As certain COVID-19 pandemic restrictions surrounding travel ease up a bit, many people are ready to get back out on the open road, especially since international travel is still off the table for most folks. Of course, everyone has the itch to travel after a year of sheltering-in-pace, which has led to some issues, from canceled flights and overbooked hotels to Airbnbs being listed with astronomical rental fees.
Want to avoid all of the trouble? Well, we’ll give you the scoop on what’s going on with Airbnb — and, if you’re interested in traveling to some stateside gems, we’ve got a few Airbnb alternatives for you. Namely? “Glamping.” A few years ago this trend, which combines “camping” with “glamor,” was all the rage.
Now, glamping is coming back in vogue with new glampsites cropping up all over the country. These outdoorsy stays set themselves apart from places you’d normally just pitch a tent thanks to their hotel-level amenities. Sound enticing? We’ll give you all the glamping tips and tricks you need when it comes to trying out this Airbnb alternative this summer.
Airbnb’s Fee Fiasco
Airbnb has been transforming the travel landscape since 2008 by offering property owners a chance to lease out their lodgings to tourists. From apartments and houses to RVs and treehouses, Airbnb offers a variety of options that have attracted travelers from all over the globe. One of the perks of such a setup is that renting through Airbnb often offers a better deal than reserving a standard hotel room — or does it?
Airbnb recently found itself under fire on social media after a series of customers were less-than-pleased with hidden fees. Some users even posted breakdowns of their bills, revealing that fees more than doubled the price of their recent bookings.
Airbnb responded by explaining that the company’s fees usually run around 14%, and that rates and other fees are set by hosts. The company also added that some of the complaints could stem from issues caused by local governments, which have begun charging their own taxes, similar to those you’d find in the hotel business. There’s no doubt that the recent surge in demand for travel probably hasn’t helped the issue either.
Even if you escape high prices, you may find yourself grappling with a lack of options due to overbooking. Either way, what should you do if you find yourself unable to find a great Airbnb rental this summer? It may be time to check out the world of glamping, a fun alternative to traditional hotels or Airbnbs.
Get Your Glamp On
According to recent studies, the glamping industry has experienced a nearly 300% surge since March 2020. After all, what could be better (and more COVID-safe) than enjoying the great outdoors without having to “rough it”? Now it’s possible to stay in everything from a tent to a rustic cabin and still enjoy a comfortable bed, working bathroom, and electricity.
Best of all, glamping has become so popular that there are now a large array of sites all across the country. There are also a variety of booking sites that can help you check out options near you, no matter where you’re located. Some of the best sites include:
- HipCamp: This service has been referred to as the “Airbnb of camping,” namely because it offers property owners the chance to rent out campsites online or through its mobile app. The other cool thing about HipCamp? It’s not just limited to glamping sites.
- Glamping.com: When it comes to the mother-load of glamping sites, Glamping.com may claim the title. Not only can you find amazing glamping sites throughout the United States, but you can even find international glamping opportunities as well. Whether you’re looking to glamp in on another continent or within your own state, Glamping.com has you covered.
- Glamping Hub: This is another third-party booking site that’s definitely worth checking out. Just type in your desired destination and you’ll be able to browse through a collection of yurts, tents, treehouses, and more.
Whether you’re working with a modest budget or are looking to pull out all the stops, all three of these sites can help you find something in your price range.
A Few Prime Glamping Locations
One of the hardest things about finding the perfect glamping site is siphoning through the large array of options you’ll find online. So, we thought we’d help you get started with a collection of top-rated glamping sites from all across the U.S. Some of our favorites include the following:
- West Coast | El Capitan Canyon — Santa Barbara, CA: Choose from cabins, yurts, or glamping tents as you enjoy the beauty of both the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez mountains. Not only does El Capitan offer top-notch accommodations, but also plenty of activities, including a spa, a general store offering DIY BBQ kits, and a summer campfire concert series.
- East Coast | Firelight Camps — Ithaca, NY: Escape to the beauty of nature with the comforts of luxuriously furnished tents at Firelight Camps. You’ll enjoy a plush bed, a private porch with rocking chairs, and a complimentary locally sourced continental breakfast. Check out the bar, game library, or local trails on these beautiful, dog-friendly glamping grounds.
- South | Little Arrow Outdoor Resort — Townsend, Tennessee: Take in the beauty of the Smoky Mountain foothills in your luxuriously outfitted cabin, tent, tiny home, or RV site. Lounge by the pool, unwind by the river or check out one of the resort’s seasonal happenings such as ax throwing, live music, and corn hole tournaments.
- Midwest | The Wilds — Cumberland, Ohio: Run by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, this adults-only glamping site is like a mini-safari right in the middle of Ohio. You’ll enjoy a fully-stocked yurt perched next to grazing pastures full of rhinos, zebras, and other animals.
- Mountain Region | Glacier National Park Under Canvas — Coram, MT: Find out first hand why Montana is known as “big sky country” with a trip to this unique campsite located just 7 miles from the entrance to Glacier National Park. Choose from a treehouse canvas tent or a suite with luxurious king-sized beds and wood-burning stoves. From organic bath products to s’mores and complimentary group activities, this glamping site is where luxury meets the great outdoors.
- Southwest | Conestoga Ranch — Garden City, Utah: Conestoga Ranch definitely wins the prize for glamping at its most unique. While you can choose from a number of luxurious tents, you also have the option of staying in a fully decked-out covered wagon. The ranch covers an impressive 18 acres that are situated right along the shores of Bear Lake. Moreover, the ranch offers plenty of activities, including yoga, a massage tent, a restaurant, a general store, a game tent, and more.