What’s the Difference Between Glamping and RV Camping?

Dec 1, 2021 | Travel & Destinations

What’s the Difference Between Glamping and RV Camping?

Glamping and RV camping are two versions of luxury camping—but how do they differ, and how can you glamp up your campground experience?

By Jessica Meinhofer

You’ve been camping and you’ve heard of glamping, but what do these terms actually mean and how are they different?

Generally speaking, RV camping is sleeping in a motorhome, travel trailer, pop-up, or truck camper at a campground, while glamping is an elevated tent camping experience, also at a campground or sometimes at a glamping-only property. The word glamping is short for “glamorous camping,” and it’s an experience with a lot less dirt and a lot more luxury than traditional tent camping.

Related The Ultimate Guide to Glamping

Camping vs. Glamping

Wait, Where Am I Sleeping?

If you’re RV camping, you get to sleep in a bed with your own pillows and bedding. You bring a certain level of luxury with you. Camping in a pop-up is typically not as glamorous as camping in a plush motorhome. You get to park your RV and then set up camp.

When glamping, you sleep in a unique shelter, like a yurt, cabin, teepee, treehouse, covered wagon, dome, or safari-style tent suite that typically has hardwood floors, electricity, A/C, and heat. We’ve even seen glamping in a human-sized bird’s nest. A bed with fresh linens and pillows usually greets you upon arrival. And while there are varying levels of amenities, there’s usually no setup required.

Luxurious bedroom set up inside a tent for glamping.
Covered wagon set up by a campfire.

Natural Beauty or Nosy Neighbors?

Glamping locations vary widely and can include everything from wineries, resorts, and wellness retreats to remote forests and even more traditional campgrounds. While glamping options have yet to come to campgrounds inside national parks, there are locations near the entrance of popular parks that offer a luxe getaway. Regardless of where you find yourself, the idea is exclusivity, privacy, and tranquility.

Tent at a glamping campsite overlooking the ocean.

You can also RV camp at wineries, resorts, farms, wellness retreats, and remote forests. However, most RV camping takes place in national, state, county, and city campgrounds or RV parks. Some RVers also choose to camp for free without amenities on Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service land. Not all campsites come with amazing views. Sometimes your view is your neighbor’s camper. 

Budget Friendly or Budget Busting?

Both camping and glamping can be hard on the budget, but you can find campsites for free or less than $30 per night. When it comes to RV camping, pricing often reflects the number and quality of amenities, location, size of campsites, and pavement type. A basic campground with grassy campsites will cost less than an RV resort with deluxe amenities and fully paved sites. 

Glamping nightly rates can range from around $50 up to $3,000 or more. Like with camping, glamping prices vary depending on the level of accommodations. A multi-room luxury tent with king-sized beds, wood floors, electricity, and a private bathroom is more expensive than a single-room canvas tent with an air mattress, simple seating, electricity, and a shared bathhouse.

Teepee-styled tent set up at a campsite.
Bedroom with wood floors inside a glamping tent.

Who’s Cooking?

Many glamping spots will have restaurants or other dining options onsite, allowing you to avoid prep work and stocking up on meals. Traditional campgrounds likely won’t have these options and you’re responsible for cooking, serving, and cleaning up your own meals. This means stocking up on food and supplies ahead of time and bringing along any necessary appliances.

Not all glamping locations come with meal options or have restaurants on site, but it’s more common than when staying at an RV park or traditional campground. While camping, it’s more likely that you’ll join a cookout or potluck, or, if you’re lucky, there will be an onsite restaurant or food truck.  

Yoga or Board Games?

Glamping is typically heavy on resort-worthy amenities, including spa treatments, instructor-led yoga, horseback riding, and wine tastings, all while sleeping in remote and pristine natural locations.

While camping, you can expect to have anywhere from zero amenities to pools, spas, hot tubs, private campsites, and outdoor kitchens. 

How to DIY Glamp

If you aren’t interested in parking the RV to experience a week in a yurt, don’t worry—you can create a glamp-worthy experience in your RV. 

Inside

Even if you have an older RV with dated decor, you can spruce it up. Take those boring walls and add some paint or apply peel-and-stick wallpaper. Change out those standard RV blinds and replace them with bright and lightweight curtains or window treatments. Add luxurious fabrics, pillows, throws, and rugs. Stock the kitchen with high-end small appliances and supplies. Change out your sink faucets and add a rain shower head

Related 5 Quick and Easy RV Mods That Will Make You Look Like a Pro

Cozy, stylish interior of a small RV.

Outside

Decorate your outdoor area with items that are both comfortable and stylish. Get a soft outdoor rug and add comfortable seating with pillows and throws. Frame your campsite with outdoor lighting, lanterns, and sheer curtains that hang from your awning. Decorate the picnic table with a cloth tablecloth, candles, placemats, and fabric napkins. Finish off the space with potted plants and outdoor poufs.

Related How to Grow and Care for Plants in Your RV

Book the Ultimate Camp

Instead of roughing it, choose a location that fits your idea of luxury and comfort. Look for a campground with an infinity pool, sauna, or spa. If you plan on staying at your campsite, select a location with private, spacious, and lush sites with brick pavers, outdoor kitchens, and fireplaces. For mealtime, splurge on food delivery to the campground.

CampingGlampingRV CampingRV Travel

Jessica Meinhofer

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Florida, Jessica traveled the U.S. with her husband and two kids in their 26-foot travel trailer for more than 5 years. Cancer reared its ugly head and forced them off the road, but she's determined to continue traveling, camping, and hiking, even if it looks a little different than it did before. Jessica also owns Exploring the Local Life, an RV blog and YouTube channel encouraging others to get outside and hit the road.

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