Have you been glamping? You know, the fancy version of camping where you sleep in a large furnished tent that contains a private bathroom, plumbing and electricity? There is something so fabulous about the idea of glamping (which is a portmanteau of “glamorous and camping,” naturally). You’re outside, often in a foreign or secluded locale, and surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. Yet at the same time, you’re enjoying the comforts of home.
It’s not all champagne and caviar, though. Spend one night in a tent and you’ll well know there are wild animals out there! We’ve put together a few tips on how to survive your next glamping adventure, whether it be in the Maasai Mara or your own back yard.
You may already have that fabulous Hermes scarf on your packing list, but don’t forget to bring a flashlight, too! Once the sun goes down (and you’ve had your requisite sundowner by a camp fire), it can get dark out there – fast. Most safari camps and eco-lodges do a lovely job of lighting pathways with lanterns or candles, but it still helps to be able to light your own way.
Keep Your Lighting in Mind
In addition to that flashlight, keep in mind that if you’re lit, people can see you. If you’re standing in your lighted tent and it’s dark outside – everyone will be able to see everything you’re up to! It’s that simple shadow puppet phenomenon, but magnified. We’ve learned this the hard way when changing into our pajamas. Find a way to do it that keeps your privacy (or modesty) in mind!
Don’t Let the Critters In
Once when we were on safari in South Africa, we heard a horror story of another couple in the same camp who left their zippered door slightly open while they went out on a game drive. They came back late in the afternoon to find a family of baboons had wreaked havoc on their tent, throwing pillows and clothing all over the place like a Vegas hotel room party gone insane. The lesson here is clear and obvious: Make sure to zip your tent!
That Means on You, Too
Insects and small animals love warm spots to hide. Do yourself a favor and make it difficult for the bugs to get in your pants! Be sure to wear tall socks, and tuck your pant legs into each sock. It’s not a cute look, but you’ll be happy when there is nothing crawling up your ankle while you sleep!
Think Like a Small Animal
If you were a small animal – like a rodent or a snake, for example – that found its way into your tent, would you hang out on the king size bed and read the copy of Out of Africa you left lying around? Probably not. But it would crawl into the shoe you left on the ground or your suitcase that was unzipped and open in the middle of the floor. If you’re leaving your shoes in your tent, put them on a table or elevated surface and turn them upside down. Make it less inviting for something to take up residence in there. Before you put your shoes on, dump them outside just to be sure. This may be mildly paranoid, but isn’t that better than sharing your sneaker with a snake?
Beware of Moaning Lions
We’ve all heard the lion roar at the beginning of a classic MGM movie, but have you heard a male lion moan in the middle of the night trying to find a mate in the African savannah? The sound is akin to an awkward, pulsing yawn and it sounds like it’s coming from right outside your tent. This sound has kept us awake all night on more than one occasion. If only we had brought ear plugs! Ear plugs take up little room or weight in your suitcase. This should be a no-brainer.
It Gets Cold Out There
While it may be hot during the day, it can get surprisingly cold at night, especially in a desert safari situation like the Sahara in Morocco or the Kalahari in Botswana. Your hosts will most likely give you a warm water bottle to snuggle with in your cozy bed, but be sure to bring extra layers that you might otherwise not expect. Fleece pullovers, hats and scarves, long sleeve shirts and even long underwear may come in handy depending on your destination or season.
We’ve pulled these glamping survival tips together based on our travels, but they most certainly apply to backyard glamping too. Set up a tent out back and outfit it with a real bed, table and chairs for an impromptu outdoor adventure the whole family will love. Bring a few decorative touches from home to complete the look.
Have you gone on safari or stayed at a glamping camp? We’d love to hear about it!
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