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.
MAKE NEW FRIENDS
There is an upside to the hordes of newbies out there – an opportunity to be helpful and, by doing so, make new friends. With all the newcomers it does behoove us “old-timers” to help train them, particularly if the camping bug sticks.
Joe W. wrote, “On our recent trip out west (Sept. & Oct.) we ran into quite a few newbies, which made life interesting as some hadn’t gotten a very good orientation by dealers. Made a lot of new friends by helping out with issues like no gas flow, tripped breakers, etc. Overall an enjoyable trip.”
PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE
In a recent Crowded Campgrounds column, reader Richard Salmon wrote that because he has a small class B, some campgrounds will put him in a tent site. Alan A. responded, “On one hand, I applaud his ingenuity. However, those of us who choose to tent camp with minimal facilities do not necessarily appreciate RVs rolling into primitive areas with their generators, TVs, and Festoon lighting. RV-only parks that restrict access by tenters are by far the norm. If you’re going to join the tenting crowd on the peaceful side of the campground, please be mindful that most of us on that side of the campground treasure the quiet evening and simple campfire. We are more than willing to share the space if you honor the primitive lifestyle too.”
Thanks, Alan. We think this is good advice for everyone, no matter which section of the campground they are in. Be considerate.
TROUBLE IN IMPROMPTU-PARADISE
Again, many people are feeling the pinch of trying to schedule a trip at the spur of the moment. Campsites are crowded! Crowding, combined with high reservation fees for one night, resulted in this RVer no longer going to their favorite spots.
Cheri M likes to travel at the spur of the moment but noted that impromptu camping is near to impossible now. “We enjoy just traveling and not being held to a certain time schedule. Maybe we especially like a spot and want to stay longer. We used to never have trouble finding an impromptu spot because most sites were unreservable. Now, the opposite is true because most sites are reserve-only. We always have trouble if going impromptu. So, we don’t go impromptu anymore to many of our fav camping spots. Lastly, a $10 reserve fee, as is Reserve America, is way too much. If you are reserving for one night and the reservation fee is $10 each time, that adds up quickly if you’re only staying one night at each place. Also, if a better spot opens up while you are in a campground, you can no longer just move to that spot – the reservation system gets in the way, big time.”
On the other hand, Albert L. puts a positive spin on things: “It’s hard to get a site unless you book 4-6 weeks ahead. This will all pass when things get back to the new normal. School kids will get back to usual activities and newbies will have to stay home and make camper payments.”
SAVE SPACE FOR RESIDENTS
Russell D. has an interesting idea about making camping in your home state more available. Rather than leaving a number of sites non-reservable, save a percentage for state residents. “My wife and I are FL residents and love the state parks here, but the only time we can begin to get a campsite for more than two days is in the summer, it seems that the snowbirds are able to make reservations so far in advance that they have all the state parks booked in prime time Oct. thru April. If you’re lucky, you can find one, maybe two, days open during this time. We believe the state should hold at least 15 percent of the sites open for FL residents.”
NEXT WEEK – RESERVATION SYSTEMS
There have been so many (mostly negative) comments about reservation systems that next week we want to share some of them. If you have comments, tricks or tips for reservation systems, particularly Reserve America, please send them along with any other comments in the form below.
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.
Read last week’s Crowded Campgrounds column here.