To Glamp or Not to Glamp?

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There’s been a lot of talk about glamping lately. If you’ve missed the boat on that one, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: glamorous + camping. Luxury camping, so to say. An attempt at combining your love for the outdoors, and hopefully greener travel, with the finer things in life. As the second definition in the trusty Urban Dictionary states: “Satisfying your craving for the outdoors and your penchant for a good meal, nice glass of wine, and a comfortable bed.” We’ve already discussed sustainable glamping trips around the globe and glamping on the southern tip of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, but not everyone is a glamper.

Sure, if you’re not comfortable with backcountry treks, and not everyone is, glamping might be your best attempt at spending some time in the beautiful outdoors, which is an excellent vehicle for learning about and appreciating the natural world that we’re all working so hard to protect, but how green is travel of this kind? Well, it depends.

Despite the cringe-worthy factor of its name, glamping does in fact have quite a bit to offer those looking for a more sustainable, eco-friendly vacation. You just need to remember what to look for. Here are a few key things to keep in mind while planning:

Location

Wherever you go, you want to be sure that the facilities in which you’re staying exist harmoniously with the local environment. That means saying no to places that have chosen over development and scaled back on efforts to promote protection of local natural spaces. Choose destinations where the glamping operator gives back to the local environment, either through non-profit programs or the way in which they run their facilities. Think “conscious” and “aware;” since you’re there to enjoy nature you want to be sure that the places you’re staying are doing their part to protect them!

Activities

As with location and facilities, the activities that a glamping operator offers can have a negative environmental effect. Choose places that put an emphasis on carbon-free, or low carbon footprint, activities like hiking, running, cycling, etc. And no matter how much you want to snowmobile, just say no.

Amenities

Solar power, rain collection and permaculture gardens – yes please! There are plenty of glamping locations out there that are committed to running the most responsible operations possible. You can even score yourself an outdoor shower with an ocean overlook, the ultimate in getting back to nature à la luxe.

Food

The joy of glamping is not having to give up the things that make vacation oh-so-enjoyable, like fine cuisine. Many eco retreats offer organic and vegetarian menus, as well as cuisine that focuses on featuring local produce and delectables.

Plan, plan, plan

Above all, do your research. Glamping Girl features a variety of locations that factor in many of the above requirements. Go Glamping is another site with plenty of info and lots of locations to look through. For more ideas on eco-friendly glamping options, be sure to check out our round-up of 7 Sustainable Romps Around the Globe.

Happy travels!

Image: flourishpdx

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.