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Old 06-01-2013, 08:29 AM   #1
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Cg reservations or call ahead on the fly?

Do you guys and gals typically reserve your campgrounds a few weeks out or call ahead an hour or so when travelling? I know it's common sense and I'll get a lot of different answers but I'm trying to get a feel for what to do with the next couple of trips.

Trip 1: Lousiana to KY, end of June, camping will be on a Friday night. My planned stop is somewhere north of Jackson, MS but depending on how early we get out the door etc., I may be able to push a couple of hours further. So... I don't want to reserve anything, but it will be at the end of June (Summertime) Do campgrounds get pretty booked up? (It's not a holiday weekend)

Trip 2: Louisiana to Colorado, mid-October. I only plan on driving at most 7-8 hours/day. Should be off-season and no holidays.

P.S. I could always boondock.. but let's say I just want to use full hookup cg's.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:52 AM   #2
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On our 2-month trip last summer, we mostly didn't reserve sites. I am a planner and would have, but I took the advice from these forums not to mainly because plans may change....as you said, you may want to drive farther. A day or two before leaving a CG, I'd determine where we thought we'd go next and narrow down a CG choice or two. Then, after leaving, I'd call ahead a couple of hours or so before arriving to see if they had something available. Only once did we have to go to choice #2 to find a site. We did, however, have reservations for Custer SD, but even then, we changed our minds about where we wanted to stay and changed our reservation at the last minute even though it was a week before Sturgis. We were able to get a site over Labor Day weekend without a reservation. It would be wiser to reserve for a holiday weekend, but we had some trouble, so didn't know our travel date until the last minute.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:53 AM   #3
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After a long day of driving the last thing I want is to be told "Sorry we're full". Once was enough, I always call ahead at the very least the morning of departure.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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We have a 5 week trip planned and are leaving on June 18th. We have 3 specific destination planned and I made reservations for those nights back in January/February a total of 9 nights. The rest I will be calling ahead either in the morning or around noon of each day when we decide to stop. We also have family we are visiting and will make reservations if they can't take the MH in the driveway.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:39 AM   #5
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We don't always make reservations, but do call ahead to be sure there is room...no big rallys or something similar.
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Old 06-01-2013, 12:08 PM   #6
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Unless we will be visiting a high -volume tourist area we never make reservations ahead. We always plan to get off the road at 3PM to insure we don't have a problem with seeing a "RV park full" sign, and so we have time to relax and unwind, perhaps take a long walk before dinner and a movie at the RV.
We have even went to Yellowstone NP in mid-summer without reservations. When we arrive there is usually at least one night available. Next morning I'm at the office inquiring about cancellations and anyone leaving early. We normally wind up staying a week this way, even if we have to change parking spots once or twice.
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Old 06-01-2013, 01:26 PM   #7
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Hi nomad10th,
I do both. Call ahead (weeks) for reservations when the time spans a holiday week/end or I will be staying longer than a couple of nights. Call ahead a few hours when its' just an overnight stop.
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Old 06-01-2013, 03:38 PM   #8
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We only reserve when we want to stay somewhere for an extended length of time, mainly to avoid having to move spots, otherwise we call ahead when we are considering stopping for the night (or two).

Also found that leaving early, and stopping early (2PM-4PM) we usually have no problem finding a spot.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:44 PM   #9
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It depends. We normally make reservations for our next stop but nothing further in advance. We fulltime and move every 3 to 7 days as a rule so I'm not worried about having to cover a bunch of miles until I'm tired and start looking for a spot. BUt on the other hand we wing it at times as well but have a general idea of where we will stay.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:29 PM   #10
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We are starting a 10 week trip July 13 Dallas thru Asheville New York Niagara Quebec City. Bar harbor Boston
That's 15 camp grounds for the first 7 weeks booked.
Ill book the return journey when I'm at the campground the first time.
I figured this would be a very busy time.
In some if the campgrounds I got the "last spot" or a choice of only a couple of sites.
I think 45' also limits availability a tad
Only 1 campground ice not got a response from at Bar Harbor. If I don't hear by Monday ill have to take a 30 Amp site or go to the other side of the island.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:16 AM   #11
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If you are going to drive late into the eavening you had better plan ahead. We anways start looking for a place to stay about 4PM and call ahead about 30 to 40 min. further up the road.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:43 AM   #12
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I like maximum flexibility and minimum pressure when traveling, especially when choosing where to stay for the night.

My goal is to accommodate road conditions, the weather, mechanical problems, sore backs, moods, attractions on the way, whatever. Reservations made more than a couple of hours in advance reduce my flexibility and raise the pressure on me to honor that reservation. No.

So, each day on the road we decide at what time we'd like to stop for the day. This occurs after a few hours on the road, any time from noon to maybe three in the afternoon. At that time, we decide how much longer we would like to drive, look at the Good Sams book of campgrounds for a location at whatever distance we feel like traveling for the day, and make a call to a likely campground that fits the specs. If no room at that campground, we'll call for the next farthest (or closest, if too far). I've never had a problem with this process.

However, since my friend Murphy always comes along with us on every trip, I do have a Plan B, although I've never had to use it.

Plan B: Knowing some day I may find no room within my chosen time and distance, then I'm prepared to just keep driving until I do find room somewhere up the line. If I ever find I just cannot find a place anywhere, I plan to either just drive all night as may be needed, or find a WalMart or truck stop somewhere, or even an empty parking lot if I just can't hold my head up anymore. I've never had this problem yet, but Murphy is a persistent cuss, so it may happen some day.

Nevertheless, to quote my guiding philosopher Alfred E Newman, "What, me worry?"
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:50 AM   #13
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Following advice from rv forums, we made a trip a few years ago without making reservations. That trip ranks among the least enjoyable we have ever made. Either we would not find a place to stay when we were ready (we do not do Wal-Marts or truck stops), or every place was full, or the only spot available was in the "Degenerate and Child Molester Campground". Driving is not the enjoyable part of our journeys, the stopping is, so we always know when we start in the morning where we will be stopping in the afternoon.
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