Planes, trains, and cruises used to be the preferred form of travel, taking you to popular cities where millions of tourists flocked each year.
Now, not only are some of the world’s most desirable destinations off limits, the ones that aren’t present a level of risk most people aren’t willing to take as they’re packed neck-in-neck with other eager travelers.
This has led to a unique and inspiring transition in the way people enjoy their time away from home. It’s called astrotourism – and involves sleeping under a starry sky.
The great outdoors presents a spacious and scenic getaway that carries minimal risk of contracting a virus from a nearby traveler.
Whether camping, lodging in an RV, or biking cross country, you’re likely to see more raccoons and deer than people.
But have you ever seen the Milky Way?
In fact, did you know that the Milky Way has the potential to be seen by the naked eye anywhere in the world?
So, why can’t you see it from your porch at night?
Light pollution (the presence of artificial light in the night environment) in densely populated areas has obstructed our view of the Milky Way and many other astronomical wonders like it.
But the newest trend in travel, called astrotourism, is taking things back to the skies with getaways to what’s known as “dark-sky places.”
Many states are beginning to recognize the public’s desire to escape to the great outdoors – and the need to keep some land off limits to developers if we are to ever enjoy another romantic evening under the stars again.
Recently, Nevada’s Senate passed Bill 52, which, if made law, would protect “dark-sky places” and stimulate the local economy through tourism, reports Condé Nast Traveler.
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), based out of Arizona, aims to protect dark-sky spaces all over the world.
You may consider this a negligible feat, but with light pollution rising by 2% each year – and 80% of North Americans already unable to see the Milky Way because of it – it seems a worthy endeavor, according to satellite data.
John Barentine, Director of Public Policy at IDA, alarmingly stated to Condé Nast Traveler, “In some places, it’s just dawning on people that if they go outside and look at the night sky, the stars are missing.”
So, where do you go to find the perfect star-gazing experience?
In Nevada, you can take a ride on the Star Train through the Great Basin National Park and view the wonders of our solar system with provided telescopes.
Utah also offers several dark-sky areas and hopes to have the largest protected dark-sky area recognized by the IDA in the near future.
However, there are those of us who would rather see the stars while sipping on a glass of wine rather than nearly falling off a cliff.
That’s where Glamping comes in.
This sophisticated and glamorous form of camping has all the therapeutic aspects of submersing yourself in nature, but with all the comforts of home – a cozy bed, a wooden nightstand, LED string lights, and anything else you can cram inside your luxury tent.
But it won’t be your chic lodging that inspires you – it will be a clear and vibrant night sky like never seen before and experiencing a sense of awe that’s long been forgotten.