Wednesday, March 2, 2016

RV Campwhereiwannabe

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been living the RV lifestyle for almost two years. We have traveled all over the country visiting all the interesting places we have always wanted to see. I think one of the biggest adjustments we​'ve had to make is planning far enough ahead to be able to find suitable parking accommodations for our rig. We never realized how crowded the RV parks and campgrounds would be when we planned this retirement life.

There have been areas we just had to skip, because we could not find a place to stay. Is this normal or are we just a couple old RVers that need to learn a few new tricks?
--Double Parkered in Arizona

Dear Parker:
I think it depends a lot on how you define, “suitable parking accommodations.” There is no question that the whole RV camping industry has embraced the reservation system. From RV luxury resorts to pit toilet forest service campgrounds you can now make site reservations, and many people do.

This has to be a generalized answer because of the huge range of ways in which RVers like to travel. To stay spontaneous, you still need to move around without booking yourself months in advance. To do this successfully you need to be able to roll with the punches. It actually takes more planning to travel without reservations, at the drop of a hat or the spur of the moment.

Willing to dry camp, take available partial hook-ups, or play campground bingo on your computer as you get closer to a destination is a necessary evil.

We seldom use reservations, and we are seldom blocked out, but often we have to move several times around a campground to stay as long as we wish or find nearby dry camping. Another thing that will make a difference is time and experience. Eventually​, you will discover many places you do not even know exist that fit your bill for accommodations. You just have to spend enough time in an area, talk to other RVer’s, search online, read enough articles, and keep good notes.

We can’t even read our Rand McNally because we have so many notations scribbled all over it. If you are in California and someone tells you about a great spot in Florida, write it down. Chances are you are going to be in that area eventually. That tip could come in handy down the road (pun intended).

Joining a club like the Escapees can help both​ with camping and ​also educationally ​thru their seminars. Learning to master the fine art of popular online​ ​reservation systems can also open some doors.

Always talk to park management when trying to shoehorn into a particular park. They often know of situations that may not show up online immediately.

Think of this as a challenge, not a stumbling block. We have found some of our most rewarding, enjoyable, and beautiful camping spots by being forced to think outside the box.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


Merikay said...

We book reservations well ahead for must see places and work around them. I usually call for availability several days ahead at other times. Looking for a place at the last minute can be stressful and more expensive.
Higher price places usually have room! State parks often hold a few drive in only sites. Get there before check out and get in line.

simonsrf said...

We've been on the road for 10 years, and learned very early to not plan or make reservations too far ahead, things change. We are extremely flexible about our accommodations, and prefer to boondock. Most of the time, through research, we find there are way too many options.

electricbuzz said...

Get out of Arizona! We avoid that state. Come to California, we love everybody!

MarvThom said...

We like to time our travel so we can make reservations starting on Sundays when most folks are heading home. We also keep eyes open when traveling, you wouldn't believe how many RV parks don't even know about RV Apps and directorees. Pie Town (Texas, Az, or NM ) had a 6 site set-up with a small sign by the road, (only restaurant in town was closed, so no pie), while Bryson City NC has a motel on a hilltop in the middle of the city with 60 or so sites and mostly summer seasonals and had never heard of a RV Park directory. See a sign, if you've traveled at least 100 miles, take a chance. It can be fun!