We’ve been studying recent travel trends to put together our very own list of predictions for what’s going to make the coolest camping in 2019. From treehouses to astrotourism, the sky seems to be limit when it comes to what’s hot for the year ahead and, with growing awareness of environmental issues, we’re thrilled to see that everything seems to be going green…
Protected dark skies and astrotourism
The politically uncertain times may make us wish we were on another planet and, while travelling to the stars may not quite be within our reach in 2019, staring up at them is. The number of officially-recognised International Dark-Sky Places hit 100 in 2018 and continues to rise. These are places where the quality of a starry-night is guaranteed, thanks to a lack of light pollution and it's great to see more and more places are being protected. In the UK, Tominbul and Glenlivet in the Cairngorms was the latest to receive recognition when it was given International Dark Sky Park status in 2018, adding to the growing list of places that are tip-top for stargazing. Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, part of the South Downs, Northumberland, Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons National Parks have already earned their places on the list too. There’s nothing like a spot of stargazing to put things in perspective and, of course, a camping holiday is the perfect opportunity to do it.
All about the bespoke
Our glamping site owners, new and established, continue to amaze us with their unique ideas for places to stay. Converted buses, planes and helicopters, handcrafted huts and specially-commissioned cabins all feature in our range of glamping accommodation. But just when we thought we’d seen it all, two UFOs landed in Pembrokeshire and opened their doors to glampers for the first time in 2018. So, who knows what 2019 will bring? We predict a few more surprises. For some glampers, the quirkier the accommodation the better and, with bookings building for some of the more unusual places we have on our website, this trend shows no sign of abating. There’s one genre of bespoke glamping architecture that sits at the top of the tree, both literally and metaphorically, and therefore deserves a few lines all of its own…
More treehouses please
It’s all about the treehouses at Cool Camping HQ at the moment: if one of the team isn’t off to stay in one, someone is on the phone to tell us that they’ve just built one. And you can forget the rickety constructions of your youth, today’s glamping treehouses have to be seen to be believed. Many of these fairytale constructions have been years in the planning, months in the making and can’t be beaten when it comes to luxury glamping. Imagine taking a bath among the branches, cooking dinner in the canopy and watching the sunset from the skies… it’s all possible in the treehouses of today. This is a trend that’s on the up-and-up.
Less WiFi more wild camping
On the flipside of all that luxury, we’re also seeing a growing hardcore of campers who are looking for more of a back-to-basics camping experience. For these folk; less is more. They’re looking for places without electric hook-up, without WiFi and without the stresses and strains of modern life. As technology plays an ever-greater part in daily life, a 'digital detox' is an increasingly important concept – especially for those living in the city and working in tech. For most people, looking for this kind of Good-Life getaway, wild camping is the dream but a campsite offering a similar experience is the possibly even-better reality. Our list of Almost Wild Campsites is one of the most popular sections of our website and you only have to look at the reviews to see that a little time camping unplugged can really pay off.
Greater focus on eco-credentials
The shocking reality of the damage that we’re doing to the environment has become all too clear in 2018 and travellers and holidaymakers across the board are looking for greener ways to get away. ABTA recently reported that sustainability is an important element of booking a holiday for 45% of holidaymakers and a Booking.com survey said 86% of respondents would be willing to spend time on activities that reduce the impact of their trip. While camping naturally tends to have less impact on the environment, there are some places that do it better than others and we reckon sites with top recycling facilities and other eco-credentials will become more and more popular in 2019. If you like the idea of doing something to reduce your impact on the environment, look out for #2minutebeachclean flipboards on your next camping holiday – or set out on your own litter pick while you’re away.
The reality of electric travel
Sticking to the green theme, we’re also predicting 2019 as the year when camping trips in electric vehicles start becoming more of a reality. It’s been a long time coming but the number of charging points is on the up – including at campsites. And how about enjoying one of the UK’s most spectacular driving routes on an all-electric camping road trip? There are electric charging points strategically placed along Scotland’s North Coast 500, the long-distance route around the country’s coast, which means you don’t have to worry about running out of charge along the way. Even if you don’t have your own electric car yet, you can hire one as Inverness-based Ecosse EV rents out electric Tesla supercars for self-drive holidays on the route.
Local becomes more vocal
The Lake District issued its own currency in 2018 – The Lake District Pound – and has launched freshly-designed notes for 2019. The idea of this regional wonga is to encourage local spending and it’s accepted by about 200 independent businesses in the national park. It’s all about keeping it local and, while it’s not necessarily a new concept, it’s certainly taking on a greater importance as people take more interest in the providence of their food and belongings. While larger retailers on our high streets are feeling the pinch, spaces are opening up for hyperlocal enterprises – which is great news for travellers and holidaymakers who often want a real taste of the area they’re visiting. Microbreweries, farm shops, farmers markets and independent businesses are where you’ll find us on our camping holidays. It’s one of the reasons we prefer smaller, independent campsites to big-name holiday park-style sites. If you’re made of similar stuff, look out for sites that offer insider info on local gems, welcome packs and have links with other local businesses.
Top campsites start new franchises
When you’ve found a campsite you love, it can be tempting to return year after year, and there’s nowt wrong with that in our book but if you like visiting new places, it can leave you with a dilemma. Recently, some of the most successful campsites we know have managed to grow their businesses without just adding more facilities and increasing the size of their campsite. Instead of meeting demand by cramming more and more people in, they have opened completely separate sites with the same style, ethos and independent feel – franchises, each with unique owners who help to provide that proper local feel. It’s great news for us campers, as it means you can find an experience you trust in an all new location. The Secret Campsites, Glampotel and Amber’s Bell Tents all have multiple locations for 2019, each still individually run with that home-spun, local feel. If you’ve visited and enjoyed one of these sites, there’s a good chance that their new locations will also be right up your street. Keep an eye on developments 2019 and beyond – we will be!
By Amy Woodland, January 2019