Is 11 a.m. too early a checkout time?

101

By Chuck Woodbury
I have stayed in many RV parks where the checkout time is 11 a.m. Nothing unusual about that, right? Par for the course. Now, 11 a.m. is the checkout rule at motels and hotels. They need time to make the beds and clean the toilets before the next guest shows up. Makes sense.

POLL BELOW

But RV parks? Personally, I have yet to find an RV park that offers to make my bed or clean my toilet before the next customer pulls in. When I de-park at 11 a.m., the site is ready for the next guy at 11:01.

So why the early checkout? It’s because few people in the RV park industry have figured out that’s a crummy, unfair, stupid, ridiculous, customer-unfriendly time. What will it cost a park for me to stay an extra two hours? Hmmm. . . let me think. Okay, I know: next to nothing!

But no, they want us gone ASAP, even though we pulled in the night before at dusk and plopped down half a day’s wages with the idea of getting a good night’s sleep – maybe sleeping in – and then lounging around with our coffee and croissants while the kids or grandkids play Marco Polo in the pool.

Here’s my suggestion
Let’s start a movement. The next time you make a reservation at an RV park, ask about the checkout time. If it’s 11 a.m. tell them you will gladly oblige if they promise to make your bed and clean your toilet before you depart. If they won’t, then tell them you will stay at Walmart, where you can remain all day if you want, and for free.

And while you’re at it, if you are directed to a site with neighbors so close to yours that you end up listening to the guy next door hack and snore all night, then when you leave tell the manager that the spaces are too cramped and you will never return. And if you are given a site that’s not even close to level, ask for another one, or request a 50 percent discount for hill camping, or demand a bulldozer.

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101 Comments
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sandy
6 months ago

We’re retired a we sip our coffee in the morning , then breakfast and showers and dress. If I have to be out by 11 we’re rushing and sometimes eating along the road

DENNIS J CHARPENTIER
6 months ago

I can understand that 11 is a fair checkout when check in is noon at an ultra busy park like Fort Wilderness at Disney where the likelihood of someone checking in is high. But on Sunday at a run of the mill campground, no one should look twice if you leave in the early afternoon, say 2:00.

David Stansbury
7 months ago

You can’t check in most places til 3:00pm but you have to check out by 11:00am. Not right. If the campgrounds needed the time to tidy up, maybe, but I haven’t seen that happen anywhere yet.

Pierre Woody
7 months ago

Our provincial parks check-out time is 3pm and it’s perfect, because we pay to stay the night, not to stay during the day. Check-in is 3pm-10pm. The daily access card lets us use the park including the beach all day, even after 3pm, so after 3pm our rig is moved to the beach parking lot.

Larry Boswell
7 months ago

1:00 p.m. is a reasonable time at RV parks. 11:00 a.m. doesn’t give enough time to enjoy the morning. BTW I couldn’t find the poll; the marker POLL BELOW featured a dozen eggs.

Glenn
6 months ago
Reply to  Larry Boswell

I guess things got a little scrambled.

Joel and Betty Hagler
7 months ago

The RV Parks here in Socal are all 11:00 check out…..and some are 3:00 check-in. What a ripoff. One even charges you money for coming in early. At $80. per that is $3.33 per hour on 24 hour day. So out at 11 and in at 3 it costs us 4 hours or $13.00+ .
We get discounts for our club (or Good Sam) so it is not too bad.
Some parks won’t let you in before 11, and make you wait outside.
But we go and suffer because we want to RV camp every month.
One park charges $30. to ‘guarantee’ your reserved space will not be moved.
Phooey

Byron White
7 months ago

I am with you on the time to check out and the reason for it. However snide remarks about the spot don’t work. Find a place to write about the site for the next person to know ahead. That would be the most productive. Don’t act nasty in your review or you will just be taken as a jerk that did not get something he wanted.

Linda
7 months ago

Personally, we don’t see anything wrong with an 11:00 A.M. check out time. My biggest peeve is that the park closes the restrooms from 10 A.M. til 1 P.M. so we have no access when we are ready to pull out.

thomas breeden
7 months ago

We are flexible on a day we do not have one coming in for sure,but do not like being taken advantage of—

Steve S.
7 months ago

Their park.
Their rules.
Vote with your wallet.
But, from what I’ve been reading lately, RV parks have more than enough people wanting those limited resources called camping spots, so no loss to them.
We are mostly monthly campers for a ‘long’ weekend.
We would prefer longer stays, but work and other responsibilities prevent longer camping trips more frequently.
We take Friday’s off from work once a month.
Sometimes its comp time, sometimes its PTO.
Either way, we prep the camper Thursday evening, then final load and on the road by 11am or Noon on Friday.
We get to the campground early enough that we have enough time to relax after the setup.
We are full-time Florida residents, and we stay primarily at Florida State Parks.
Usually within a 2 – 3 hour drive from home.
Florida state parks have a 3pm check in. 1pm check out.
They are relatively inexpensive per day, so I typically book an extra day (Mondays).
That way, we can leave whenever we want on Sunday.
Typically around 3pm.
This gives all of those who wait until 1pm to leave to clear the only dump station in the campground (some sites have a dump sewer line, but most do not).
So by 2pm most everyone is gone, and we can leisurely leave.
Sometimes we have decided that we are enjoying it so much that we take Monday off work too and have that extra day of camping.

WEB
7 months ago

OK, where did ALL the comments go? Yesterday I read MANY comments and today there are only 30 or so listed here. Also the tally of comments by “Leave a Comment” shows there should be 77 comments. Don’t tell me we are in censorship mode, please.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
7 months ago
Reply to  WEB

Nope, no censorship (at least in this instance), WEB. I just went in and looked at the comments. The tally at this minute is 82, and I counted more than 60 just now (before I lost count), and several of those had “hidden” responses that you have to click on to open them up. But they’re all there. Maybe your computer is “censoring” them. 😉 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Wayne
7 months ago

Seems to me all are reasonable arguments. While the operators need to work to get the park to an acceptable standard, we owners need to be reasonable as well. I recommend a task force to do an in-depth evaluation and then make a recommendation to the group of park owners and RV owners. All parks don’t need a “one size fits all” rule. Afterall, we are all independent, usually reasonable adults.

David Stansbury
7 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

A task force? In-depth evaluation?!? Good Lord- who is supposed to pay for all this?

Lisa
7 months ago

Sometimes thing do need to be maintained in a park.
Where I am at check out is 12:30 and check in is 1. We do have check ins pop in earlier and if site is not clear we try to accommodate if we have a site to put them in.
It’s not always a guest pulls out and site is ready. Not all guest leave their site nice and tidy.

Ken Andrews
7 months ago

If. check ins aren’t until 4 pm, and it makes sense to ask, then 2 hours prior should be a reasonable time for check out.

Rod Stieg
7 months ago

Hate to be rude, but you sound like a liberal from western Washington. I really hope nobody actually takes your advice and asks for their beds to be made or we go to Walmart! Really? I see people leave at 6am, I sleep late, and still have no problem taking off well before 11am! When it gets dark at 5pm, you can’t stay parked all day! You owe all RV park operators an apology.

Rod Stieg
7 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Chuck, you are not insulted, you are mad. And the liberal part is a conclusion shown by previous articles with a liberal opinion not shared by all of your readers. This could be avoided by leaving room for other opinions. Conservatives just wish that people could stop complaining about “everything”, and insisting that we all agree. You say you were joking. If so, I missed it, and wonder if others did also, and actually will complain to the RV park causing a problem where none exists! Surely, as an rv’er yourself you cannot want to cause bad blood? And as for the 85%, it seemed to me that they thought you were nuts! Please read the responses again for the good of RV travel. I am sincere when I say that I was concerned about your readers misunderstanding as I did and making trouble in our already troubled relations with RV parks. And I haven’t even started with the “hilly” RV park comment especially when I have been in Maple Grove RV Park near you, which is not even available anymore, but is terribly sloped.

Rod Stieg
7 months ago
Reply to  Rod Stieg

Chuck,
I wanted to be fair and re-read your article so I could apologize if needed. So I read it again. Boy, I am sorry, but your claim that you were joking just does not wash. If you truly were joking or “tongue-in-cheek”, I am positive that many others missed the joke too! If so, you better go back to journalism school to learn how to express to all readers that what you are saying is just a joke. I am still planning to be a reader, and not looking to pick a fight. Just trying to keep peace in this already very troubled world.

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago
Reply to  Rod Stieg

Frankly Rod, I took this whole ‘room service’ bit as a joke, straight faced as it may have been.

KellyR
7 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Rod, I totally agree with Tommy M. How could one take the comments as being serious?

Bruce
7 months ago

It’s not so much the check out time that bothers me as much as the check in time. Most campgrounds have a 3pm check in and by the time you get all set up it does not leave much time to enjoy the campground. After all, they charge you for all the perks they provide so it would be nice if you had time to use them. As you mentioned it’s not like they actually do anything to the campsite to prep it for you.

Kevin
7 months ago

When we are planning to drive a distance (over 200 miles) we generally get out by 10 am. In my experience I’ve noticed that public parks with campground hosts seem to get the cleaning detail during that turnover time. I’ve seen more private parks where there is no indication staff has seen the site. You have to ask for a table. If the park doesn’t have full hook-ups I can plan on at least 30 minutes waiting at the sewer dump and then a few minutes to clean the mess and dump and rinse the area again. I did vote for noon.

Billy Bob Thorton
7 months ago

Get u p and get out. Give the cleaning crew enough time to cycle the campsites for the next guests. Also, you’re on to your next destination, so get on down the road already.

John R Crawford
7 months ago

You miss the whole point Billy Bob. If you leave by 11am and the next camper doesn’t come in till 3 or 4pm the site just sets empty for 4 or 5 hours. And there is nothing for the “crew” to do because you’re taking everything with you when you leave at 11am.

Nanci
7 months ago

While not making a bed or cleaning a toilet, the camp hosts are usually really busy after people check out. They do various duties to the camp site, raking, cleaning out the grill, cleaning out the fire pit and picking up any trash left at the site. While a hotel may have a number of cleaners at the ready at check out, there is usually only one camp host couple and perhaps, a cleaning couple, to handle 30 up to a 100 campsites with people waiting in line to check in. One site we hosted at had over 270 sites and there was little we could do do get them all ready in time when it was busy.

That said, one of the regional camps we have camped at often has a 3:00 check out and 4:00 check in. Really inconvenient when checking in that late. Sometimes folks are STILL packing up after 3:00 and late in the season it can be getting dark before the next ones are set up!

rvgrandma
7 months ago

Depends on if an RV park or campground. When we worked in campgrounds yes there was cleaning up sites after people left. In RV parks rarely are there cleaning up sites to do. Most parks don’t allow check-ins until after 2 so I don’t see a problem with staying until 1. . But, it never hurts to ask if you could stay later. We would let people stay later if no one was coming into the site that day. Even hotels do late checkouts. Even let people stay later for kids to play in pool or to go on a tour IF their rig was already to go – slides in, tanks drained and hose put away, water and power disconnected (unless it was hot then would let them leave the electric plugged in.