So you’re considering going glamping. This means two things: You’re a semi-adventurous traveler who enjoys discovering alternative accommodations, and you still want some of the comforts you’d find at a hotel or vacation rental.
Below are eight important questions to ask before you book your trip, along with practical glamping tips to help you be prepared, manage expectations, save money, and, most importantly, avoid an unexpected bathroom situation.
1. What’s the Bathroom Situation?
This can vary immensely based on the campsite or type of glamping experience. If your glamping vacation is on a campground with RVs and tents, be prepared for a shared bathroom. Read reviews on Glamping Hub or the campsite’s website to determine the quality and cleanliness. Some glamping-only campgrounds have private toilets or outhouses in or outside your tent, but shared showers; others have entirely private bathrooms. Or, you might only have a sink in your space. No matter what the situation, you’re not getting a hotel-level bathroom with indoor plumbing—but it’s all part of the experience.
On a recent glamping trip of my own at a campsite, I had a shared bathroom that was newly renovated. Toiletries, towels, and electricity were available in my carriage house, which was great to know ahead of time because I knew I could bring a hair dryer, and didn’t waste space on packing things like towels and shampoo. I also brought shower shoes, which is the one glamping tip I tell everybody. It would have been nice to have an area to brush my teeth where I was sleeping, but the shared bathroom had conveniently located private showers and toilets.
2. What Safety/Security Measures Are in Place?
Find out ahead of time how your glamping structure is locked or secured, if the campsite itself is enclosed, or if there is monitored security. If you’re worried about potential theft, leave valuables and electronics at home.
This also includes familiarizing yourself with fire safety ahead of time if you’re planning on using a fire pit.
3. Is There Electricity, Wi-Fi, and/or Cell Service?
If you’re expecting these comforts, ask. Many remote locations won’t have a mobile signal, so if you need to connect, verify whether there’s on-site Wi-Fi or nearby areas with cell phone coverage.
Along with electricity, ask if there is air-conditioning and/or heating, depending on the time of year you’re traveling.
4. What Should I Bring, What’s Already There?
You might be surprised at the amenities provided for glamping sites. As I mentioned, I had towels, a flashlight, trash bags, blankets, and toiletries, and I could even purchase things like firewood and alcohol on-site. Research what’s offered for your trip and ask if there’s a general store nearby to purchase items that you might not want (or forgot) to pack. Some things that I forgot to pack that I wish I had on my glamping trip included a lighter, portable speaker, hand sanitizer, Wi-Fi hotspot, and reusable bags.
Read SmarterTravel’s essential camping packing list for an idea of what you might want for a glamping trip, as this differs from what you would pack for a standard hotel stay.
5. Is There Housekeeping?
If you’re expecting your bed made and trash taken out for you each night, then ask if these amenities are offered. During my glamping experience, housekeeping tidied my room every two to three nights and collected trash every morning. This was an added bonus to our multi-day stay, but this glamping amenity definitely varies.
6. Are Pets or Other Animals Allowed?
If you’re looking to bring a pet with you to your glamping experience, make sure animals are allowed and there’s an area for them to relieve themselves. If you’re not an animal person, find out whether you can expect to see other people’s pets at the site, and if there’s on- or off-leash policy.
7. Is There a Reception Area?
If you’re looking for recommendations or a contact at your glamping site, check if there’s a front desk or concierge, and verify the check-in process and time. This is especially important if you are arriving at an odd hour, need assistance, or have any special requests.
8. What Are the Tent/Structure Materials?
Find out whether you’ll be sleeping in a canvas tent, a treehouse, or a sturdy wood cabin. Glamping is a broad term that covers a variety of accommodations, and you have no control over Mother Nature. Ask what you’ll be sleeping under and if you’ll be on a raised platform in case of inclement weather—and then pack accordingly.