Traveling without making reservations ahead?

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jymbee

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Leaving today not sure of destination 😁

... heading to idaho Monday I think.

Unlike Jackiemac, I'm one to make reservations far in advance of our 4 month winter trek through Midwest, Central US, Gulf Coast, Texas etc. etc. Even have custom Google "MyMaps" with all the destinations laid out and all reservation details-- dates, addresses, site info etc. in a custom Google Calendar for the duration of our travels.

But having often read here that other folks like Jackiemac seem to be much more... uh, "adventurous" in that they seem to make it up as they go along, I have to say that on one hand I can admire that strategy and understand if might well offer more flexibility than my own approach, but at the same time I would think that a downside might be limiting you to some places you'd like to go but can't given that all the "over planners" such as myself have reserved all the sites!

Maybe a mix of some fixed reservations sandwiched in with periods of winging it might a good way to go?
 
Back in my working days we were leaving on vacation camping, heading to Chincoteague. We made reservations there, meeting friends and that had to solid, but rest of trip, seat of our pants. my wife was asked at work where we would go on the way down and back and she explained, whatever. She was ina group of planners. On the way back we discovered a nmber of very cool places we likely never would have thought of at the planning table. As a rule, unless I need certain dates, i don't reserve. When we have, something changes and we lose it. Happened last year.
 
When we were employed and took vacations, everything was fully reserved every trip. Now we are retired, and we only make reservations for major stops. For example, we are planning on leaving Tuesday, but it might be Wednesday or even Thursday. We will stop in Oklahoma City for 2 days or maybe 3. We have a guided trip planned 5-8 July, but we are staying in a dispersed NFS area so we haven’t decided how early we will get there. A week after the guided trip we have a week reserved at a specific RV park followed by reservations in Cedar City, UT because we are attending a play there. A few days after that we have reservations at Bakers Hole outside West Yellowstone. That was what we reserved first BTW because national parks are so popular. Then we have two rallies to attend in August, but no specific plans on how to get there. Of course it is much easier if you are in the west and capable of boondocking for a week. I can’t imagine the same approach works on the east coast.
 
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Dan I was going to send you a message, but I will just make it public! We will be spending 16-19 July in Cedar City at Cedar City RV Resort. Going to see “Much Ado About Nothing.” Maybe someone else will be coming too and we can make it a mini rally!
 
I would hesitate to call it a "resort", but it is clean and well kept,, also in the middle of the city on main st. and all needs. This city used to be about 26K people, but now is about 66K and traffic has picked up a bit during "go to work hours".
You
will be close to the theater and about three blocks from restaurant row. >>>D
 
The state park (W/E) we were in this week ONLY takes reservations. I made reservations the day before we went (it's local to us and very popular with locals - I was not surprised to get two nights in the middle of the week although Fri-Sat is booked solid). The BLM campground (W/E) we stayed at on Sunday was on the same road as the Historic Site we were visiting. It does not take reservations. If we couldn't have stayed in the campground, we would have just pulled off and dispersed camped on BLM land as it was 90F for a few hours but cooled back down as the sun dropped. We didn't HAVE to have the air conditioner running but we did. It was the first time it's been run since last summer. If I can't make reservations, I have a back up plan, usually two. If I am going to a popular place with limited places to stay or a reservation only place, I will make reservations. If we are playing tourist and the truck will be moving most of the time and/or we don't need to be plugged in for the air conditioner, reservations aren't something I worry about if I have a freebie place to park. I find a lot of free/cheap overnights on freecampsites.net in addition to the places I have found on my own which I have noted on a private map in Google's My Maps. Places that suit me all end up on the private map. Saves me from doing the same research repeatedly.

When traveling, I don't make reservations unless it's same day reservations. The helpful thing about the same day reservations is the site is paid for and I don't have to deal with an office if I'm coming in after they closed. Most of the time, we just park in parking lots when traveling. But the old truck camper has been set up to do that. I just can't run the air conditioner off the batteries. We like air conditioning when temps hit 90F and up. When we head back East this fall, we will only stop in one campground going and coming back. It's a freebie and all we will be doing is dumping our tanks, we won't be staying there. All the rest of our stops will be in Sam's Club parking lots. We will refuel, walk the dog, eat supper, walk the dog, sleep, walk the dog, eat breakfast, walk the dog and head on down the road. The solar panels keep the battery bank charged and the parking lot lights keep the panels making enough power that the battery bank doesn't drop overnight.
 
I wish it were all first come, first served. But I realize that will not work well for everybody. But it would for me as I am not that picky on where I stay or even where I end up at.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
In recent years we have been much more inclined to make advance reservations for places to stay as we travel. That has come about partly due to the fact that we don't dry camp anymore and partly due to the increased RV traffic with very little increase in RV accommodations. When traveling with lots of time and no set destination, I still much prefer to find an RV park on the fly. A common practice for us has been to choose where we will stop for the day while we eat lunch and then as I drive Pam will use to cell phone to check parks in the area that we wish to stop for the night.
 
When we were employed and took vacations, everything was fully reserved every trip. Now we are retired, and we only make reservations for major stops. For example, we are planning on leaving Tuesday, but it might be Wednesday or even Thursday. We will stop in Oklahoma City for 2 days or maybe 3. We have a guided trip planned 5-8 July, but we are staying in a dispersed NFS area so we haven’t decided how early we will get there. A week after the guided trip we have a week reserved at a specific RV park followed by reservations in Cedar City, UT because we are attending a play there. A few days after that we have reservations at Bakers Hole outside West Yellowstone. That was what we reserved first BTW because national parks are so popular. Then we have two rallies to attend in August, but no specific plans on how to get there. Of course it is much easier if you are in the west and capable of boondocking for a week. I can’t imagine the same approach works on the east coast.
That was pretty much our method for 15+ post-retirement years and our travel was largely east of the Mississippi. The availability of mobile phones & mobile internet made it even more practical to ad lib. It was easy to scout ahead electronically to find options once we decided where to go next, and to reserve if there was any concern about availability. We got into the habit of picking a park and also calling ahead on the day of travel if good choices seemed limited.
 

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