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Author Topic: Trip planning question?  (Read 937 times)

wijames2002

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Trip planning question?
« on: December 04, 2017, 07:02:56 AM »
When planning a trip with several stops, is it better to book the campground in each location ahead of time? Is this what you do?
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Larry N.

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 07:26:41 AM »
Some folks prefer to book ahead, but many of us prefer to play it by ear. Unless there's some special reason to book ahead (certain rallies, special events, holidays) we usually call ahead an hour or two before we get to our stop for the night to ensure they have space for us.
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Ernie n Tara

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 07:27:21 AM »
We book only for holidays and extended stays (or where we know which spot we want). Generally when travelling, we will call ahead once we know when and about where we want to stop; usually a couple of hours or less before stopping.

Ernie
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Bill N

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 07:44:06 AM »
We usually plan out our trips, determine how far we want to travel each day and then look around for campgrounds where we make reservations - sometimes up to months in advance.  Never been someone who does last minute planning unless forced into it.  Probably the military experience made me that way.  Only had to change campgrounds one time when we started earlier than planned, made good time and still could do another 100 miles or so.  Found a convenient CG right were we needed it.  However, main reason for advance planning is lack of CG  in some of the areas we travel.  Only drawback is some (a few) campgrounds required cancellations a couple days in advance of arrival  or you forfeit some money.  Have not had that happen yet.  JMHO.

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Patnsuzanne

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2017, 10:01:21 PM »
Popular areas, or different times of the year can make finding a suitable campground difficult on short notice. For instance, we just spent 6 weeks in New England, and being Floridians, were surprised and disappointed at the number of campgrounds and state parks that were already closed, even though the weather was very pleasant. Right now, parks and campgrounds down here that aren’t already full, are filling up fast.  We’re not into the Walmart parking lot thing, so we prefer to make reservations as soon as we’ve decided where we want to go, and where we want to be there.
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Arch Hoagland

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2017, 10:45:03 PM »
We book only for holidays and extended stays (or where we know which spot we want). Generally when travelling, we will call ahead once we know when and about where we want to stop; usually a couple of hours or less before stopping.

Ernie

Exactly what we do. The problem with making reservations for every night is that it puts you on a schedule. If you have a  problem where you get delayed a day or two then you have to reschedule everything.
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JudyJB

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2017, 10:51:11 PM »
I am a planner.  In fact, because I am very specific about where I want to stay, I make reservations as soon as the campgrounds open up for that date.  I usually prefer to stay in state and national parks, which means they often book up many months in advance. 

Now, there are exceptions to my making reservations far in advance:  time of year and how likely it is that families and people on vacation will be on the road.  That usually means I absolutely make reservations as far in advance as possible for places like Florida and Arizona in the winter and northern states and national parks in the summer.  (Try getting a site in Grand Canyon, Zion, Yellowstone, or Yosemite on the spur of the moment, or even a couple of weeks in advance!) 

However, if I am traveling through almost any state like Ohio or California or even Georgia, during the school year and during the week, I will not bother with reservations, except maybe on weekends. 

I am in Death Valley right now, and every electric hookup site is booked for the next several months.  If you want a non-electric site in May through September--no problem at all!! 

Commercial campgrounds along major highways usually have availability all year if you call a few hours ahead of time, but I much prefer a scenic place in a regional, state, or national park, even when near a highway.  Just personal preference.   

Also, know that even though campgrounds may be open in winter in cold climates, they may have water and sewer hookups closed for the winter.  Sometimes, they will leave the dump station open and one water fill station, but ask when you make a reservation in a cold place because they may not even have anyone at the entrance booth when you arrive.   

« Last Edit: December 04, 2017, 10:55:09 PM by JudyJB »
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wijames2002

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2017, 07:31:18 AM »
I am a planner.  In fact, because I am very specific about where I want to stay, I make reservations as soon as the campgrounds open up for that date.  I usually prefer to stay in state and national parks, which means they often book up many months in advance. 

Now, there are exceptions to my making reservations far in advance:  time of year and how likely it is that families and people on vacation will be on the road.  That usually means I absolutely make reservations as far in advance as possible for places like Florida and Arizona in the winter and northern states and national parks in the summer.  (Try getting a site in Grand Canyon, Zion, Yellowstone, or Yosemite on the spur of the moment, or even a couple of weeks in advance!) 

However, if I am traveling through almost any state like Ohio or California or even Georgia, during the school year and during the week, I will not bother with reservations, except maybe on weekends. 

I am in Death Valley right now, and every electric hookup site is booked for the next several months.  If you want a non-electric site in May through September--no problem at all!! 

Commercial campgrounds along major highways usually have availability all year if you call a few hours ahead of time, but I much prefer a scenic place in a regional, state, or national park, even when near a highway.  Just personal preference.   

Also, know that even though campgrounds may be open in winter in cold climates, they may have water and sewer hookups closed for the winter.  Sometimes, they will leave the dump station open and one water fill station, but ask when you make a reservation in a cold place because they may not even have anyone at the entrance booth when you arrive.   

Thanks! now this is wealth of important information. I figured as much as we plan to use state and national parks alot ourselves. I'm trying to set up a night or two as a test run for us in Florida and finding a shortage of open reservations available.
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Gizmo

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2017, 09:39:39 AM »
It really is an individual choice.  We use to plan ahead with the idea we new heading out, we would have a place to stay, but have since "winged it" which we have found to better serve our needs and style.  We found making reservations was too restrictive on our travel. The reality is getting a place to stay overnight was never a big issue and it allowed us to travel as far, or as short as we wanted on a given day, it opened up opportunities we had not considered and to make the choice of where we wanted to stay at the time. 
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JudyJB

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2017, 04:25:46 PM »
Don't forget that every state park system has its own reservation schedule.  Most states allow you to reserve 6 months in advance, EXCEPT:
  • Florida opens reservations a full 11 months in advance and you better be online a little early for popular places!  However, Florida does allow you to arrive at a place and leave early with no penalty.
  • Washington state opens reservations 9 months in advance.
  • Not sure about others.

Federal campgrounds are pretty much available 6 months in advance, except Yosemite, which opens them on a monthly basis about four months in advance.  Go online to check Yosemite schedule because it is crazy.

Also find out exactly what time sites open because that also varies.  And if you want to stay in the Florida Keys in a state park, good luck!!  Commercial parks are available at $125 - $150 per night, however, and aren't as nice.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 04:41:56 PM by JudyJB »
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Wasoki

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2017, 08:15:30 PM »
As others have said, it depends.  When we know we want to stay for longer periods,  we reserve.  Michigan state parks are often booked solid in the summer. On a recent stay, we moved to 4 different sites for a 5 day stay.  We always book for winter in Florida.  The recent hurricane took out our January plans for the keys.  Closest replacement was near Naples and had to be split between two sites.

We leave tomorrow for Florida.  We will stay one night at a Kentucky rest stop, the next stop will be at an Alabama state park to dewinterize; no reservations needed.  Northern Florida starts getting dicey.  Tampa on south, on the water, better be flexible or  better yet have reservations.
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spacenorman

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Re: Trip planning question?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2017, 03:51:58 PM »
When this topic comes up - I usually tell folks that I tend to compare traveling in a large DP rig with traveling in a large jumbo jet.   You don't just jump in the 747 and take off without having a pretty damn good idea of where you're going to land it. 

In practice - it's a mixed bag for us.  The decision on whether or not to make reservations is affected by the park itself (reservations are darn near a requirement at extremely popular parks), the time of year (Florida in the winter can be a challenge if you're trying to "wing it" ... where Michigan parks in October are usually wide open) ... and lastly, what sort of stay are we planning (we usually don't reserve for simple "get off the highway for the night" sort of stop ... where a "let's spend a week explore this area" is likely to be a different story).    The fact that we're in a 44' DP also makes a difference.   We learned pretty quickly that although a park may have a 100 sites .... there may only be 10-15 sites that will fit us.   That said - while we don't always make reservations - if we're certain about our itinerary, more often than not we'll reserve.   It helps cut down on stress. 
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