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Scheduling stops

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  • Scheduling stops

    We have been camping mostly with our Good Sam chapter and over holidays with our kids. The holidays require long advance reservations. We are now planning longer trips. I see full-timers and others on this forum who are regularly doing lengthy trips, both in time and mileage. When my parents were doing this 20 to 30 years ago they were fairly spontaneous and seemed to always get a site to camp. That is not as possible anymore. For trips how long in advance do you reserve rv sites, and what organizations fo you use (Good Sam, KOA, Passport America, etc)?
    Bob P
    2008 Ford F350 Super Cab 6.4 PSD 4x4
    2018 AF 29-5T

  • #2
    We run into this all the time. We hate to make reservations because then we have to plan. If it looks like we need reservations, we will usually start calling to where we think we'll land that night when we leave our overnight stop. Sometimes it takes several calls to find a CG. We usually travel 4-6 hours a day and like to stop around 2 PM or so. We can usually snag a site that early in the day. The exceptions are the State and National parks. If we want to stay in those, we will usually try to camp nearby and hit them bright and early for the first-come first-served parks. We have used PPA in the past, but find they are usually less desirable parks. OK to just overnight though.

    Our system is far from foolproof. We've had to overnighted at truck stops more than once. We enjoy boon docking and will do that if it is available going commercial only if we need hook-ups.
    Ken and Rita Madsen
    2018 GMC 3500 Duramax, 2016 27-5L AF


    • #3
      We've also been RV'g for many years and yes, RV parks and even campgrounds have sometimes become inaccessible due to the popularity of RV'g. Some RV'rs like the freedom of last-minute unplanned stops, and that's what we used to do on shorter trips with a smaller trailer, but I find that not as easy now in a large 5th wheel.

      For our 2-3 month long trips, we start planning a year+ in advance and start making reservations 9-12 months in advance for the popular destinations and highly rated RV parks and campgrounds.

      While planning, we pick our furthest destination and all the spots in between where we want to stop for several days to explore the areas. We use Microsoft Streets & Trips (there are others) to map out the route and to plan nightly stops every 200-250 miles in between. 150-175 daily miles were the norm in Alaska.

      For the one night stops, we will stay at a rest area, pull-out, welcome center or a truck stop for convenience. While on the road, we'll boondock 1-2 days, then hit a RV park. We found that Walmart type lots can be noisy, especially if open 24hrs.

      If we are going to stay at a truck stop, we arrive before 3pm and get a space in the far back of the lot. Trucks arrive just before dark and the one's that want an 8hr sleep, fill the back spots first. They are the sleeper trucks and by 9pm, it's quiet. The parking spaces near the fuel pumps are the noisy areas, with trucks in & out all night. Welcome centers are our favorite and many have 24hr WiFi in the lot.

      We use the Good Sam website to select RV parks with high ratings and large sites. To get those, you have to reserve early. Smaller 'Mom & Pop' RV parks can also be nice, but many are small and hard to drive a large 5th wheel through. We try and do trips in off-season to have better weather and less crowds, but nowadays, even those times can be crowded.

      Alaska (due to the short travel window / weather season) is a popular trip . We make our reservations 9-12 months in advance. The provincial parks and RV parks fill-up fast and we've seen many RV'rs sent on their way, due to full parks. That can be an issue with low LP, no water and full tanks.

      When planning the days on longer trips, we also add a day here & there, as buffers, in case of bad weather, illness or extra time needed to travel due to road conditions.

      To have planned reservations or 'wing-it' is a personal preference and both can be fun.
      Travel Blog:

      2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD: SRW, Duramax / Allison 6.6L Turbo-Diesel, Extended Cab, Long Bed, 4x4, Reese 16K Hitch, 50gal In-Bed Fuel Tank (85 gals total)

      2016 Arctic Fox 29-5T: Six-Point Leveling System, Fireplace, Two A/C's, Two Honda EU2000i Generators, TST "507" Tire Monitoring System, King-Size Bed, Progressive 'Hard-Wired' 50amp Surge Protector, 16gal Water Heater, Slide-Toppers, Power-Reel, 'G Rated' Sailun Tires.


      • #4
        My planning for our 3-4 month trips are similar to Daves. We use and like its ability to manage our activity and locate campgrounds. Over the past 10 years we have found that having reservations is almost mandatory. We used to wing it unless it was a holiday weekend. We try to stay in Federal/State Campgrounds and boon dock if possible.
        2003 Arctic Fox 30u with too many extra's and changes to mention. 2012 Ram 3500, Snug Top Camper


        • #5
          Our usual scheme is to make reservations for major parks, like Yellowstone or Glacier; as early as possible. If we want a site during a major holiday, Fourth of July for example, we might also make reservations. Otherwise we just drive until we feel like stopping then my wife using the Good Sam's CG book, calls ahead an hour or two to see if a CG has an open slot. These are mainly commercial CG, then tell them we are on the way. For state parks this is often not possible so you have to reserve at least a day of so ahead Using ReserveAmerica or whatever they use. If boondocking then you just show up and start looking.
          James and Cindy Krämer
          North Florida
          Arctic Fox 25Y
          2012 Ford F350 6.7L


          • #6
            Once again, people responding in this forum are fantastic!
            Bob P
            2008 Ford F350 Super Cab 6.4 PSD 4x4
            2018 AF 29-5T