History of glamping : New travel trend | Glampsource

History of glamping

From camping to glamping: History and evolution

It takes a village...

Most of us have heard of this new travel trend, but what is the history of glamping? It's the ultimate outdoor experience, a happy marriage between luxury and nature, the evolution of camping into a much more comfortable and glamorous version. This means that instead of a night on the ground in a sleeping bag, you can opt for unique accommodation, such as a yurt, a tree house or a luxury tent.

Glamping is the combination of the words "glamour" and "camping", and although the term has only been around since 2005, it dates back over a thousand years.


The earliest evidence of human activity in the Americas are stone tools from 11,500 B.C., which belong to the Clovis culture of the Paleo-Indians. Later, around 10,000 B.C., the first evidence of habitation in teepees was discovered.

"Archaeologists have found indications that dwellings made of a series of wooden poles existed long ago through carbon dating of soil samples taken from what appear to be the remains of ancient campsites or villages," according to Teepee Joy.

There is further archaeological evidence of the history of glamping dating back to 7,500 BC in the form of stone rings, as the stones were used to hold up the exterior of the tipi.

Although often attributed to all Native Americans, tipis are in fact unique to the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies in North America, as noted in the National Museum of the American Indian's book, "Do All Indians Live in Tipis?

The teepee structure was practical for easy dismantling, especially for tracking game, and very compatible with a nomadic lifestyle.

History of glamping in the 13th century

Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, ruled from a sizable ger, but because the empire was so geographically extensive, it is said that his ger was never completely broken down, but was simply put on a wheeled cart and pulled by oxen from place to place.

The expansion of the Mongol empire led to the popularity of the yurt to spread with it, and so people in Eastern Europe, in countries such as Turkey, Hungary and Romania, began to use yurts, too. According to National Geographic, "Yurts remained very common in Turkey well into the 1960s and 1970s, and are still found in rural areas of Hungary."

16th and 17th centuries: Scotland

In Scotland, John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Atholl, set up what could be called the UK's first luxury campsite for King James V and his mother in the Scottish Highlands, filling the interior of the tents with luxurious furniture and ornaments from his own palace.

From June 7 to 24, 1520, a diplomatic summit called the Field of the Cloth of Gold was held in Balinghem, France - a tournament designed to help forge a friendship between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France after the Anglo-French treaty of 1514. About 2,800 tents and marquees were set up, surrounded by fountains spouting red wine.


Turkish Ottomans were also known to put up lavish tents for various types of events, including "military campaigns, ceremonies and celebrations, and excursions to the countryside by sultans and their subjects," according to TurkishCulture.org.

During campaigns, the imperial tents for the sultan were particularly lavish and essentially mobile palaces. There were two of them, so that when the sultan was in one of them, they could pitch the other one in its next destination so that it would be ready for the sultan's arrival. The French archaeologist Antoine Galland even wrote, at the end of the 17th century, that the sultan's tents were so large that they were carried by six hundred camels.

XXth century

In the early 20th century, African safaris became the adventure of choice for wealthy American and British travelers. Often, these trips were made for high society to try their hand at shooting game, primarily the "Big 5" - lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and Cape buffalo.

Despite their desire to get dirty and go hunting, these travelers were not willing to sacrifice the comforts of home for the pleasure of the hunt. So the safari tents they stayed in were well-equipped with the luxuries they were accustomed to, including everything from "electric generators, folding tubs and cases of champagne," according to Bartle Bull's "Safari: A Chronicle of Adventure."

21st century

The British Glamping Association attributes the rise of glamping in the late 1990s to the international financial crisis, which hampered foreign travel and triggered the start of the staycation trend.

Also, in 1997, the right to tow a caravan was removed from the UK driving licence and people had to start looking for a new type of holiday, but at an affordable price. With little camping experience and a lot of hotel experience, people incidentally invented a new way to travel.

In 2007, according to Google Trends, people began searching for the word "glamping," with most of those searches coming from Ireland and the UK. In 2010, the word "glamping" began to gain momentum; in 2013, it saw a surge in popularity in the UK; in 2014, it began to make a name for itself in the US; and in 2015, "glamping" was officially added to the dictionary of the prestigious Oxford University.

Today, the word "glamping" is more popular than ever and on a global scale. In Quebec, using the term Glamping instead of "prêt-à-camper" helps justify a higher price for businesses.

There are now major glamping markets around the world, including the United States (the largest being in California, Texas, New York, Colorado and Washington), Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to the aforementioned UK.

Although there is still plenty of room to grow in all areas, the presence of glamping sites is recognized, although not yet at the same level, in Europe, Asia, other parts of North America (Mexico), Central and South America.

The spike in popularity in the United States is further enhanced by the launch of the American Glamping Association in April 2018 and the creation in Canada of Glampsource in November 2018 in Montreal.