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Old 01-19-2014, 03:37 AM   #1
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Question Campground Reservations

Becoming new full timers, we are seeking some comments to help us as we travel.

As we are contacting various campgrounds and we find they have different requirements regarding deposits required to accommodate a reservation. Some require a one day deposit while others want the entire stay paid for up front with fairly rigid terms to get your money back if an emergency arises.

We would like to reach out to our new friends in the forum for any comments or advise and possible experiences you would be willing to share. Any information or comments would be helpful and assist us in being better informed.

The questions we have are:

How far ahead should reservations be made at a campground or RV park that will ensure a reasonable level of success in finding accommodations?

How far ahead are reservations generally needed if one wants to "snowbird" in an area for the winter months?

When we were only camping and had a scheduled vacation, this was a no brainer. As full timers, we are realizing the deposits can add up quickly.

Thanks ahead of time for your input.

Safe travels
George and Kay
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:13 AM   #2
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Issues with length of sites at campgrounds

Anyone have issues with the length of the longer RW's and others in getting a site to accommodate?
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:40 PM   #3
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George and Kay,

I can't answer all your questions but I can attempt to answer your question about snow birding. We are in Florida now, in the Sarasota area, we arrived on December 1st and will be here through March 31. We made our reservation last January (2013) almost a whole year ahead.
Many of the parks here have a variety of residents...many park models who are here permanent, several annual leases, LOTS of seasonal leases (4 to 6 months) and not so many monthly (or less) residents. Typically most parks will hold the sites for annual and seasonal guests for them to renew until April 1st, then they open up whats left to new reservations.

As to deposits...most want ~$500 and up, some want the equivalent of one months rent as the deposit. Refunds vary but most will keep a portion of the deposit on a early cancellation, if your cancel 30-60 days prior they typically will be far less generous in the refund.

Hope this helps.

RV4US2... I tell parks we have a 40 foot 5'er, technically it's 38' 10" but it's really closer to 40 with our bike rack. There have been occasions where they advertise a 36' that we have been able to park in but don't always count on it. Typically on those shorter sites you can get your coach in the spot but you can't park your truck there too. Also be aware that not all 40 foot spots are configured for us the get these big rigs into them. Trees, buildings, other campers (especially vehicles) cause you to do some very creative back & forward maneuvers to get into a spot. Sometimes you just have to find another spot.
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:34 PM   #4
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George & Kay,

Having just retired last year this is our first venture into the snowbird lifestyle. We decided to try a couple of parks in different locations to try them out before probably eventually settling on a location.

We started looking about the end of September and had no problem getting spaces at the 2 locations we selected - Indio CA & Mesa AZ. I believe the deposits requested were $300 & $500.

They were generally non-refundable from about 30 days out. Less than 30 days before our first arrival I was contacted to take a cancellation for a surgical procedure I was on the waiting list for. We therefore had to delay departure. No problem, as the campground delayed our arrival and departure dates with charge. The 2nd facility also did the same.
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RV4us2 View Post
Anyone have issues with the length of the longer RW's and others in getting a site to accommodate?
Be sure to check ahead of time as some locations (i.e. some state parks are very cramped, especially for our slide outs.)
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:48 PM   #6
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Been fulltimers for almost 6 years & have not had problems with reservations as much as the parks not being what was perceived on the website. Seems they always picture the one premium site, that's never available, to lure you in. Also "big rig" does not always mean as big as our RWs. Good luck & enjoy your travels!
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:07 PM   #7
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We don't full time, so where we camp for vacations ends up playing a big role for the success of our vacation.

We typically don't have too many issues getting into a campground on the off-holiday times with a few days notice, but to get the prime spots (water front - view) we typically book a year in advance, or with CO state parks - the earliest window is 6 months to they day in advance. Unfortunately, they are cash up front for the state parks, and at least here, the State typically has the better campgrounds over the private.
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:50 PM   #8
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Here's what we found:
Our first trip South in the Winter started in Febuary with no reservations, as we were looking for something long term for the next Winter season.

We started in the Tampa area and worked our way across the State to near Daytona, then started down the Atlanta coast. We would generally call ahead a day or so before we wanted to arrive and asked to stay a week. Worked out fine and we found a park we liked.

To find a place for the entire Winter season can be done within a few months of arrival, BUT you won't have a big choice of sites and may get something you won't be happy with for 5 or 6 months. To get the site you want for the time period you want will require 6 to 12 months advance reservations.

Sure beats Cold and Snow, maybe in another year or so we'll try the South West area.
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:06 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone

WOW!
You guys are amazing! Lots of information for us to consider.
I really do appreciate the input.

We've started our plans for our first trips. While talking the the campground owners (when I actually got an owner), I posed the same questions to them.

My findings match some of the comments you made in reply to me. Holidays must be planned well in advance, special events (sometimes a regional thing) are another consideration and extended stays are sometime competitive with the "regulars" for some of the most well-known areas.

It seems like the higher deposits are demanded from campgrounds where they have had bad experiences with last minute cancelations. Sometimes, a little time spent talking to the owner gets you a somewhat reduced deposit requirement.

Any way, I will continue to check on this occasionally. Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with us.

Be safe in your travels and I look forward to meeting some of you in person.
We are planning on attending the rally in August. Hopefully, some of you will be there.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Gegallant View Post
WOW!
You guys are amazing! Lots of information for us to consider.
I really do appreciate the input.

We've started our plans for our first trips. While talking the the campground owners (when I actually got an owner), I posed the same questions to them.

My findings match some of the comments you made in reply to me. Holidays must be planned well in advance, special events (sometimes a regional thing) are another consideration and extended stays are sometime competitive with the "regulars" for some of the most well-known areas.

It seems like the higher deposits are demanded from campgrounds where they have had bad experiences with last minute cancelations. Sometimes, a little time spent talking to the owner gets you a somewhat reduced deposit requirement.

Any way, I will continue to check on this occasionally. Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with us.

Be safe in your travels and I look forward to meeting some of you in person.
We are planning on attending the rally in August. Hopefully, some of you will be there.
Check out www.campgroundreviews.com RVer's rate by city and state, also Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida State Parks have spacious sites and parks. You can stay a maximum of 14 days per park. A lot of people switch back and forth. I have 6 State Parks near us so it is easy.
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:30 AM   #11
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Thanks
I checked the site out today. Very interesting information and the reviews are very current.
I appreciate the suggestion.
Safe travels
George and Kay
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:51 PM   #12
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If you're not already members, look into joining KOA. I became a member mid-2013 and have stayed at 15 or so campgrounds. All you need to is go on-line and reserve or call the campground you want and reserve over the phone - 1 night stay is all they ask for in advance. The plus of staying in a KOA is yu get what you expect. They're all pretty much the same and are pet friendly.
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:00 PM   #13
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Only problem w/ KOA is more expensive than any other park & most charge for any visitors you might invite.
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:32 PM   #14
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Same concern we have - way too expensive for what you get, at least for the ones we have considered.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:49 PM   #15
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And in my experience...most of the KOA's I've seen are big parking lots, no trees, little sites, etc.
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:40 PM   #16
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And in my experience...most of the KOA's I've seen are big parking lots, no trees, little sites, etc.
We been across the US twice, and while there are some KOA's we won't stay at again, the vast majority are extremely nice, albeit a tad bit too expensive. If a KOA fits into our 150-200 miles per day travels, we don't hesitate to stay there.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:01 AM   #17
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We been across the US twice, and while there are some KOA's we won't stay at again, the vast majority are extremely nice, albeit a tad bit too expensive. If a KOA fits into our 150-200 miles per day travels, we don't hesitate to stay there.

That's the way we look at them too. We prefer the state campgrounds when we can run across them.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:49 AM   #18
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Travel towing time frame

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We been across the US twice, and while there are some KOA's we won't stay at again, the vast majority are extremely nice, albeit a tad bit too expensive. If a KOA fits into our 150-200 miles per day travels, we don't hesitate to stay there.
Since we are new to towing and have only ventured out in very short distances, how long do most travel per day?

We have our first big trip of 1100 miles planned in July, from TX to KY. Normally, we can drive it in two days in a car (one night hotel stay). Use to be able to drive from TX to MI in 22 hours straight with two toddlers in the back. Can't and won't try that anymore!

I think we would have to put in more than 200 miles per day to make it to the destination, I was thinking maybe 6-9 hours of driving. That would give us time to unwind after a harrowing day of newbie driving!

What are your experiences? Should we plan on less travel per day?
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:58 AM   #19
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For us 4 to 5 hours feels like a long day. Its much more stressful when hauling for us anyway. Im sure its a very individual thing.
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Old 05-20-2014, 01:21 AM   #20
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Varies, but generally we travel 5-7 hours. We added solar so we could stop anywhere, get some sleep and continue. We just traveled 550 miles, Norman, Ok. to Des Moines, Ia. in 13 hours. But pulled off the road for 4 hours for a nap and a snack.
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