Don’t have the dough to experience the great outdoors this summer? Not to worry. Under Canvas, an adventure hospitality company, is hosting #paywhatyoucan, a social media campaign running through June 4. Applicants chosen on Friday, June 7 will get to “glamp,” aka glamorous camping, in one of America’s iconic national parks or monuments.
Thirty-nine million Americans can’t afford a summer vacation this year. This was the statistic that caught Urban Canvas CEO Sarah Dusek’s eye. “I knew I needed to do something,” she tells Parentology. “We [she and husband Jacob] wanted to make the experience we offer our guests even more accessible and to be a bridge for those restrained by economics.”
So the Dusek’s launched the #paywhatyoucan campaign to help a family achieve their vacation dream and to draw awareness to the decreasing number of people who can spend vacation time with loved ones. The ultimate goal: to make travel more accessible and affordable this summer.
“The outdoors, our beautiful public places and spaces shouldn’t only be accessed by those who can afford to experience them,” Dusek says. “They should be accessible to all. So anything we can do to remove barriers of entry, to encourage people to get outside more, we’re all about.”
From now until June 4, travelers can apply for #paywhatyoucan to be chosen for a stay at one of Urban Canvas’ eight camps. These camps are located in parks with names that bring instant recognition: Yellowstone, Glacier, Moab, Zion, Mount Rushmore, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains and Tucson.
Accommodations aren’t run-of-the-mill pup tents. Instead, they’re safari-inspired, luxury tents replete with daily housekeeping, fresh towel service, plush king-size beds, luxury linens, en suite bathrooms and wood burning stoves. Nightly highlights are s’mores and storytelling around a communal fireplace.
Daylight hours are spent exploring nature. “My husband and I built a company that enables us to literally open up the outdoors to hundreds of thousands of people every year, enabling families and friends to have experiences that will enrich their lives forever.” Their second motivating force: “In addition, we believe the more people get outside to see and enjoy our beautiful planet, the more people will care for it.”
Indeed, since Under Canvas was founded in 2009 by the Dusek’s environmental issues have been a driving passion for the business.
Winning applicants will be chosen and announced by Friday June 7, fittingly, the eve of National Get Outside Day (June 8).
And no matter whose application is chosen, Dusek sees all those spending time outdoors as winners.
“Being outside, enjoying nature, traveling should not be a privilege, to me it really is a necessity, a human need which actually makes us all better human beings.”