I’ve heard the same thing more times than I care to remember; why would you want to rough it in a tent when there’s a luxury hotel just down the road? I get the reason why some people would think this way, but these are often folks that have never even tried camping.
There are, of course, some real advantages to staying in a hotel. But camping also has its plus points. I’m going to try to make this a fair argument because I don’t want to come across as closed minded as the people I’m accusing of doing the same thing where staying in a hotel is concerned. But I have to admit, it’s going to be difficult to sway my opinion.
What I will also admit, however, is that there are times that choosing a hotel over camping is the more sensible choice. But I think what is key here is being able to experience both types of accommodation and seeing them for what they are rather than trying to pit one against the other. That’s the approach I’ll take and by the end, we’ll understand the differences between the two as well as the pros and cons.
Why Should You Stay In A Hotel?
When To Stay In A Hotel
The reason that most people opt to stay in a hotel is for luxury and comfort. That’s admittedly something you can’t get in abundance when you’re camping. Yes, you can take some of your creature comforts with you but it’s nothing compared to Egyptian cotton sheets and room service at all hours of the day and night. So, if you’re looking for ultimate relaxation and luxury, a hotel is the obvious choice.
But it doesn’t end there. Hotels are great when you’re going away for just one night. Perhaps if you’re away on a business trip; you’re hardly going to want to turn up at your morning meeting having just crawled out of a tent. Moreover, if you’re exploring cities, maybe on a tour of the UK or Europe, it’s just easier to stay in a hotel than to have to haul around all of your camping gear.
Why You Should Go Camping
When To Go Camping
Camping is about getting back to nature, striping things back and enjoying the great outdoors. You just cannot get that experience when staying in a hotel; even if you fill your days with outdoor activities like hiking, rafting, cycling and other things. You’ll still have to return to a brick and mortar building whereas camping allows you to get the most out of the outdoors.
If you’re going on a longer break that involves outdoor pursuits then camping is perfect. It gives you a comfortable base from which to discover the local area and you might be surprised at how luxurious some campsites can be. It’s all about what you choose.
The Pros And Cons Of Camping
I’m naturally inclined to bulk out this section with a huge number of pros but I’m going to try and stay as balanced as possible and include some of the cons of this type of accommodation as well.
For starters, camping is much more affordable than staying in a hotel. Even on the nicest pitches you’re unlikely to pay beyond double figures. In fact, on most club sites, you wouldn’t expect to pay more than £20 a night and many places offer a pitch for less than a tenner! What’s more, if you’ve got permission and are willing to go a little more wild, you can camp on public or private land and it won’t cost you a penny. Just don’t forget to leave it as you found it!
One of the main reasons that people choose to camp is because they want to get back to nature and this just isn’t possible when staying in a hotel. Well, it is but you’ll probably have to travel. There’s nothing quite as invigorating as waking up in the thick of it, hearing the birds singing and smelling the fresh morning dew. If you want a real adventure then camping is a no brainer.
What’s more, you’ll be much closer to the many outdoor attractions like kayaking, hiking, cycling, mountaineering and much more. So you won’t have to spend half your holiday travelling to and from your accommodation. Moreover, a lot of activities cost nothing so you’ll not only save on the accommodation itself but also on spending money. If you’re staying in a hotel, you may have to fork out extra for activities.
After a long day of activities, you can’t beat sitting around the campfire. But you can’t do that in a hotel, can you? In fact, if you stay in a hotel, the chances are that you’ll find yourself sprawled out on the bed staring at your phone or the TV. You can do that any time but spending time around the campfire, interacting with friends and family is truly magical and something to be cherished.
Spending time outdoors is proven to be good for you. It can benefit your physical health by improving your cardiovascular health as well as lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. But it has also been shown that time outdoors is beneficial to your mental health especially where lowering stress levels is concerned. While spending time at a hotel might be relaxing, we’re yet to find any scientific evidence that it’ll boost your health.
If you’ve got pets, perhaps a dog, then many campsites allow you to take them with you. While there are dog-friendly hotels out there, they’re few and far between so you’ll be limited as to where you can stay.
The main issue with camping is that you have to ‘rough it.’ Yes, there are a lot of accessories and equipment that can make modern camping much more comfortable but let’s face it, you’re still sleeping outdoors and you won’t have the luxury of an en suite bathroom, toilets or heavenly bed sheets which come as standard in any hotel.
You should also consider that camping requires a lot more packing than staying in a hotel. When you go to a hotel, pretty much everything is provided for you so you’ll only need to pack a few essential items. But when you’re camping, you’ll often need to take everything but the kitchen sink; literally. This includes cooking equipment and food, first aid kits, bedding and blankets, entertainment equipment and so much more.
The Pros And Cons Of Staying In A Hotel
While I am a camper at heart, I don’t see anything wrong with staying in a hotel. I do it from time to time. Just like camping, there are pros and cons to this.
When you’re camping, you don’t have the luxury of a bathroom or plumbing like you do in a hotel. If you want to relieve yourself in style then there are many hotels that have beautiful bathrooms that offer instant convenience. What’s more, there are showers, spa baths and even complimentary toiletries on offer. And when you’re done, your hotel staff will come in and freshen everything up.
What’s more, you’ll have everything in your room for a comfortable stay. Tea and coffee making facilities are provided, free WiFi, extra blankets, air conditioning, a smart TV and much more. It’s like a home from home and you really only need to bring clothing and some basic items. Even if you forget something like a toothbrush, the hotel will have these in stock so you won’t have to worry.
If you are looking to experience more urban tourist attractions like museums, monuments and other such things, then you’ll normally find these in the city. There aren’t many campsites around built up areas so choosing a hotel allows you instant access to some of the best tourist spots.
Compared to camping, staying in a hotel is far more expensive. I’ve purchased a few weekends away through booking.com recently and I can tell you that you’ll be hard pushed to find somewhere decent for less than £100 a night. In fact, the average price of a London hotel per night sits at an astonishing £172; you could have weeks worth of camping for that!
Moreover, you will need to factor in the cost of travel if you’re looking to take part in activities. Usually, hotels are situated a little further away from the action than campsites so if you want to do something like rock climbing, zip wires, hiking or anything else outdoorsy, you’ll need to travel. Whether that’s by car or public transport, it comes with an extra cost.
And don’t forget that staying in a hotel doesn’t let you get as up close and personal with nature. Even if you’re staying in a countryside retreat, you’re still waking up in a building and won’t have that exposure to the fresh morning air as you open your eyes. Getting back to nature allows you to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of the modern world but when you’re in a hotel, you’ve still got all those creature comforts so you won’t have the same experience.
Finally, you have to consider that staying in a hotel comes with a strict routine. You’ll be given a check out time which is usually quite early in the morning so you’ll need to be prepared to get up and go. Even getting there can be a fuss since most hotels don’t allow you to check in until at least 2pm. Until then, you’re wandering around aimlessly with a lot of luggage and time to kill.
As someone who is passionate about getting outdoors and enjoying nature, camping is always going to be the accommodation of choice when I head off on vacation. There’s so much about it to love; it’s cheaper, it allows you direct access to nature and you can bring your pets along.
Of course, I’m not that pig-headed to think that hotels do not serve a purpose or have a place in the world. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t be such a booming business. There’s the luxury side of staying in a hotel as well as the convenience and not having to take a whole load of equipment. If you’re staying for one or two nights or want something more comfortable then even I would advise you to check into a hotel.
But when it comes down to it, and I said it right at the beginning, my opinion hasn’t changed. I love camping, I love how it makes me feel and the benefits it has on my health and wellbeing. While I definitely will spend a night or two in a hotel over the course of my life, you’ll more than likely find me on the local campsite building a fire.