Top 5 Reasons to Camp vs. Stay in a Hotel with Kids

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.


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About Laura Boniello Miller

Laura Miller is a internet marketing professional and a mother of two. Her interests include sport climbing, bouldering, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She believes that playing outdoors is integral to health and well being, and that if your kids aren't dirty, they haven't had enough fun.