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Old 08-08-2018, 07:12 AM   #1
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Free-Styling Vs. Booking

Curious as to how folks here plan for longer trips. When we first got a HM ten years ago I envisioned lots of wandering on longer (>1000 mile) trips -- Choose an end-point destination, plot a general route, and off you go. At least that was the vision. But in actual practice I wind up pre-booking 95% of our stops. I guess I am always worried about not being able to get into a park on short notice. Obviously this is necessary at popular locations and during peak seasons, but I wonder if I am over-doing it? I don't mind the planning, its actually a fun part of the process. As example, from Tampa, FL we are headed to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque in October then onto Branson for the NKK event in November. Total of 47 days on the road and 12 states. All but 4 of those days are now booked. Too much?
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:26 AM   #2
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Different strokes for different folks. I'm a tad OCD and look at my planning like a pilot. I want to know where and how I'm going along with what it will look like when I get there.

I book in advance but how far depends on a few factors. In some cases if it is a popular place and I don't want any "alternatives" then I book 1-2 months in advance. In effect, those kinds of situations are my "must go" places. The same goes for places where alternatives are limited or non-existent.

OTOH, for our transit stops (one night stays) we tend to Wallydock or other such places if we can't find a reasonably decent place with a quick pull through. Those are the cases were we might make reservations 1 or 2 days in advance.

It also does depend on our familiarity with an area. We now have a better feel for some places/areas where we must plan well in advance and others were it isn't such a big deal.

One thing we have never done is roll into a CG and see if they have a spot. We spend a couple months at a campground near Champaign, IL to get all our annual medical stuff done and spend time with the family. I can't count the number of times I've seen folks roll in and be told there is no room.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:32 AM   #3
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I have found that a lot depends on RV length ... at 45 ft. I always book ahead. When we had a 37 footer the risk was much lower.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:56 AM   #4
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IMHO Keith you are not overdoing anything. We preplan routes, places to stay, and most fuel stops. Just pulling into a CG at 4pm to check for an open site is a little risky I would think. By calling ahead weeks or even months ahead of time you are set and they have your contact information.

I agree with the other poster that it also somewhat depends on what size RV you are traveling in. We are pretty long and some CGs can't accommodate us and our toad. I suppose if we ever traveled in a small Class C or something like that we could consider just blindly wandering around the country, just not in our rig.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MD-Keith View Post
Curious as to how folks here plan for longer trips. When we first got a HM ten years ago I envisioned lots of wandering on longer (>1000 mile) trips -- Choose an end-point destination, plot a general route, and off you go. At least that was the vision. But in actual practice I wind up pre-booking 95% of our stops. I guess I am always worried about not being able to get into a park on short notice. Obviously this is necessary at popular locations and during peak seasons, but I wonder if I am over-doing it? I don't mind the planning, its actually a fun part of the process. As example, from Tampa, FL we are headed to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque in October then onto Branson for the NKK event in November. Total of 47 days on the road and 12 states. All but 4 of those days are now booked. Too much?
But ten years ago there were only half as many RVs on the road, and the recession was beginning. Times have changed greatly. Book, book, book! Plus I'm ten years older, and much less tolerant of having to drive late into the evening searching for a campground! My 2Ę.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:06 AM   #6
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Iím with the OCD group. I plan all longer stays at popular places during peak times. We wing it if we are just looking at an overnight stop. Never know how long I may want to drive in a day. Havenít done the ďWallydockĒ thing yet, but are planning something like that for first night next month when we head west.
In the past, my wife would locate and contact a CG along our route for overnight stop when I decided how much longer I wanted to drive.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:11 AM   #7
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Weíre on the ocd group, stops planned and booked months head and on the calendar
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:25 AM   #8
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In June we finished a 45-day 4,000 mile 20-state trip and I pre-booked every stop. 22-stops including 1-night transit stops. We don’t do the free transit stops.

After we got home we felt that it was too rigid a schedule. It provided assurance that we had a place for the night while giving up flexibility and freedom.

We’re in the planning stages for our fall trip now and planning on winging it about 50% of the nights.

But we’re also going to Albuquerque to Balloon Fest and booked all the dates around that event a full year ago.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:49 AM   #9
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After 40+ years rving all over lower 48 we seldom make reservations way ahead. Though I plan out destinations, fuel stops, and identify acceptable CGs along the way I do Wallydock for 1 nighters. I do make reservations on the road when I need CG facilities by calling same day. I have arrived at CGs in the past and no vacancy for my rig.
I plan, plan, plan and then still change my mind at times if something looks interesting. Freedom is rving.

Enjoy - Richard
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:19 AM   #10
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Both of us are still full time working so adventures are time limited with every stop (CG, food and fuel) is planned and reservations made as far in advance as possible.

Looking forward to the day that we can just drive until we see a nice place to stop for a night or two. Bucket list is traveling the length of US50 or US62 for example doing no more than 250 miles or less a day.
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:26 AM   #11
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Hi - We are full timers and only book ahead for Labor Day, 4th of July and Memorial Day weekends. The rest of the time we go where we want and on our schedule. That's why we have wheels! Never been caught short in 7 years of full time and many more before that as part timers. It's really a matter of personal comfort.


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Old 08-08-2018, 09:58 AM   #12
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We book most trips. I think this year we ate 60$ in cancellations.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:09 AM   #13
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We are picky full timers and plan every stop well in advance. We try to stay at least a week everywhere we go as DH still works F/T and we must stay in cell and data range, plus we only have nights and weekends to do stuff.

At 7 miles per gallon of diesel, no way am I just driving around just pulling into campgrounds to see if there is a spot.

I donít like to do all this planning in advance and am actually struggling with it right now because I donít even know where I want to be in 6 months. Almost all campgrounds charge if you make and cancel a reservation so I donít just make ressies willy nilly, and if I wait too long to decide where to go next the decent mid range places and state parks are booked up. I am behind in my planning right now and it is kind of stressing me out which is the exact opposite of how this lifestyle is supposed to work.

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Old 08-08-2018, 10:13 AM   #14
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At a campground last month I met a fulltimer couple that have every night planned from now til the end of September 2019. They probably have October 19 planned out by now.....

Lynn
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