Camping allows you to immerse yourself in nature. But some of us are attached to some of our everyday luxuries. Enter glamping, or glamorous camping.
With glamping, you can choose to stay in heated tents, decked-out yurts, secluded tree houses, fully-equipped retro trailers, or deluxe cabins. And you never have to sacrifice your comfort for a weekend in the woods. The problem is, glamping can be as expensive as staying in a boutique hotel. For instance, a luxury cabin near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming starts at more than $250 a night.
But you don’t have to break your budget. The premium pricing on glamping accommodations are based on location, views, and party size, sure, but you’re also paying for amenities. So if you have the choice between a bare-bones cabin for a reasonable price and one with a higher rate that provides linens, towels, and air conditioning, for example, go for the minimalist option. Bring your own fresh linens and towels, and a fan to keep you cool.
Here are some other ways you can save money on your next glamping trip, without feeling like you’re sacrificing anything.
1. Hunt for deals
Visit daily deal sites and blogs like Glamping Hub for glamping deals and discount accommodations. If you have a AAA, Sam’s Club, or a Costco membership, you may be eligible for additional discounts for lodging and food in the area.
2. Get the timing right
If the destination charges an entrance fee, see if there are any times with reduced or waived fees. For example, the National Park Service offers a few days with free admission every year. If you frequently take glamping trips, you might consider the Park Service’s annual pass, which offers unlimited access to all your favorite camping spots, any time of year.
During peak times like Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day, however, everything from the cost of the campsite to the cost of fuel will go up. Check the prices of your chosen campsite to figure out when it’s cheapest to go.
3. Skip the package deals
All-inclusive glamping packages can be convenient, but they are usually very expensive. Some packages include on-site dining rooms with exquisite meals, yoga studios, saunas, and planned activities for guests. Instead, save money by planning the trip and making food and additional activity arrangements yourself.
4. Compare prices with public campsites
You can find private campgrounds and campsites available for glampers who want luxurious accommodations through Kampgrounds of America (KOA). You search by destination first, and select how you’d like to glamp: cabin, RV site, tents, or “unique lodging” which includes airstreams, yurts, or restored train cabooses. Many RV parks also offer “glampsites” with shared facilities and various amenities. You might be able to save a few dollars by booking a public glampsite at a national park, but some of these facilities are privately owned, so you’ll need to see where you can get the most for your money.
Some locations rent out cabins, motor homes, and other affordable accommodations at around $100 or less per night. They are also equipped with bathrooms and a kitchen, so you can have the accommodations you want without breaking the budget. (See also: Camping for a Week Is Only $160 at These National Parks)
5. Bring items you already own
Bring comfortable pillows, blankets, lanterns, tiki torches, a cooler, a portable grill, and any other creature comforts from home to deck out your space, rather than paying extra for a cabin or heated tent with these same perks. You’ll also want to buy firewood and bring it with you as it will be more affordable than paying for it at the campsite.