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.
Last week we struck a nerve
Last week we published a comment from a reader asking the dealers to “stop selling RVs to folks under 50.” That certainly caused some comments and struck a nerve, particularly with those under 50! Here are a few of those responses:
RV Mama replied, “I think just the opposite. Stop selling RVs to senior citizens! They can’t handle rigs with their slowed reaction times. Send them to senior living facilities instead. Campgrounds aren’t equipped to handle their senior problems.”
Deborah M. replied thoughtfully, “I was saddened by the comment to ‘stop selling RVs to folks under 50.’ That’s too much of an ‘I got mine; bleep you’ attitude. I grew up camping and didn’t get the bug until my dad bought a small Class A when I was 21. My brother and sister were 14 and 10 and my dad was well under 50. Why would you want to deny a young family the joy of RV camping? It opened up the seasons and places we could explore. It’s not an age-defined lifestyle; it’s a lifestyle that can be enjoyed at any age. And the party-hearty folks come in all ages.”
Paul B. does have a point. He writes, “To Mike J., who feels that campground crowding can be solved if we ‘stop selling RVs to folks under 50 years old.’ The under 50 crowd can barely manage two or three weeks of fun a year. Sorry for impinging on the 52-week paradise you demand of the rest of us. How would you feel if the healthcare crisis solution was to stop selling healthcare to those over 50? After all, they’re using up all the spaces.”
Need more positivity!
Sue has a suggestion for us. She says, “I have a tip for RVtravel.com. How about more positive stories and articles? This forum seems to be full of complaints and people criticizing how others camp. Yes, campgrounds are crowded, yes, some people don’t pick up after their dogs and on and on. I, for one am tired of reading all about how horrible it is to camp these days and want to hear about a great park someone stayed at, or ideas to improve my camping experience.”
Dan replied to Sue about being more positive. “I agree. I’d much rather read good than bad. Pointing out problems is too easy. I’d rather see more articles on positive experiences. Less curmudgeon, more Pollyanna.”
OK! I hear you! Please send some of your favorite campgrounds, favorite places to camp and your best camping memories too. I would love to publish them. You can submit them here.
Full payment in advance
John M. points out that it can be difficult to make full payment in advance. He says, “So far this year, two RV parks have asked for payment in full in order to make reservations: the Golden Shore RV Resort in Long Beach, CA, and Pismo Beach RV park in CA. This is unnecessary, as sites such as Airbnb take an initial deposit, then as one approaches the cancelation triggers the deposit increases. Full payment made several months in advance is difficult.”
It’s not necessarily hoarding…
Julie L. writes about procrastination and hoarding: “We used to be able to plan summer trips at the first of the year. Now if we procrastinate, we have to plan based on availability. We get lucky sometimes and find cancellations. It’s not the easiest but we try to be flexible. One note about empty sites is that some places require a minimum night reservation for certain times—weekends or holidays. So when you see empty sites, it isn’t necessarily someone hoarding campsites. We had a site booked for New Year’s weekend and had to book a day before our arrival—we had no choice but to book more than we needed.”
Playing it by ear
Micheal W. usually “plays it by ear” and only books his favorite sites. He says, “As we head out for the Gulf Coast this morning we have began planning our summer trips. There are a couple of campgrounds in the hotspots of northern Michigan we will be making reservations to ensure we get our favorite sites. We could wait until just before we want to camp there but ‘our site’ would be reserved. Yes, there are plenty of other sites but we like the bridge and island view offered by those sites. Other than that, our trips are not scripted in the summer.
“As for the Gulf trip we are starting on this morning, we did make reservations for the first two months and we’ll play it by ear for the last month. Never had a problem doing it like this. Most of our reservations this winter were to make sure we got the site we like. We did have one park cancel due to storm damage. Getting another reservation at the last minute was not a problem.”
Hard for the campground managers too
Helene V. writes to us from the other side of the check-in desk: “I am a property manager for a family-owned campground near Hershey, PA. This past year has been tough. Lots of first-time campers with lofty expectations (one camper expected us to have a birthday present waiting at her site for her daughter!). More flagrant destruction of property than any past years, the culprits usually being bored kids who need adult supervision and aren’t getting it.
“Many angry adults who ‘have had a rough year’ and don’t want to be told how to behave in a community setting. It can be disheartening when you work physically hard trying to keep a campground looking lovely, and people tell you how nice it is while throwing trash on the ground in the same breath. What keeps us going? The folks who have been camping for years and respect where they are and are grateful for a clean facility, and tell us so.”
Thank you, Helene, for sharing this and doing so much to make our camping experiences wonderful. Without the campground owners, managers, camp hosts and all the people that it takes to run a campground we would indeed be camping in our backyard.
Now, some questions for you:
• Are you finding more and more campgrounds booked up? Or is finding a place to stay not a problem?
• 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 join me in my forum to discuss your answer to these questions. Maybe other RVers have a solution for you!
Read last week’s Crowded Campgrounds column here: Stop selling RVs to folks under 50