Following is a list of pros and cons for tent camping with kids as opposed to selecting a hotel. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments list below.
1. Hotel Cleanliness vs. Camping Cleanliness
Hotel Pro: Three star and higher, the room is clean, the sheets are soft, and television is only a click away.
Hotel Con: Actual cleanliness is always a concern (how well did they really clean your room)? Television is only a click away.
Hotel: Bathtub. Soap. Hot water.
Camping Con: Maybe a shower. Maybe hot water. Bring your own soap.
Camping Pro: Who cares about cleanliness, we’re camping? As soon as they step out of the shower the kids are dirty again anyway!
Camping Con: Bugs
Hotel Con: Bed bugs
2. Kid Friendly Sleep at Hotels vs. Campsite Sleep
Camping Pro: Everyone at a campground is an early riser, you and your kids won’t be the only ones making noise at 6 am!
Camping Con: No sound proof walls, if your child (or someone else’s) wakes up in the middle of the night, everyone will hear.
Hotel Pro: You have your own space, your own room.
Hotel Con: You primarily have one room in which to occupy your child once they awaken.
Camping Pro: The outdoors are entertaining for even the smallest child, and most campgrounds have kid friendly playgrounds, trails, and nature.
3. Cost of a Hotel vs. Campsite
Hotel Con: Usually costs twice that of a campsite for one night stay. Plus you can’t cook your own food, so add dining costs as well.
Camping Con: Startup costs are pricey as you pay for tents, sleeping bag, camp stoves and more.
Camping Pro: Once you have the gear, camping will be half the price.
4. Location/Arrival Times for Campgrounds vs. Hotels
Hotel Con: Quality hotels are often hard to find in the typical “rustic” outdoor location. You often drive further to find reasonable priced hotels that are of good quality.
Hotel Pro: You can arrive as late as you want and no one will be disturbed.
Camping Con: Arrival at campsites is often unwelcome after a certain time (and setting up a tent in the pitch black leaves a bit to be desired).
Camping Pro: Campsites abound in most outdoor friendly locations.
Camping Con: Campsites vary in both quality and size. Uneven ground, proximity to the bathrooms, and proximity to others can make or break the quality of your sleep.
5. Experience at a Hotel vs. Camping
Camping Pro: My kids view every vacation as an “adventure” because they remember the campsite, the campfire, climbing, camp beaches, camp food, hikes, bugs, and more. Staying at a campsite is as much a part of the vacation experience as going to the beach, visiting a water park, or heading to a National Park.
Hotel Pro: For those that don’t get to experience the lap of luxury often, staying at a hotel can provide quite the luxury vacation experience. Room service, fluffy towels, indoor pools and more can truly add to the relaxation and “off duty” feel of a vacation.
Did I miss something? Add it in the comments below.