I'm not a camping type of gal. There, I said it. But I do like some sort of adventure, excitement, out-of-the-ordinary (just not bunking up in a tent without a heater and a duvet). So when our friends suggested we go glamping (a fancy name for 'glamorous camping') over the summer, I agreed. It seemed like the perfect meeting point between comfort and adventure.
And. It. Was. Awesome!
I enjoyed it. Little Man loved it. The weather was a-m-a-z-i-n-g (though that's not always a given) and it was a weekend well-spent. So if you're up for trying out something new, yet not bold enough to go the distance yet, then glamping might just be for you. Especially if you've got young children.
And so as to make your experience as smooth sailing as possible, I've put together some tips…
1. Take the essentials; it is still a form of camping
It may sound posh, and is meant to be short for 'glamorous camping' but don't expect a 5-star hotel. It is still, in essence, camping! There will be a pre-made roof over your head (a huge heated tent or a caravan or a train carriage converted into a cottage) and there will be basic amenities like a bed and a duvet, cutlery and tea/coffee, but do not expect it to be like a hotel room.
Take whatever you think you will need, especially for the kids. Ask about the heating amenities, for instance, or carry a portable heater. The days might be warm but the nights can get chillier out in the open.
2. Shared or private toilets?
Every glamping site has a different sort of accomodation. And this includes the toilets. Some have a loo/bath within your tent/ cottage; others have a shared bathroom for all the glampers. If you are uncomfortable (or finicky) about sharing your personal space, make sure to find out before booking.
Note: If you have small children, it is easier to have your own bathroom – after all, who wants to walk across the glamping site all the way to the loo at 4 am when your just potty-trained child needs a wee?
3. Take food and snacks
I don't mean a pre-cooked casserole; after all, the fun about camping/ glamping is making your own food on the campfire. But do take stuff that you can easily cook/ heat on the fire. While most glamping sites do have a supermarket or convenience store around (and even some pubs and restaurants) you don't want to waste your time shopping! Nor do you want to eat inside a restaurant when you could be sitting on a log of wood, roasting your own chicken.
Again, if you're glamping with kids, take lots of snacks and food; you don't want a hangry child ruining your trip!!!
Note: Check beforehand about the kitchen/ cooking amenities – some accommodations have a kitchenette while others will have a shared kitchen. Again, not the best option with children or small babies who constantly need to eat!
4. Remember the first-aid, medicines and insect-repellents
Your first-aid kit and medicine box should be the first thing you pack for a glamping trip. Remember, most glamping sites are out in the countryside, and not always near a pharmacy or a hospital. So take ALL the medicines you think your child might require. Take plenty of band-aids – your kids will be out in the wild, running through the bushes, playing on open terrain so expect scratches and cuts. These Elastoplast kids plasters printed with various cartoon characters are skin-friendly and easy to remove. And will cheer up a wounded child.
Insect repellent creams or sprays will keep the insects at bay, making for a less cranky child. The last thing you want on your glamping trip is a bug bite on your child's face!
I recently discovered Zap-it, a safe and clinically-tested way to ease the itch of a mosquito or insect bite. This pocket-sized wonder is available at selected pharmacies, garden centres and on Amazon, and works on the principle of generating a harmless and low electrical impulse to deliver harmless little 'zaps' which stops the itching and urge to scratch. (Note: it is not suitable for children under 4 years of age).
But if the inevitable happens, this bug-balm by Skin Shop helps soothe the skin and relieve irritation from bug bites. Containing extract of liquorice root, which is a natural anti-inflammatory, it immediately reduces swelling at the site.
5. And lastly, don't forget the entertainment!
Yes, I know glamping is all about the outdoors and learning to soak in Nature and peace and quiet – but let's get a bit real here and realise that kids do not know peace and quiet and there is only so much Nature they can enjoy. After a few hours (or if you're lucky, the next day) they will need some form of entertainment. It need not necessarily be electronics, a few board games or a pack of cards will allow for some fun family time as well.
Note: Don't forget to download games/ movies/ shows on your child's i-pad – you will not have an internet connection on most glamping sites.
So as long as you go with an open mind and all the essentials, glamping can be a lot of fun. It will be a new experience for the kids and a day or two spent amidst Nature is always refreshing!
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