Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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Campground Crowding: Reader says “Sites like this one” are ruining it! – But we’re only trying to help…

RV sales have skyrocketed and more people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before! In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. Maybe we can find some helpful tips and ways to work around the problem.

Here are a few observations from our readers.

Seeing so much trash and litter is depressing

Bill H. reports on what a lot of folks are commenting on – trash. “We mostly boondock on BLM & NFS land, often with a small group of rockhounds. Even in our remote areas we find trash and litter increasing. We used to pick up the few pieces and add them to our own trash, but now we bring bags to haul out what we can. Glass, tires, mattresses, everything. It’s becoming a dumping ground. It’s depressing.”

Thank you, Bill, for helping us take care of our planet. We encourage all of you to be like Bill and bring extra garbage bags out (when you can and if you’re able) to pick up the litter you see.

Attitude is everything – be polite!

Sometimes it’s the simple things… Misty D. reminds us of that. “My husband and I travel for work so, we take our RV a lot. Most of the time we’re in one place for five to eight months so we have a luxury fifth wheel. Planning well ahead of time is the best way to go about it. We always find a spot. Also, attitude is EVERYTHING. If you’re polite, most likely the park staff will be too.”

All is good on this long road trip

Beverly S. told us about their long RV trip and the lack of problems they have had. “We are currently about 4,000 miles into a 6,000+ mile RV trip. I made reservations at 26 RV parks in January and early February with no problems. Getting reservations in West Yellowstone, Moab and Ouray was not an issue. And, even though we were in Yellowstone in late August, we never waited more than a few minutes at the gate since we went in around 8 a.m. Almost all of the parks, including several KOAs, had spaces empty during our stays there. I think the key is planning ahead and being patient. I didn’t get in the first park I called for every city but found other RV parks nearby. Oh, and during this trip, we have had no issues with other campers in any of the parks. People just seem generally very happy to be out in whatever type of ‘camper’ they’ve chosen to travel with. We’ll definitely be out again next year!”

Overpaying is frustrating!

This isn’t necessarily about campground crowding, but Kathryn A. brings up a valid frustration. She writes, “I have an 8-foot mini camper that just needs to be plugged into a regular plug to use a power strip inside. I can’t tell you how it feels to have to pay the same full price as the big RVs using sewer, water, and way more electricity in one night than I would use in a week.”

Even rustic sites are hard to reserve

Karen A. finds that making reservations for groups is a lot harder. “I call as soon as the window for reserving sites starts only to find most sites reserved, so if trying to plan multiple (four or five) sites for family and friends they are not available. Single sites or two sites can maybe be found but not more. We use rustic sites, no power/water/sewer, and still find it hard to reserve enough sites.

“There are more and more people that do not respect campground rules and feel entitled and are rude. Camping for over 50 years and sad to say it’s gone downhill.”


Don’t miss yesterday’s article: Millions of acres of public lands could be used as campgrounds. The federal government won’t take initiative, but you can. Click here.


Full payment in advance

Ellen L. writes us about those who book “just in case.” She says, “Full payment in advance: this is happening because people have a fear of not getting a site so they panic and book several different places ‘just in case.’ With a small deposit, they have no problem just being a no-show. This is a very popular practice in State parks that allow booking a year or six months in advance. They book the week before in order to be first for the next.

“I’m in many camping groups that host events that encourage members on all of the above selfish habits. But anyway… you can’t blame parks for demanding full payment at reservation when these practices are losing them money.”

Require confirmation

Bonnie W. has a great suggestion for ending the reserved-but-empty campsites. She writes, “I think one way to cut down on reserved but unoccupied spaces would be to require confirmation. The park sends out an email two days prior to the arrival date with a link to confirm arrival. If the camper doesn’t confirm, the site is released with no refund.”

We think this is a good idea. Do you? 
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Filled to capacity in Ontario

Joyce G. writes us about the campground crowding in Canada too. “Northern Ontario has had full campgrounds all summer. It is been pretty much impossible to book campsites prior to Labour Day. Ontario provincial campgrounds have been mostly 100 percent booked. Many campgrounds seem to have gone to mostly seasonal sites leaving very few available sites for non-seasonal campers. On a road trip in August, we saw many campers pulled just off the road camping overnight due to the unavailability of campsites. Even day parks have been filled to capacity.

Is this happening in other parts of the world too? We wonder…

Cost of camping in the good ol’ days

Bob S. remembers the cost of camping in the good ol’ days. “I am 66 years of age. Grew up in a camping family with four kids and a dog. My first job was at 14 at a resort on Lake Barkley, which my family purchased in 1975. Tents, popups, and extremely small RVs (15′) started at $3.50 for four with water and electric. Sewer was just an additional 50 cents! 25 years served and loved it all! So much different then. Bless and be safe.”

Sites like this ruin it!

Oh, no! Is it our fault? A reader who goes by Sdw blames sites like ours, RVtravel.com, for all the campground crowding! “We wouldn’t have campground crowding if it weren’t for sites like this one, and all the bloggers and YouTubers telling everybody how great RVing is without telling them about any of the negatives. And we wouldn’t have campground crowding if people weren’t trying to make money off RVers by putting apps out there that tells where every campground is and everything about it. But that’s ok, in a few years RVing won’t be fun anymore because sites like this one will have ruined it.

*Editor’s note to Sdw: We think you may have missed the point of what we’re trying to do here… 

Now, some questions for you:

• Are you finding more and more campgrounds booked up? Or are you having no problem finding places to stay?

• If campgrounds continue to be crowded and RVing continues to become more popular, will it affect how or when you RV?

• Do you have any tips or secrets you’d like to share about finding campgrounds that aren’t as crowded?

Please use the form below to answer one or more of these questions, or tell us what you’ve experienced with campground crowding in general.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Read last week’s Crowded Campgrounds column here

##RVT1024b

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Vincee
1 month ago

Yeah, when you are sitting in your sticks and bricks it’s pretty easy to confirm Dr appointments, oil changes, maintenance, and the like with great cell service, perhaps still a landline, and probably strong Wi-Fi. But out on the road, that may not be the story. Many who enjoy the RV’ing lifestyle do so to dis-engage from the electronic world. Admittedly you do need a good cell connection while traveling, but that doesn’t always work out and one of the biggest complaints from campers is the quality of Wi-Fi at most campgrounds.

Also, many travelers use second-tier cell providers such as Consumer Celluar, Metro PCS, Total Wireless, Cricket, and a host of others that don’t provide the connectivity or strength of the signal that the big boys like Verizon, A T & T, and T-Mobile.

If a particular campground is so booked and busy, why can’t “They” call or text and confirm reservations like the Dr’s offices do. Email isn’t always available.

Debbie
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Yes I like this idea, too. Customer should be told about email ahead of time, either verbally or written just to cover all the bases

Audrey Egan
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Excellent idea!

Snayte
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Due to a possible lack of cell service I do not think this is a great idea. I do think you should pay for the entire reservation up front and only get a full refund (minus a small service charge) if you cancel in advance.
No shows should get no refund.

Allan Weber
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Yes. It would stop people from reserving sites and not showing up. Also have to pay full price when you make a reservation.

Lindalee Sorrells
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

YES, FOR SURE IT IS!!!

James Gorman
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Yes

Bwodom
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Sadly, we don’t have cell service in every location we visit. I would rather pay for the first night than risk my site being given away because I was in a dead cell zone.

Norman Eichelberger
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Love the idea. You have to confirm Dr’s appointments.

S Otto
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Excellent idea.

Susan
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Yes, this would be a good start and would probably work for most people.

Jesse W Crouse
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Sounds fair.

Richard Yood
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Works for me! It’s only respectful of the park owner who’s trying to accommodate as many travelers as possible.

Linda
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Yes!

Jeff
1 month ago

In my opinion thats not a good idea it is a terrible idea. I have camped in MANY areas without any cell service no matter what carrier you use. On another note, I spent over $80 to plug in and stay at an RV park for 10 hours in Estes Park. yes, I feel like a da*n fool paying that much!

Paul R Gallagher
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

I agree.

DL Jenson
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

No I don’t think that is good…I might be in a area with no service. So agree if they don’t show up by a approved time/date the site is released to first come with no refund to the person who didn’t show up.

Leslie P
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Great idea! I would have zero issues with that. Several state parks lately have been doing that or also known as pre-arrival check-in.

Pierre Schexneider
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Yes

Richard Chabrajez
1 month ago
We think this is a good idea. Do you? " Read more »

Yes – a great Idea!