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Old 08-16-2014, 09:57 AM   #15
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Back in January, before I purchased my coach, I rented a unit and drove to Key West to visit my sister staying at a condo. I had no reservations and yet found a spot at Boyd's for almost a week. They were most accommodating. I probably could have stayed longer but it was a quick vacation so needed to get back.

I personally like traveling without worrying about reservations and being there at a specific time but agree with others, Friday, Saturdays are tough without reservations. At least during the summer months.
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Old 08-16-2014, 10:14 AM   #16
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Good topic and I think we are in good company with traveling without reservations. We generally make reservations at our destination location but for the travel days especially on new routes we wait until we are ready to stop. Sometimes we don't find a CG in our immediate location so we have to drive an additional hour or two until we find something we like but that's generally not a problem for us.

It hasn't happened often since we don't make many reservations, but I really dread the thought of making a reservation and it turns out to be sub standard or bare bones CG (sometimes the pictures & reviews are apparently out of date) and then we see something much more suited to our preferences after we are already locked into a reservation. We have occasionally been caught without a CG within range when we wanted to stop for the night, buy we simply look for a rest area, truck stop or wide spot in the road and get take a break.

The DW has never had an issue with this approach that she has voiced but at times I know she would like to have a little more structure. We both do a lot of give and take and it works our great for us.
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Old 08-16-2014, 10:20 AM   #17
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You will have a much higher success rate of getting there by the end of the day if "there" is not defined.
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Old 08-16-2014, 10:28 AM   #18
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We always make reservations. We tried winging it a couple years ago from Yellowstone home to Southern California, and had no problems finding a spot, but the spots weren't great. We found that the need to spend our time "finding a room for the night" detracted from our enjoyment of the days journey. Now we just drive shorter distances, so we can take advantage of "finds" along the way and still have the nights parking place planned. We rarely drive 2 days in a row so we always want a place we can relax and enjoy.
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Old 08-16-2014, 11:00 AM   #19
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Most of the time we make reservations. I personally like having a destination to shoot for each day. We have done the no reservations thing and were stuck with staying at not-so-nice places. For us it really depends on time of year (holidays) etc. Personal choice
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Old 08-16-2014, 11:25 AM   #20
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When we are out for our annual 4 week trip, DW plans the trip around were we want to be......generally we only drive 100-200 miles when we move from CG to CG....so for the most part, yes we do make reservations. Although we had to cancel the trip this year because of an injury, while making them in January we were told that 3 specific CG were near full due to a week long country music festival going on. So in some cases it makes sense to make the reservations where you plan to spend time. But if your driving 6 or more hours what's the point?
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Old 08-16-2014, 12:11 PM   #21
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Best place!

We were in Colorado last Month, in a area we had never visited before.. The sun was low in the sky, so we started looking for a place to stay.. One cg was in the middle of a small town, the other was about 2 miles back the other way. Then we drove around the mountain, and their was a ^ campground! we stopped for the night. At about midnight, I was outside with a flashlight checking the 1950's fuse box with my volt meter. Ha-Ha. The next morning we got back on the road, drove about 10 miles, and came upon the most beautiful rv campground. We keep a road diary of good places to eat, and rv campgrounds, so we wrote the place down for maybe next time. Everybody wants to stay in a nice place, that's part of the enjoyment of camping. When we were in Alaska, we called ahead for reservations, ended up in a all gravel, no trees, parking lot, with a busy street next to us. Ha-ha again!
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Old 08-16-2014, 12:15 PM   #22
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To the OP,
Well Sir, to answer your question semi-accurately, there's a lot of "ifs" involved. One of the primary points in whether to make reservations or not is, the destination at the end of the day or, drive, whichever comes first. By that I mean, if your destination is say, a potentially crowded area/campground/RV park/National Forest area/big city/big tourist destination etc., then yep, you might want to make some reservations.

Another point is, is it "summer"? Now, in the "old days", when summer came around, it seemed like the entire planet, and all families, headed out for camping/traveling/boating/RVing/ and more so, trying to WING a spot on a no-reservation intinerary, especially in places like the Sierras in Northern CA, one would have an almost NO CHANCE of just finding a spot, on a whim. And, one always used to say, again, back in the old days, "wait 'till Sept comes around and, all the kids will be back in school and, you'll find plenty of spots open".

Well, yeah, it used to be like that. But, in todays world, there's zillions of "Year-round" schools. And, there's this new generation that think standard schooling is no good and, therefore, there's a ton of "home schooling" practice also going on. Well, with that kind of situation, there is now "No regular summer season" any more. Meaning, you'll find kids and families, lots of them, in multiple campgrounds, all over the U.S., at all times of the year. So, you'll have to contend with that.

Another important point, there's always the "Snow birds". Those are the ones that take up, many south western camping area spots, for months at a time and, those folks have had their "reservations" in for years in advance. And, those "Snow birds" don't just come from the eastern, colder areas of the U.S. Now, don't take offence to this you northern people, but, many snow birds come from Canada. Talk about an influx of people. We've camped in many So CAL areas and, AZ areas that were almost completely filled with Canadians. So, there's that to contend with.

And finally, there's the "Retirees" of America and, other counties. It seems there's more and more of "us" out there. And, you can tell many of them by their campsite/RV spot. There's flower pots, small fences, decorations in the surrounding plants/trees etc. You know, stuff that's going to be there for a while.


So, my point, in terms of making reservations, for a given area or, destination, there's quite a few thing to take into consideration. Now, about 95% of the time, we don't make reservations, no matter where we're headed. But, that other 5% of the time, we have to consider, time of year, area, potential populous of a popular spot/area, event's like rallies that may be happening, "hot air balloon event" and many other things to consider. If any of those even "Might" be taking place, then we'll make some reservations. But, for the most part, we wing it.

And, since being retired and, not have a time frame or, agenda for the most part, we may only travel for a few hours and light into a spot, at say, maybe around 1:00-2:00 in the day. That usually works great 'cause we usually get our choice of spots in many places and, we "beat" the other Wing-it folks out there that usually mosey on in, around 5:00 or later.
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Old 08-16-2014, 03:16 PM   #23
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Usually depends on where we are going. Places like Fort Wilderness require far in advance and Sturgis (75th)2015 need to be made now. Other trips we usually reserve at the destination and allow time to and from to view the sights that interest us.
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Old 08-16-2014, 04:56 PM   #24
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We usually call day of, unless it is a holiday weekend.
Research the night before to get a idea what is available.
Middle of the day we have a good idea where we want to stay for the eve.
Never had much of any trouble. Summer time is a little harder as are
Weekends.a lot of time when we make reservations days in advance we make
better time and would like to go farther than expected.
We have all the books and aps. Good luck. Stay safe and flexable!
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:37 PM   #25
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If it is a long trip we wing it like you do, because we never really know what we may want to stop and see along the way. There have been a few times where we have been "stuck" in an Indian casino parking lot or Walmart, but thats a part of the fun adventure.....Mike
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:05 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwelveVolt View Post
You will have a much higher success rate of getting there by the end of the day if "there" is not defined.
Truer words.

The times I've winged it I take my final destination and divide the miles up by the days I have to get there. That gives me XXX miles per day to arrive. Once I make that number then I decide to keep going or stop. If I don't make the number, I saw something interesting, tired, etc. then I can make it up later.

Besides being able to look up the local CGs through Google and RVParkreviews.com, I have an app on my phone called RV Parky, it shows me rest stops, Flying J and TA truck stops, Walmarts, state parks and campgrounds. It's a great app that I use regularly not just to drop the camper but if I want lunch in a state park, I can see if one is close.

To anyone going on the fly I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:10 PM   #27
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The sun was low in the sky, so we started looking for a place to stay..
Our method involves getting up whenever it suits us, setting out 10 or 11am, driving until about 3pm at the very latest and then start looking for a spot for the night. Once it is dark, the job is 10 times harder.
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:20 PM   #28
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Fishlake in Utah? If so, it's worth the drive! Have lunch at the little restaurant at Bowery Haven Resort.

To answer you question, like many others...it depends. We like to stay in Nat. Parks & State Parks if at all possible so I will make reservations ahead of time in those but just for overnights on the road, I usually don't.

We'll have an idea of how far we're going to drive and I'll look for CGs in that area & call a couple of hours before we get there and make a reservation.
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