HI; We live in colorado and have been camping for six years. During the summer months the camp ground in the mountains get busy and it is best to make a reservation ahead of travel. This is true for both the national park site and the commercial sites. For cross country travel (travel outside of Colorado) we make reservation also because my wife like to know where we will be each night. The max. distance we travel in one day is about 550 mile. This distance means one fuel stop and besides after that distance we are ready for break from traveling. Happy camping!
We usually make res for St parks in Oregon as they tend to fill mnths in advance. When we are going to forest service CG's we may or may not make any, just depends on which CG were going to. When on the road we make res for CG/RV parks if were going to be there for a few days. But going to and from we just wing it. Don't like to be tied to a time table traveling. One thing to keep in mind is that some RV parks are really expensive. Not that we or you stay there that much. But if your are driving through and are tired and check in at one it's sort of a pain to get back in and hit the road to find a cheaper one. It really helps to at least know where you may be when looking to stay the nite to check prices before hand. I have a Droid and my wife looks up places to stay while were travling to check availability before getting there. It's not fun driving 52' of TT/TV around unfamilar streets.
General question here: When you are traveling with you TT, do you plan ahead and reserve campsites or do you like to just go where the road takes you and take your chances? .... This year, however, we plan to hit the road in a serious way and just get out and see some of this beautiful country. No particular destination or route planned, but we're wondering what to expect out there. Thanks for any input!
I think that you will find those on both sides of the fence on this issue, as there is no right way, just personal preferences.
For me, I prefer to make reservations ahead whenever possible since I do NOT like bad surprises ... good surprises are okay. So it boils down to how to maximize to good surprises and eliminate the bad ones such as noisy neighbours, poorly equipped and maintained parks, lack of the facilities you like, etc.
If on a schedule of if there is a park that you have to be at, then planning every step of the way makes sense. If, as you are, not on a schedule then you can probably reduce the amount of planning to where you at least know that the route(s) you are taking has gas along the way, places to get supplies, etc. Then some sort of campground directory would be useful - I like the Trailer Life Directory and the Good Sam ratings - and/or a connection to the Internet. That way, if a location does strike your fancy you can check up on it before committing.
That is as far as I would go without pre-planning.
I think the answer also needs to take into consideration if you are a full time (or retired with no real schedule) camper, or a working stiff like me. Since our vacation time is limited (dang work keeps getting in the way of my vacation time!) I reserve whenever possible. We also like going to State and National parks and they often require reservations to get a site. For me it is a simple matter of "peace of mind" knowing that when we arrive, there will be a site waiting for us.
I have the advantage of being retired so I'm not trying to fit travel into a short vacation period and I'm towing a small trailer that will fit just about any site. I hate being tied to a schedule. I find too many interesting things to do & see along the way that reservations would drive me crazy!
My last trip was 111 days & 18,700 miles. I did not make any long term reservations, but did plan to hit campgrounds in popular areas by 1:00PM. I never arrived at a campground after 6:00PM the entire trip.
For popular National Parks, I planed for even earlier stops. For example, at Zion I arrived as the South campground at 10:00AM & there were only two sites left. Did the same at Apgar Campground at Glacier National Park - I had little problems getting a site at 10:00AM over the 4th of July weekend. If you are flexible & don't need hookups, you will usually find a site.
On weekends at popular locations I sometimes started calling campgrounds where I was planning to stop in the morning. A few suggested making a reservation, but many said just show up. The worst case I had on the trip was at a Canadian KOA where they only had one very expensive site left.
I almost never make reservations, even in the popular national parks. I’m sort of a wanderer and a reservation would dictate where and when I’ll be somewhere, not the way I want to travel. Very infrequently I’ve been bit, but only for one night. I pull a small TT and dry camp and can get in almost anywhere.If I get caught I just find a spot to dry camp or boondock overnight. On the rare occasions we go near a city and need a commercial park the DW just calls ahead when we know where we will be and when. That wouldn’t work well in CA in peak season and I rarely go there. Another option I again use rarely is to make a reservation for the first night if the area's really crowded and wing it after that. If you have a big unit and want hookups, though, you'll lose a lot of flexibility to work around reservations except in commercial parks.
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edited 02/06/12 01:52pm by rfryer *
We've been doing this since 1964 (48 years) WITHOUT reservations and have never been without a place to stay. Sometimes we call ahead an hour or so to check availability but did not need a reservation at that time. Besides, we're known to change our minds several times per day. We never make them .