More people than ever are taking up RVing. These newbies have determined that RVing is the safest way to travel in our pandemic times. The result is campground crowding like never before. In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. Maybe we can make some sense of this and find ways to work around the problem.
Here are a few observations from our readers.
TRASH MANAGEMENT = $$$
Sure, you see the crowded campgrounds and you hear your neighbor’s TV at night, but do you think of the effects this has on operating parks and campgrounds? Jim Bridge brings up something you may not have thought of: “We mostly boondock but the first-time owners and rentals are impacting public lands. Trash is being left behind at sites and disposal bins are overloaded. When full, their trash is left on the ground attracting animals and pests. One government employee told us it is impacting their operating budget and if it continues the area supervisor is threatening to close the areas to camping altogether. Pack it ALL out, folks.”
CONSIDER THE STORAGE FACILITIES
We’ve talked a lot about how newbie campers are probably just seasonal campers, but has anyone thought about what skyrocketing RV sales are going to do for RV storage facilities? RJ Weiman has, and he brings it to our attention. “It’s nice to see more people getting out and camping. People seem to be more open, more friendly when out camping. It’s always fun to make new friends. But, overcrowding is not good! Brings a downside with it. Some new people, for example, need camping stuff they don’t have. Some, I repeat, some will take what they need from their neighbors without asking. Theft becomes a problem.
All that said, I believe it is a fad like cowboy boots and Western wear. For some, it’s a way of life. For many others, it’s a short-lived interest. A fad! Just wait until they find out how much it costs to store their new camping trailer. That in itself is another problem. Storage facilities will most assuredly start raising their fees. Driving more people out.” Not only will they raise their fees, but we’ll likely need a whole lot more of them!
A “NEW BREED OF CAMPER”
Yikes.. we’re happy we didn’t have to camp where Dennis Charpentier camped earlier this month. Listen to this: “Just returned from a frustrating 3-day stay at a campground we have been frequenting with our club for 40 years. Each night was a festival of unbelievable violations of camping ethics. Friday night was a treat watching the inexperienced, new 40+ foot, 5er crowd attempting to park their recently purchased RVs. Continuing through the weekend there were parties, loud music (we’re talking DJ speakers), overly lit camping areas, and carrying-on well into the night. This begs the question, ‘Where were the owners?’ … Probably counting their money from their bumped-up fees. This is the new ‘camping’ crowd everyone is talking about. I guess there is plenty to be learned in dealing with this new breed of camper.” As we say around here at RV Travel … OY!
TIME IS MONEY…
Now Bob R. brings up a good point. He says, “We are traveling across the country, well, from Washington south to Arizona to Kentucky. My wife spends at least two hours a day on the phone looking for a place for a night. Around Utah and Arizona parks we found nothing available – had to keep going. We’re now in Williams as we had to backtrack 38 miles for one night. Hoping the trip as we go east gets a bit easier to find places to stay.” Dare we ask… How long do you think you (or your partner or travel companion(s)) spend looking for a site reservation? Whether it’s for that night, or a month or two in advance. Answer that in the comments, please. We’re curious.
GOTTA LEARN HOW TO “GAME THE SYSTEM” … OR NOT
We don’t know exactly what’s going on here, but it doesn’t sound good. Reader Jim Bury sent this in, and we don’t like what we hear. He wrote, “15 minutes into spaces being open for some Florida parks, they are ‘sold out.’ One guy in a popular Florida park told me how you ‘game’ the system to get the dates you need. He also mentioned how to get that prime waterfront view. He had 3 accounts! The rest I will let you guess…
My point is: Reserve America, clean up your act. I will work with state reps to get you replaced. You’re letting people get away with crazy stuff. Of course, you make money off it, not serving the campers or the residents of the state well!”
CLASS B IS THE WAY TO BE
Richard Salmon is a lucky class B owner. He writes, “A class B RV has more advantages. I have found RV parks will put me into a tent site, without reservations. Smaller RV, smaller fees, better mileage, more miles per dollar spent. Camping and RVing are two entirely different animals.” Any other class B owners out there being able to reserve tent sites?
WANT TO BUILD A CAMPGROUND IN ALABAMA?
If so, you’re in luck! Reader Linda Peoples is selling 16 acres in Blount County, AL. Here’s what she has to offer, “Yes, I too have found campgrounds to be more crowded and more stressful. I have 16 acres of land off of I-65, 1/3 m next to the interstate in Blount County, Alabama, about 1 hour north of Birmingham, AL, for sale. It would make a beautiful, easily accessible campground.” If you’re interested, leave a comment below and we’ll put you in touch with Linda.
Read last week’s column on campground crowding here.
Don’t miss Nanci Dixon’s newest article, “A firsthand look at what it’s like to travel by RV with no reservations.” Click here to read.
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.