Many young families are stepping into the world of glamping for the first time this year. With glamping sites offering self-contained accommodation, glamping is a great option for an at-home holiday. New glamping sites are popping up all over the UK offering everything from affordable bell tents to treehouses for big kids and hobbit huts for magical escapes. You’ll find large safari tents that are great for big families, clear domes which are ideal for star gazers and bird watchers. You can even hire buses, gypsy caravans, boats, teepees, yurts and pods.
As you can imagine, glamping experiences are magical for children. It’s so exciting to spend a weekend staying in a double decker bus tucked away in a secret forest! And what’s more, it’s just as amazing for us parents because you have all the facilities you need for a comfortable and relaxing escape. You’ll have cosy beds, hot water, cooking facilities, private bathrooms and just enough outdoor space to let the kids run wild without worrying where they are! You’ll also have the ability to drink cold wine and hot coffee. What more could you need!?
Glamping is my favourite type of holiday with my kids. I love to be close to nature and enjoy that relaxing, simple way of life and all those little outdoor experiences we forget we love so much. It’s the simple joy of skimming stones across a lake, toasting marshmallows on a fire, building dens in the woods, picking wild flowers, barbecuing sausages and reading by candle light. It’s about disconnecting from the outside world and enjoying these simple pleasures.
Most glamping sites have electricity, charging points and Wi-Fi, but you’d be forgiven for telling your friends and family there won’t be and you’ll be uncontactable for your whole trip!
I could talk about my love for glamping all day but let’s get to the nitty gritty and I’ll share my top packing tips for a glamping holiday.
What to pack for a family glamping trip
Before you start packing it’s worth confirming what facilities will be waiting for you. Some glamping sites really put the glamour in camping and you could have everything from a hot tub and sauna to fluffy robes, four-poster beds, central heating and a fully stocked fridge. Other sites have a simpler approach and you’ll need to bring everything with you. In my experience, most glamping sites will email you with a detailed list of what you’ll need but it’s worth confirming:
- Will bedding and towels be included?
- Will there be electricity?
- Will there be a fridge?
- Do they have baby accessories available such as a cot, highchair, bath or plastic bowls and cups?
- Will tea and coffee be included?
- Will the toilets be nearby?
- Is there lighting?
- Can your accommodation be heated at night?
- Will you be able to park near your accommodation?
You will of course need lots of warm, waterproof clothing and food that can be easily prepared in a small space (often with a gas camping stove) but here are some other packing tips and ideas to make your glamping holiday as easy and comfortable as possible.
Luggage - Use a backpack
When you’re packing your bags for your glamping trip, I highly recommend using a backpack. On many sites you won’t be able to park near your accommodation, so you’ll need to carry your luggage across a field. Wheelbarrows are often provided to make it easier to lug your belongings across the field, but a backpack will often be easier.
Monica’s top tip: You’ll often find the toilet and shower block are close to the car park. If this is the case I recommend leaving your clothing, towels and wash bag in the car and grabbing what you need when you take a shower. Your accommodation will probably be very small and if you’re glamping with kids then you’ll often have small camp beds set up in the extra space, so leave whatever you can in the car!
Take a large, chargeable cool box
Not all glamping sites will have a fridge, so I recommend taking a cool box with lots of ice packs inside. This will often be enough to keep your food chilled all weekend and you can top it up with ice cubes if you’d like an icy cold beer! If possible, look for a cool box you can recharge via USB in your car.
Pack a potty for the kids
Many glamping sites won’t have a private toilet, or it will be a little walk from your accommodation, so take a potty for the kids so they don’t need to go tramping across a field in the middle of the night.
“Glamping is my favourite type of holiday with my kids. I love to be close to nature and enjoy that relaxing, simple way of life and all those little outdoor experiences we forget we love so much.”
Don’t forget your wellies, flip flops and slippers
You’ll need wellies for early morning walks across dewy grass, flip flops for communal showers and slippers to keep little toes warm at night.
Something cosy and comfortable for night time
It can get very cold at night when you’re glamping so it’s worth taking something really warm and cosy to sleep in. Fleece onesies are great for kids and it might be worth swapping your PJs for joggers and a jumper.
A playmat for babies
You may find it difficult to find a space to put your baby down while you’re glamping, so I recommend taking a playmat or a picnic blanket. You’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors so it might be worth taking a large umbrella too.
While glamping you’ll often be lighting fires, candles, log burners and gas cookers so it’s worth taking a reliable lighter or extra-long matches with you. I like the extra-long lighters which make it easier to light a fire or reach the bottom of a candle!
A torch or rechargeable night light
A torch is absolutely essential while glamping. Even if you have electricity, you’re likely to be in the forest or a field and bad weather could lead to a loss of power. We usually take a large camping torch that can also be hung up like a lantern. The kids also have dimmable, rechargeable night lights which are great for nervous sleepers.
Insulated coffee cups and water bottles
Don’t forget your insulated cups for those teas and coffees. Mugs are usually provided but it’s nice to have an insulated cup for those chilly mornings. It’s also worth taking large water bottles because the drinking water tap may be a short walk away.
A rechargeable USB battery + USB bank
A rechargeable battery will be handy for phones and torches if you don’t have plugs inside your accommodation. Many batteries will last all weekend or can be recharged in communal kitchens or while you’re driving. If you’ll have a lot of devices to charge I’d recommend a USB charging hub that will allow you to charge multiple devices via USB with just one socket.
A picnic cool bag backpack
A cool bag backpack is great for picnics which is something most families will have a lot of while they’re glamping! Even if you end up eating lunch back at your glamping accommodation, I like to prepare a picnic in the morning so I know everyone can be quickly fed - something that can be a little tricky when you don’t have a kitchen!
Don’t forget your dog
Many glamping sites welcome dogs so if you’re bringing your four-legged friend be sure to bring their bed, a towel and their bowls. Dogs will sometimes need to be kept on a lead within the site (especially if it’s a farm) so we also take a long lead and a tent peg to hold the lead in the ground.
My final tip
My final tip is to pack a good book, a sense of adventure and something to encourage your kids to explore independently. Glamping is a great opportunity to give children some independence in a safe environment, but they often need a bit of encouragement to get out there and enjoy nature! My eldest son likes to take photos, so he has my old camera to capture the birds and flowers. My middle son loves bugs so he’s happy with a little net and a magnifying glass. My daughter is only 18 months but she loves to collect daisies and dandelions so that keeps her busy!