We only make reservations if visiting a major tourist spot, such as Yellowstone. As full-timers, we can roll in on Wednesday and leave on Monday or Tuesday so we can always get a spot over a major holiday.
The ONLY time I make reservations is when I'll be on the road over major holidays or when I'm very particular about which campground I'll be in. So far I've been somewhere every night and NONE of them have been parking lots.
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I made reservations back when life's circumstances dictated it. Today, the kids are educated and on their own and retirement is approaching next year. Having been in a profession that required extended travel, the full time lifestyle makes things so much simpler and less expensive. For me, reservations are basically a thing of the past... YMMV.
Do you make reservations everytime you hit the road with your RV? I work alot and have very few days off that are cosecutive. Sometimes when I do have days off I feel like telling the Wife pack up and let go!! IMO sometimes planning a trip too much and too far out kind of takes some the fun out of it, but on the other hand not planning or reserving a spot can be a real pain too.
Since you only have a few days off at a time, it sounds like you aren't able to travel far. It isn't clear from your post how far in advance you know your off days, but it seems that you could pick up the phone and make a few calls to see what is available on the days you have off. Perhaps you can arrange some of your off days during the mid-week to avoid the weekend crowds.
We mainly travel during the Spring and Fall to avoid the crowds when the kids are out of school and have never needed advance reservations for long distance trips. The main reason we avoid reservations is that we are never sure where we will be on a certain date more than a day or two in advance. We like the freedom of changing our travel plans and stops as we go. Reservations would spoil that and take much of the fun out of RVing.
Most of our "destination campgrounds" don't have reservations, so, no, we don't make reservations. If our primary back-country "destination" is full, the one at the end of the road probably isn't. The tourists don't like to go that far back in the boonies, where they are an hour or more away from the nearest store, no cell service, no internet, no electricity (oh, no! they might have to run a GENERATOR! or do without), no dump stations, no "security lights", just dark at night with wild animals prowling. Oh, yeah, did I mention, first come, first served, no reservations?
Personally, I love it.
* This post was
edited 03/21/12 09:43pm by mowermech *
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Those of us still in the work force usually need to make reservations as time is more valuable to us than some of those RVers retired and travelling on their own terms. Then when you also live in a state like California which is so crowded we can't camp on a whim....if we want to use our own beaches we have to book 7 months out get a spot if we're lucky. I look forward to the day when I can just jump in coach and drive in any direction with no timeline or particular distination in mind.....well, I can dream.
Most of our "destination campgrounds" don't have reservations, so, no, we don't make reservations. If our primary back-country "destination", the one at the end of the road probably isn't. The tourists don't like to go that far back in the boonies, where they are an hour or more away from the nearest store, no cell service, no internet, no electricity (oh, no! they might have to run a GENERATOR! or do without), no dump stations, no "security lights", just dark at night with wild animals prowling. Oh, yeah, did I mention, first come, first served, no reservations?
Personally, I love it.
Many of the State and National Parks that take reservations, also keep some sites for 'Walk-Ins"... That includes RV's.... We've found if we get there early in the day (before noon), we can get a spot (weekdays)... but find it sometimes a problem if a summer seekend or holiday, so there we make reservations. This applies mostly to summer months of June, July, August... We had no problem at Yellowstone last year in late August without reservation.. most schools are starting back at that time so fewer families.
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When we are "in-route" traveling to a destination - No reservation. We usually check the Walmart parking list and find a Walmart parking lot where they allow overnight parking. But at the destination area - yes we make a reservation. We usually travel 3 days to get to a destination and stay at the destination several weeks. Use a rv park or state park at the destination area as a base camp for sightseeing in that area, sometimes moving from one rv park to another in the general area.