Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hubby does not like making reservations

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
Now that so many camping facilities are on some type of reservation system, I think it is important that we begin making arrangements before we begin a trip. My husband, Dan, does not like making reservations. He thinks it puts us on a schedule and forces us to move whether we are ready to or not. If we don’t make reservations we cannot get into many campgrounds that we enjoy. It’s a “Catch 22” and causes many arguments. How can we solve this dilemma?
--Book 'em, Danno, in Delray Beach

Dear Danno:
It is getting harder every year to schedule a trip, or stay where you want, when you want. I just heard of a software program that some campers are using that works similar to an Ebay Auction software. It will actually monitor a reservation site, snag cancelations and keep them open until the users decide whether they want them or not. I have seen people scalping reservations on Ebay and Craigslist for popular sites. Competition for campsites is heating up as more and more RVer’s hit the road. The process of supply and demand continues to increase camping costs, along with government decisions to farm public campgrounds out to concessioners who find it easier to raise pricing and switch to a reservation system. Many people who have been fighting the urge to reserve a site are now finding it much more convenient to secure a few great places, and put themselves on a schedule. The alternative is to constantly play campground Bingo on the computer or show up and hope for an opening. It is all part of the stress of combat camping. In your case you might want to compromise and do a bit of both. Reserve some of the places you both know you want, and wing it with the rest. Not making reservations also forces you to move constantly from site to site when you do get into a park and often move out during busy weekends that have been entirely booked. I know it’s tough when the fish are biting and you have to move on to your next reservation. Welcome to camping in the 21st century. 
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


Anonymous said...

I agree. We travel in Canada and the lower 48 for about 9 months a year. If we want to stay in an area for longer then a couple of days we may call for a reservation 6 months in advance. It is bothersome sometimes as 1 this year we have had to change 3 times. Luckily it was still possible a month out. The rest of the time we run without reservations and once in a great while it causes a minor inconvenience and we stop at a truck stop or a Walmart.

George said...

By the time I pull out of a campground in the morning I have a pretty good idea where I will be by the end of the day. I can usually make a reservation by 10 AM and get what I want. If I wait until I pull into a cg by 5 PM there's not much hope of finding a spot.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I have been traveling for 10 years, up to 6 months at a time. We have made less then 10 reservations during this time and those have been at some national parks. We travel the old highways and blacktop roads, small town America. We have always found camping areas or grounds off the beaten path and some of the nicest people in the world.

Unknown said...

I have been RVing for 11 years, and unless it is coming up on a holiday weekend, I never make reservations. I never know until I get to an area whether I want to stay 1 day or 5 days. National and State Parks are the exception, of course, and they must be booked in advance. And unless you have special needs, i.e. large site only, I have never had a problem getting into a private park. For weekend stays, I will call either Wednesday or Thursday for Friday and Saturday nights.

Anonymous said...

We also do some of both - we generally have a good idea of where we will be, sometimes a year or more ahead but almost always by noon or so which is usually time enough to reserve a site for the night or locate a WallMart or Flying J. What is really annoying to us is the reservation sites, particularly the ones for popular national parks, that will only accept reservations six months out and then the site disappear as you are trying to reserve one. That system is awful!

SolarSteve said...

If you live in the north, just travel in winter. We go from North Idaho down the coast highway to Anza Borrego Park (don't know that one? look it up, few do know it). Lots of winter vacancies, most on lower rates until you get to S Cal area. Weather isn't bad either, if you come from snow areas you appreciate the 80% sunny days.