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.

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.

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." Getit Magazine, February 17, 2014.

My Take:  My grandchildren love camping, and so do I. I like being away from computers, television and other electronic distractions, although I'm fine with the grandchildren using their devices in the car. Grandparents need to be in reasonably good health, because sleeping on the ground isn't ideal, even with an air mattress, and you may have a hike to get to a bathroom. Also you're likely to be exposed to some extremes of weather and possibly get wet and chilled at times.

But if you are physically up to it, it's a great time to bond and share some stories around a campfire.

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.

My Take: The neologism may or may not be "ugly," but I love the idea! my family and I have shared beach houses with our children and grandchildren. We've also enjoyed camp tents, mountain cottages, condos, luxury hotels and about every other type of vacation housing except a teepee! It's all been great fun, and I can't wait to do it again.

Luxury Camping for Older Adults

This usage, which probably is an offshoot of glamping, 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

My Take: I like the idea of finding different ways for all generations to enjoy the outdoors. Personally, I still enjoy a camp tent or cabin, but I can see not long down the road that I will need more amenities in my accommodations. It makes me happy to know that I won't have to give up experiencing the great out-of-doors with my grandchildren even when I'm no longer up to long hikes and outdoor cooking.

I'm a bit conflicted about full-out glamping. I really don't need spa services or gourmet dining as part of my camping experience. Everything tastes delicious when eaten outdoors. I even remember enjoying hot dogs with a side of sand on one of our beach vacations! And there's something off-putting about the idea of someone tidying my tent for me, or lugging hot water for my bath. But again, I'm in favor of almost anything that gets families together in a beautiful setting. If that takes a hot-stone massage or a full wine list, so be it.