If you're looking to strike out on your own adventure, start there.
You'll find glamping in remote locations -- places where you'd typically pitch a tent. There are a few classics that we love, from the diverse luxury tents at Montana's 37,000-acre Resort at Paws Up to the tenthouse suites at Rockwater Secret Cove Resort in British Columbia, Canada.
But it seems like glamping has taken on a more extreme adventure bent as of late. Last year, race car fans were able to glamp for the first time ever inside the Speedway oval at the Indy500, via four-night packages at $650-$1,100 for two to four people. Just last week, many were fawning over Natura Vive's transparent sleep pods (see above photo) that hang 400-foot-high over the Sacred Valley of Cuzco, Peru. Of course, you'll have to climb or hike and zipline to these Skylodge Suites (from $289) -- but you'll be rewarded with a gourmet dinner with wine and breakfast in addition to the elevated views.
Who's ready to jump on the glamping bandwagon, daredevil streak or not?