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9 Easy Tips for Glamping on a Budget

Tonya Prater, Owner

Have you thought about glamping but don’t think you can afford it? Our tips will show you how glamping on a budget is possible.

I’ve always loved to camp but I’ve never enjoyed roughing it. Even when my husband and I were die-hard tent campers, I was always on the hunt for items that would make our camping experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

After watching me tear down and pack up a queen-size camp bed complete with goose down pillows and a white goose down comforter my aunt exclaimed that I was not a true camper.

Maybe not, but one thing I have always been is a glamper at heart.

As someone who has taken interior design courses and loves to decorate it seems that glamping just comes naturally. 

But I’m also thrifty. 

I’ve been known to scour thrift stores for weeks looking for the perfect glamping accessories. 

One thing is certain. 

Camping may not come naturally to me but glamping on a budget is one area I excel.

How to Glamp on a Budget or How to Make Camping More Luxurious.

Adorable glamping spots are popping up across the country but some of those come with a pretty hefty price tag.

I’m going to show you how you can pull together your own inexpensive glamping site that you can use over and over again and not pay an arm and a leg for one experience.    

A glamping set-up in a yurt

Pick a Campsite Close to Home or Better Yet, Glamp at Home if you have the Room.

The further you travel from home, the more your glamping experience will cost in terms of money and time.

Consider setting up your glamping tent in your backyard or a nearby local, state, or national campground.   

Dress Up Traditional Camp Food.

Camp food doesn’t need to be difficult. 

Throw some canned croissants in a pie iron with pizza sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese for a classic campfire pizza sandwich for a family glamping experience.

Or throw together a simple charcuterie board and serve it with wine for a romantic couples evening.  

Creating a beautiful charcuterie board may sound intimidating but it doesn’t need to be. All you need is a cute board and your favorite cured meats, cheeses and crackers. 

Of course you can really make it fancy and add nuts, fruit and spreads but when I’m glamping I try to keep it easy peasy.

Campfires, glow sticks, friends and family make backyard glamping special.

Make a Vision Board and Here’s Why.    

I know this sounds really weird. But hear me out.

Your vision board will help a theme emerge and help you stay focused when it comes to shopping for your items. 

This is really helpful if you’re trying to find all your items while shopping at your favorite thrift stores where you can’t return items if you get home and decide it’s really not what you’re looking for.

Creating a Glamping Vision Board can be as easy as creating a Pinterest board, saving images you see on Instagram, or rifling through magazines and catalogs that you may own and cutting and pasting into a notebook or sheet of cardboard.

Be creative and pick items that appeal to you and make you feel calm and relaxed.

What should you add to your vision board?

Think about your tent, bedding, lighting, the setting, and food for starters. Once you get started you’ll have plenty of ideas.    

Make a list of what you’ll need.

Once you have an idea of what you want your glamping site to look like, it’s time to make a list of what you need.

Your list should have the basics like a tent, air mattress, camp chairs, etc. as well as your wish list of items that you WANT to have that will set the experience apart from a normal camping experience and elevate it to a true glamping experience.

Your list may look something like this:

  • 2 large throw pillows (white, tan or gray, Boho style)
  • 2 smaller throw pillows (pale yellow)
  • bedding- sheets, blanket, comforter, pillows
  • charcuterie boards or trays
  • mugs
  • throw blankets
  • baskets
  • lanterns
  • fairly lights

Beg, Borrow or Use What You Own.    

Now that you have a list of what you want, you may realize that you already have items around your home that will work for glamping. 

Look for the items on your list.

Keep in mind that they may not be exactly what you have in mind, but some items can be repurposed which brings us to the next point on our list. 

Repurpose Items that You No Longer Want or Need.    

I’ve been known to make light fixtures or chandeliers from items I already own.

 Empty wine bottles can become candle holders, empty glass spaghetti or mayonnaise jars look cute with fairy lights, etc. 

Spray paint is amazing for repurposing or transforming an okay item into something fantastic that will fit your theme.

Spray paint bottles or old lawn chairs to make them look like new. 

I recently covered an ugly blue storage cube with white faux fur to make an adorable footstool and added seating space for van camping.

The bonus is that I can store items inside the cube that I need but don’t necessarily want visible. 

Assorted chocolates, graham crackers and marshmallows make a pretty tasty S'mores bar.

Head to Your Favorite Thrift Store.    

After you’ve scoured your home, it’s almost time to shop. But first, think about who you know.

Do your friends have any of the items on your list that you can borrow?

A lot of people buy tents and decide that camping isn’t for them.

Or, their camping needs change as they’re family grows, or in my case, as the kids leave home.

You never know who may have a tent hanging out in the garage just begging to be used.

If you’ve exhausted those avenues, it’s time to shop. This is really my favorite step anyways.

I find the best deals at thrift stores!

When my oldest son and daughter-in-law were married, I hosted the rehearsal dinner. I found nearly every single decoration at the thrift store from pillows to throws to an outdoor chandelier! 

You’ll be surprised by what you can find. The trick is not to expect to find everything on the first trip. You have to have a bit of patience when thrifting.

When I’m seeking something in particular, I’ll stop in to my local thrift store a couple times a week. And pay attention to sale days or colored tags that may go on sale.

Time to Buy Anything Else You Need to Complete the Glamping Experience.

Finally, when you’ve rummaged through your house, creatively repurposed what you can and scoured the thrift stores, rummage sales, and Facebook Marketplace, it may be time to purchase a couple of new items.  

My favorite places to purchase new items at inexpensive prices is the Dollar Tree (great for Fairy Lights), Oriental Trading, Amazon and even Aldi.

You’ll find great options for lighting, lanterns, and other items that will be great for decorating your glamping tent or setting up a S’Mores bar. 

End of season sales are a great time to pick up inexpensive items. I normally pick up a few items and set them back for the next glamping season.

A yurt tent set up at night.

Plan Your Entertainment while Glamping.

For some people, just being outdoors is enough. You can listen to the sounds of nature, hike by day and stargaze by night. Create scavenger hunts if you’re glamping with kids.

But for others, you’ll need something else to pass the time.

Listen to music, read a book, play outdoor games, play a board game or cards, drink around the fire and tell ghost stories or tales from your childhood.

Or if you really want that full glamping experience, consider watching movies from a big screen. You can pick up an inexpensive projector and screen and settle in for a showing or Harry and the Hendersons or RV with Robin Williams.

The plan is to enjoy the experience and create some memories without spending a fortune. 

Have you considered glamping before? What would your ideal glamping experience look like? 

 If you’re interested in glamping, check out these posts too. 

Glamping at Home in this Southwest Style Teepee

Backyard Glamping with this DIY glamping tent.

Glamping in Ohio at The Mohicans Treehouse Village for those who want to experience nature but don’t want to arrange everything themselves.

Glamping is a fun way to make family memories. Protection Status
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