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Best way to plan?


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Hi everyone,

Since I'm a newbie, I have a few questions still.

I'm starting to work on our destination after we leave our first campground the end of April.

How far in advance do you plan? Do you make reservations 6 months out? Longer? Since we're just starting out during camping season, I'm a bit worried as places fill up. Anyone have any advice for me?

Thanks,

Christine

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Depends on where you are going. If you were going to, say, Florida in January I would make reservations months in advance. If you are going to a tourist attraction area, reservations as early as you can.

 

Many campgrounds and resorts fill up on Fridays and empty on Sundays.

 

I would say, for a while anyway, plan your route, then plan how far you will go each day, then look for parks or resorts close to that location and reserve at least a week or two in advance. In this way you will gain experience on the what and where of overnight stays.

 

If your plan calls for a longer stay, definitely reserve as far in advance as you can. If you don't you might find yourself having to move from site to site as the week progresses. Often returning RVs request certain sites they like best.

 

RV Park Reviews is a good site to check on various parks you might be considering.

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We do plan way ahead, normally a year at a time based around a few specific events/locations. But we are quite flexible and very rarely make any reservations. The exception would be once or twice a year for a location where we MUST be when there are limited facilities and/or high interest. Normally we would just call the morning of the day when we will arrive, and if they are full we call another park on our list. And for holiday weekends, we arrive early in the week before to avoid the rush.

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We rarely make reservations and have never had difficulty finding a place to stay, including holidays. If we have a question as to whether or not they'll have space, we may call a few days ahead or even that morning, but the only time we've made reservations six months in advance was when we were planning on staying in a particular RV park for several months during the winter. The problem with reservations is that you have to be there on a particular day and it doesn't allow for a change of mind or to stop to explore something interesting that you've come across.

 

If you want to stay in one particular RV park, if you're traveling in a tourist area during the height of the tourist season, or you're traveling over a holiday, then calling ahead to make a reservation might be advisable; otherwise, don't sweat it.

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The only planning we do as snowbirds is to determine which day we head south and which day we head north. Everything in between is spur of the moment. Rarely do we even call ahead and get a site in an RV park. This winter the few times I have called ahead the park simply said just come we are not full. We also boondock quite a bit and those are our favorite times.

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We do plan way ahead, normally a year at a time based around a few specific events/locations. But we are quite flexible and very rarely make any reservations. The exception would be once or twice a year for a location where we MUST be when there are limited facilities and/or high interest. Normally we would just call the morning of the day when we will arrive, and if they are full we call another park on our list. And for holiday weekends, we arrive early in the week before to avoid the rush.

 

Paul, that's us too. I like planning - it's part of the fun for me. I've been making reservations for our 2015 adventure for months now, building a map of our purposed route and finding campgrounds and things to see as we travel.

 

I contacted one place in Wisconsin about a spot in mid-July and was told all the FHU sites were booked. At this stage in my planning I just adjusted our plans enough to come in a few days later and made the reservation.

 

Really, though this lifestyle is very individual and there are advantages and disadvantages to the different planning/travel approaches. There's no right or wrong way.

 

If anyone is interested I wrote about how I approach planning here.

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We planned a direction then made a list of possible stopping places along they way. When our day felt done we headed for the nearest one on our list. The only times I remember making reservations were when attending a rally, when heading to Key West, and when we decided to camp near family for a full summer. We didn't always get the best site in a park but sometimes we lucked into a wonderful one when someone cancelled at the last minute. I pulled into one park once that turned out to be reserved for a rally so they sent me just down the road. Just down the road was cheaper and had good, free wifi! Being flexible lets you enjoy the wonderful along the way.

 

Linda Sand

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We've done practically no campground planning and no reservations for 16 years. We casually planned an area to explore. The only reservations were if we were due at a relative or friend's home for visiting at a specific time. Even for say July 4 weekend we would never stay at the kind of places weekenders would stay. We easily got into a park with no water features of any kind; pool, lake, river. That's where the holiday/weekenders mainly head. We let them have their fun and as soon as the holiday was over we moved in.

 

Even for the western national parks we got into the park campgrounds without reservations. Some campgrounds in those parks don't even accept reservations and for the reservable ones there are always cancellations. The key is to stay nearby outside the park the previous day and move into the park early morning when campers are leaving. It can be done.

 

I can't imagine planning every stop. You could pass up awesome places by doing that and if you have medical or vehicle issues you'd throw the whole schedule off. Yikes!

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When traveling I start looking for a place for the night about noon. Call and see if they have room for us, usually arrive by 2:00 pm. We do make sure we get reservations for Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day weekends, usually at a membership park. For winter stays of 3 months or longer, we make them a year before to make sure we get the same spot. Lots a days we have flipped a coin to decide which road to take as we move in a general direction.

 

Barb

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I tried doing some pre-planning, mostly because we are new to this and nervous. So far, I have our next campground on reserve, but it's like you guys said......what if you want to stay longer? The guy at the campground was fantastic. I told him our situation and he said we can stay as long as we like. I think we are just going to 'wing it'. I'll figure out our next stop once we get there. We have to get to SD so we can get our Drivers licenses, but that's really the only 'set' destination.

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