Camping With Grandparents Becomes Gramping

Meaning May Depend Upon Geography, Context

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Whether you go luxury camping or tent camping, gramping can be great fun. Photo © KidStock | Getty Images

A popular term in the UK and Australia, "gramping" hasn't yet become part of the vernacular in most other parts of the world, although it pops up occasionally in the United States.

Gramping is being used to mean several things.

Camping With Grandparents

The first meaning for gramping is simply camping with grandparents. The parents may be invited, too. This is the meaning most common in Australia, which even boasts a Gramping Association.

Example: "It’s trending as ‘Gramping’ and involves three generations (grandparents, parents and kids) pitching a tent and spending quality time together in the great outdoors." Get It Magazine, February 17, 2014.

Some have suggested that gramping is derived from glamping, a term for luxury camping. But Aussie gramping isn't limited to a single style of camping. Grandparents camp in tents or use RVs or trailers, also known as caravans. Some even fake it with backyard gramp-outs.

Many grandparents enjoy being with grandchildren in the great outdoors, preferably away from computers, television and other electronic distractions. Camping grandparents need to be in reasonably good health, because sleeping on the ground isn't ideal, even with an air mattress, and they may have a hike to get to a bathroom. Also campers may be exposed to some extremes of weather and possibly get wet and chilled at times.

But for grandparents who are physically up to it, camping is a great way to bond with grandchildren.

Multigenerational Travel

In the UK, some use the term gramping for a simple multigenerational vacation. Sleeping bags and campfires may or may not be involved.

Example: "The company has called the trend 'gramping,' the latest ugly neologism coined by the travel industry." Telegraph Online, April 5, 2011.

The neologism may or may not be "ugly," but many grandparents love to share vacations with children and grandchildren. The growth of home rental companies such as Airbnb and VRBO has meant that famlies who travel together are not limited to hotels and motels.  Families may share mountain cottages, beach houses, condos and beach houses. 

Those who want to leave the travel planning to others can use the services of companies that specialize in multigenerational travel

Luxury Camping for Older Adults

This usage, which probably is an offshoot of glamping (glamor camping), is based on the idea that grandparents like the outdoors but no longer want to rough it. 

Example: "The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls ... offers an option to families to enable camping fun while meeting the needs of grandma and grandpa...GRAMPing! ... While mom and dad and the kids are doing the rustic sleep on the ground in sleeping bag thing, the grandparents can rest in comfort down the road at the Inn." Travel Write

Some grandparents like the idea of finding different ways for all generations to enjoy the outdoors. This strategy has special appeal to ex-campers who have found that they need more amenities in their accommodations.

It's perfect for grandparents who want to experience the great out-of-doors with grandchildren even when they are no longer up to long hikes and outdoor cooking.

Some grandparents may enjoy full-out glamping, in which campers may stay in tents or other rustic housing but don't really rough it. Typically, glampers don't have to pitch their own tents or cook their own meals. They may even have access to spa services and gourmet dining. Glamping isn't just for those who want to travel while keeping the luxuries of home. It's also for those who want to experience luxuries beyond what they may have at home, whether it be a hot-stone massage or a full wine list. Having grandchildren along undeniably sweetens the deal.