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Old 12-01-2012, 07:55 AM   #1
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To reserve or to not reserve, that is my question

We're pretty new to the RVing lifestyle, and in planning our first major cross-country and back this spring/summer is it advisable to thoroughly plan the trip and make reservations at every stop. Or, is it just as viable to "wing-it" and only make reservations at our planned destinations and hope for a spot each night along the way.

Our plans include a mix of camp grounds and RV Parks. We have no plans or desire to make any overnight Walmart and/or rest area stop-overs.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:12 AM   #2
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Not need for overnight stops.
Recommend for Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. Most places require a 3 day reservation for those.
And for destinations if in a heavy tourist area.

If you had reservation for every night and and had problems that set you back a day. It would be a nightmare calling and changing all the other reservations.
And most want a cancellation several days ahead. Or no deposit given back.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:25 AM   #3
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John, Susan, and (of course) Coby:

G'morning. My wife, Lynette, and I have been on the road full time since 05 and have bounced around pretty extensively in our MH towing a small car. While there have been instances when we've "reserved" a parking spot when we've known we were going to stay in some area for a longer period of time, we don't generally reserve a spot. Rather, we'll generally head out around 9 or 10 a.m. from most overnight spots and around 2 or 3 p.m. while traveling down the road, we kind of decide where down the road we'd likely want to call it a day. Then as we're moving down the road Lynette will look up possible campgrounds around the general area we figured we stop at and she'll pick two or three parks (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.) and will give em a call to see if they have space and to obtain info about the place, and to get solid directions. During 7 yrs. of traveling in this manner, we can't recall even an instance of having a problem.

Now, if it's a holiday, or if some big event is occurring ya might want to call ahead earlier than 2 or 3 p.m. Also, most often, if you arrive a spot where you decide you'd probably want to spend more than an overnight cause it feels right and there seems to be so much you'd like to see or do before moving on, most campgrounds will be more than happy to extend your stay for 1, 2, 3 days or longer if you want.

We strongly feel that trying to plan all your stops and make all kinds of reservations ahead of time REALLY ties you up and makes you a slave to some schedule. DON'T DO IT!!!

Have a great trip.

Steve & Lynette
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:25 AM   #4
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We research where we want to stay and I call a day in advance. I don't want to get some place and not have a spot. You'll hear from people who do it all kind of ways. Do what you're comfortable with. I think its essential in popular areas at peak times and for longer stays to make reservations.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:26 AM   #5
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Reservations

On a planned trip we never leave in the morning without a planned destination with reservations. The thing to decide is a range of many miles you like to travel per day. Then check your map and camping guide and plan accordingly.
This takes the pressure off as the day light shortens.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:38 AM   #6
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With all the RV apps in our phone, we wing it all the time. We'll just pick an area down the road generally based on time of day. DW will research a bit and make a few calls and secure a site. Of course where we have planned longer stays, we will reserve.

You of course have to watch holidays and those areas of high seasonal use. eg: don't plan on cruising the Keys in winter without reservations.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chickadee View Post
John, Susan, and (of course) Coby:

G'morning. My wife, Lynette, and I have been on the road full time since 05 and have bounced around pretty extensively in our MH towing a small car. While there have been instances when we've "reserved" a parking spot when we've known we were going to stay in some area for a longer period of time, we don't generally reserve a spot. Rather, we'll generally head out around 9 or 10 a.m. from most overnight spots and around 2 or 3 p.m. while traveling down the road, we kind of decide where down the road we'd likely want to call it a day. Then as we're moving down the road Lynette will look up possible campgrounds around the general area we figured we stop at and she'll pick two or three parks (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.) and will give em a call to see if they have space and to obtain info about the place, and to get solid directions. During 7 yrs. of traveling in this manner, we can't recall even an instance of having a problem.

Now, if it's a holiday, or if some big event is occurring ya might want to call ahead earlier than 2 or 3 p.m. Also, most often, if you arrive a spot where you decide you'd probably want to spend more than an overnight cause it feels right and there seems to be so much you'd like to see or do before moving on, most campgrounds will be more than happy to extend your stay for 1, 2, 3 days or longer if you want.

We strongly feel that trying to plan all your stops and make all kinds of reservations ahead of time REALLY ties you up and makes you a slave to some schedule. DON'T DO IT!!!

Have a great trip.

Steve & Lynette
Ditto on all counts.... except for the "don't do it part"... you may do what you like.

The only time we can recall having a problem was on our trip this past summer. We thought we'd overnight in Cheyenne, Wy and called ahead when we were about 100 miles out. It turns out they were in the middle of "Frontier Days" and there wasn't a spot to be had so we had to drive another 50 miles to find a place.

Rick
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:53 AM   #8
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I agree with most of what's been posted here. Also , you'll find most CG's have cancelation penalties that require two weeks notice with some to avoid them. Difficult to travel with these restrictions.

We've traveled 82,000 miles with very few advance reservations. We call a CG and ask how booked they are a day before we get there and again on the way.

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Old 12-01-2012, 08:55 AM   #9
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Great topic. Would that idea work if I wanted to travel around Florida and S.C. maybe Georgia in Feb. and March?
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
is it advisable to thoroughly plan the trip and make reservations at every stop
It depends. If you are not picky about where you stay, and not on a schedule there is probably no reason for reservations. If you are, however, traveling in short season areas (like north of Ohio River lattitudes), New England, or along the east coast, you may want to reserve your spots, especially for weekends. Some short season areas have limited campground space and when the weather starts to warm, campers can fill all the available campground sites in a hurry. As others have said, anytime near holidays or anywhere around popular recreation areas during the summer probably require reservations.

We typically do a six month journey every year, parked a couple weeks or more in our major stopping points. We make reservations for those stops when we are sure where we are going, sometimes months in advance. For overnights we typically reserve a few days to a week in advance. I am not interested in overnighting in a parking lot or an "ok for just a night as long as the doors are locked" campground so we try to pick a desirable place to stay. If plans change, calling to cancel/modify a reservation is no big deal. There may be some cancellation charges but our plans change so rarely that they are not worth worrying about.

Bottom line - do what you feel comfortable with. Have a safe trip.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:02 AM   #11
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We only make reservations on holiday weekends or for a special event that we may be going to and our Florida trip in the winter. When we went cross country, there were places we came across that looked interesting, so we stopped. Sometimes, we stayed for several days, sometimes overnight. We had several sources for seeing what was up the road, so we would call and see if there was availability and there always was. Making reservations takes the spontanaity(sp?) out of the trip. Enjoy!
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:09 AM   #12
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Great topic. Would that idea work if I wanted to travel around Florida and S.C. maybe Georgia in Feb. and March?
It would be okay in SC and Georgia, but Florida might be tough. The northern part of Florida isn't as bad, but the further south you go the harder it gets to find a spot, as well as more expensive.
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