Glamping: A Brief History and Its Evolution

Glamping, a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping,” has become an increasingly popular way for travelers to enjoy the great outdoors while still experiencing the comforts and luxuries of modern life. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing history and evolution of glamping, exploring how this phenomenon has transformed over time.

Origins of Glamping

The word “glamping” first appeared in the UK in 2005, and in 2016 it became part of the Oxford English Dictionary. However, glamping is not a recent invention. It has roots that can be traced back to earlier times. While “camping” and “roughing it” have traditionally gone hand in hand, there have always been individuals who sought a more luxurious outdoor experience.

In June of 1520 a summit meeting between the kings of England and France occurred. Each monarch tried to outdo the other in displays of extravagance, music, feasting, and games. The number of tents erected with cloth of gold (a luxurious fabric made of gold thread and silk) gave rise to the name of the meeting, the “Field of the Cloth of Gold.” A temporary palace was built, the only solid part being the brick base. The rest of it was put together with cloth and canvas supported by timber, then was painted to look like a more solid material. Its furnishings included golden decorations. Outside were two fountains that ran with red wine.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, wealthy adventurers and explorers would embark on African safaris that often involved elaborate camping setups. These well-heeled travelers, such as Mary Kingsley and Frederick Courteney Selous, would bring along an array of luxurious amenities, including plush bedding, fine china, and even personal chefs. Their expeditions showcased the epitome of glamping, combining the thrill of exploration with the comforts of high society.

Historical figures such as European royalty, explorers, and even military leaders indulged in glamping-like experiences. Queen Victoria herself enjoyed camping trips that included luxurious comforts. This trend continued to gain popularity, especially among the elite and influential individuals of the time. Their desire for a glamorous camping experience paved the way for the evolution of glamping as we know it today.

Glamping in the Modern Era

Glamping as we know it today began to gain significant traction in the late 20th century. As the world became more interconnected and the travel industry boomed, people sought new and exciting ways to experience nature without sacrificing comfort. This desire led to the emergence of glamping as a popular trend.

The modern era of glamping is characterized by the integration of modern amenities and conveniences into camping experiences. Many are no longer willing to sleep uncomfortably in basic tents. Glamping accommodations now include luxurious beds, on site bathrooms, electricity, and even Wi-Fi connectivity.

The allure of glamping lies in its ability to provide a unique blend of adventure and relaxation. It allows travelers to immerse themselves in nature while still enjoying the comforts of a high-end hotel. Whether it’s staying in a safari tent in the heart of the African savannah or a treehouse nestled in a lush forest, glamping offers a one-of-a-kind experience.

Evolution of Glamping Accommodations

As glamping gained popularity, entrepreneurs and designers began to push the boundaries of what glamping could be. Unique and innovative structures started to appear in various locations around the world, offering travelers a range of unforgettable experiences.

Today, glamping accommodations come in all shapes and sizes. From yurts and geodesic domes to Airstream trailers and luxury treehouses, there is a glamping option to suit every taste and preference. These accommodations often feature stylish and thoughtfully designed interiors, blending seamlessly with their natural surroundings.

Another crucial aspect of glamping’s evolution is its focus on sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Many glamping site owners minimize their environmental impact by utilizing renewable energy sources, implementing waste management systems, and employing sustainable building techniques. This commitment to sustainability ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Glamping Around the World

Glamping has become a global phenomenon, with destinations around the world offering unique and unforgettable experiences. Each region adds its own cultural influences to the concept of glamping, resulting in diverse and captivating offerings.

In North America, glampers can choose from a wide range of options. From luxurious tents in national parks to upscale RV parks with top-notch amenities, there is no shortage of glamping opportunities. The United States, in particular, boasts a vast array of glamping destinations, from the rugged landscapes of the Rocky Mountains to the serene coastlines of California.

In Europe, glamping has also taken off, with countries like the United Kingdom, France, and Spain leading the way. Visitors can find glamping sites in picturesque locations such as rolling countryside, scenic coastal areas, and even vineyards. European glamping experiences often incorporate local traditions and cultural elements, providing a unique way to immerse oneself in the region’s heritage.

Asia has also embraced glamping, with countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan offering stunning glamping sites. From beachfront luxury tents to secluded mountain retreats, Asia’s glamping scene caters to a wide range of preferences. These experiences often highlight the natural beauty and tranquility of the region, allowing travelers to reconnect with nature in a truly remarkable way.

Glamping’s Impact on Tourism

Glamping has had a significant impact on the tourism industry, both locally and globally. It has revitalized traditional camping areas, attracting a new demographic of travelers who may not have otherwise considered camping. This has led to increased tourism revenues for many destinations and has helped support local economies.

Furthermore, glamping has expanded the appeal of outdoor experiences beyond the traditional camping enthusiasts. Families, couples, and even corporate groups are now embracing glamping as a way to enjoy quality time together in nature while still enjoying the comforts of home. The versatility of glamping accommodations and experiences has broadened the scope of outdoor tourism, attracting a more diverse range of travelers.

The Future of Glamping

As glamping continues to evolve, there are several anticipated trends and advancements on the horizon. One key area of focus is sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives. Glamping operators are increasingly implementing green practices, such as solar power, composting toilets, and eco-conscious construction materials. This commitment to sustainability ensures that glamping can continue to thrive while preserving the natural environment.

Additionally, glamping experiences are becoming more immersive and interactive. Some sites offer curated activities and workshops, allowing guests to learn new skills or engage in unique cultural experiences. These personalized touches enhance the overall glamping experience, providing guests with lasting memories and a deeper connection to the destination.


In conclusion, the history and evolution of glamping have transformed the way we experience the outdoors. From its origins as a luxury camping trend among the elite to its current status as a global phenomenon, glamping has captured the imagination of travelers worldwide. Through the integration of modern amenities, unique accommodations, and a focus on sustainability, glamping offers a truly remarkable way to enjoy nature without sacrificing comfort. So, whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, consider embarking on a glamping adventure and indulge in luxury while enjoying nature.

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Sterling Thornwood

I love the outdoors but not always roughing it; I like to have my luxuries and my anonymity. :-) I enjoy sharing the knowledge I've (l)earned about the various facets of glamping.

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