2014 Thor Palazzo 33.3 DP
with 4 bike Rack, BlueOxAlpha tow bar, and 2014 Ford FiestaSE...
Since June 2014 we have traveled 18,000 miles across country, twice, and have stayed at more than 150 different 'places'...
Here's our typical 'agenda' when choosing a place to 'park'...
* How long will I be there? Is it just for an overnight stay off the interstate, to dump tanks, etc? Or is it for an extended stay in an area where we might be visiting? These will play into your decisions on where to stay...
: PassportAmerica, certainly if you are on a budget. $44 annual membership with 50% MANY rv parks and campgrounds around the country. There are some exceptions: each park can set it's own rules, such as 'not applicable on weekends', only for a maximum of 2 nights, not during the months of Dec - April, etc. But many also have no restrictions on the discount. We start our search with PA on my smartphone APP to see if any are within our travel range for the day.
: GoodSam - annual membership gets you about 10% off the standard price. They also have a great smartphone APP that shows you not only GS parks, but also others in the areas you are traveling.
to INTERSTATE or Main Roads - especially for one-nighters. You don't want to find your park is actually over a mountain pass on a single lane dirt road several miles from the main road! (unless, of course, you like that sort of thang!)
: I never want to find a parking place that I may not reach until after dark, no matter the price or discount. Any of us who have run into issues trying to 'find' the 'easy to find' park will attest to this. Backing at night, finding the assigned site number, etc are not easy in the dark.
'overview' of the park or area you are heading to. It's nice to get a beforehand idea of what you are to expect, though it's not foolproof. And, don't let Apple or Google maps be the final GPS directions that you depend on. Do your homework and look carefully at every entrance and road to the park. Many times GPS maps may try to send you to a 'closed' or old entrance that is no longer correct!
: Seems like a no brainer - why pay to park and not have electricity?? I will attest that many State and National Parks seem cheap and attractive, but have no 'facilities' to speak of, only a parking place.
Just sayin'...especially if you are going to be there a while
H)Large sites, wide sites, easy entry - PULL THROUGHS
(even if you don't always need a pull thru site, they are the easiest site when you are only staying for a night and don't want to 'unhook' your tow vehicle)
- if you don't have your own Satellite system
I didn't mention SEWER and WATER
. These two are available at most, I dare say all?, parks and campgrounds, at least at a Dump/Water station if not at every site. Even State and National Parks that have nothing at the sites will have a Dump/Water station as your are leaving the park.
Believe me, EVERY park and campground is different. And, there are a lot of camping 'sites' that may not even show on the net or maps, they are just there off the interstate. We don't typically use those since there is no information ahead of time to gauge their fit for our situation, or to know the price ahead of time.
FREE Parking Lots
: Walmart parking lots/Sams, etc... I have heard that many people use these almost exclusively while traveling long distances. It's great to have these, and we have used the option several times. I typically will contact the Manager and let them know we are a customer and may have to park overnight. They usually have no problem and just let us know to not look like we are 'camping' - no slides out, no Sat dishes out, etc. and stay near the outside edge of the lot as far from traffic as possible. Even stores that have the dreaded 'No Overnight Parking' signs are usually for the SemiTrucks that block traffic, not for paying customer RV owners. MALLS and Truck Stops are another option.
FREE other options
: We have also used corporate building parking lots, especially when there is room at the far back or rear of the building away from street traffic. There are a lot of options for parking places if you are willing to 'think out of the box'. If you start looking, you will usually find RVs in places you might not normally think of.
: We have found that some Interstate Rest Stops have Dump Stations. Not most, but some. We have also found a lot of Motorhomes that overnight here.
(photo: Grand Canyon RV Park, full hookups, free snow - 01/13/15)