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To Make Reservations or Not. That is the Question
Are you interested in taking an extended RV trip? If you are, you will likely end up staying at an RV park or campground. For many traveling by RV, these parks are a great option.
RV parks are similar to traditional campgrounds, but RV Parks usually have more amenities available. In general campgrounds are typically connected with State or Federal agencies who run them. RV Parks are more often privately owned and operated.
I’ve spent several years working in an RV Park and as a manager for many of those years.
Whether you are interested in staying at one RV park or if you would like to stay at multiple RV parks or campgrounds along the way, it is important to first familiarize yourself with all of your options. This is best done with a little of research.
Necessity is the Mother of Research
Well not quite, but researching RV parks can help you to save money in the long-run. Regardless of where you travel, you will find that RV parks differ, on a number of levels, including the prices that they charge. Price comparison is particularly important for long distance trips. The longer you must stay at an RV park, the more you will have to pay.
Campgrounds, on the other hand, are normally less expensive but come with a limit on the duration of your stay.
Researching RV parks is also important to get an idea of what you can expect, in terms of features and amenities. RV travelers may not want to make reservations at an RV park without first knowing what the park offers. For example, does the park in question have a swimming pool or spa? What about a play ground for kids or a dog run?
Speaking of kids, if you are traveling with your family, does this include very young children? If so, there are a number of additional reasons why RV parks should be closely researched and examined. For the sake of safety, will your stay be near a lake or river? Do your children know how to swim?
Doing just a bit of research on RV parks before you leave for your trip also gives you enough time to examine all park rules and restrictions. Although most public RV parks will allow pets and children, not all do. That is why it is important that you do the proper research first. This research will allow you to first make sure that you can meet all rules and restrictions. If not, it also gives you time to find an alternative.
A List is Worth a Thousand Words
Campground and RV park listing services such as Good Sam and Trip Advisor can help a lot in our search for the best and most appropriate places to stay. Most private RV parks and public campgrounds will have listings in at least one of these two online services.
These listings include pricing, the number of spaces available, park amenities such as swimming pool, spa, restrooms with showers, laundry room and recreation rooms with games and entertainment.
Don’t forget to also check out some iPhone and Android apps such as Allstays (a paid app at $9.99 at the time of publication of this post) and RV Parky (a free app available for Android or IPhone). There are several others as well. These two have been used extensively by many of the guests at our RV park and they speak highly of them.
Now that you know a few of the many reasons why it is important to research RV parks and public campgrounds, this will make your journey smoother with fewer frustrations. Just remember, a telephone call takes only minutes and you can gain a wealth of information about the park itself, the accommodations, amenities, perks and rules.
When researching RV parks and public campgrounds, you may want to start with a simple internet search for accommodations along a certain route. You will want to search with the name of the park in question. Your standard internet search should connect you to the website for that particular park or campground, should they have one.
Closely examine that website to learn as much as you can or at least get the contact information from the website. This allows you to contact the park or campground in question to ask any additional questions that you may have.
Even if you do not have a RV park name, you can still use the internet to your advantage. Business directories, such as telephone books or campground listing books and online services such as Woodalls, KOA, Good Sam, Road Trip America, Reserve America, just to name a few, enable you to search for a business, like an RV park, in a particular area, such as a specific city and state.
You can also perform a standard internet search with a generalized phrase, such as “New York RV parks.” Through the use of a business directory and standard internet searches, you should be able to find the online websites of multiple parks or at least the proper contact information.
For travelers to the RV park where we currently live, the decision make a reservation in advance is different every year. This year, for instance, travelers are opting to drop-in rather than make a reservation; or making last minute reservations a day or two prior to their requested stay. It’s always best, speaking as an employee of an RV park, to make a reservation in advance, so you know for sure you have a space intended for you.
Keep in mind, mistakes happen. Reservations can get dropped or sometimes over-booked. Try to have a “Plan B” option open for you as well. This will save a lot of frustration in the long run.
As soon as you arrive, you will normally be presented with a registration form, a map to your site and a list of park rules. Do yourself and the park or campground management team a huge favor by familiarizing yourself with the rules and regulations of the park or campground. Here is a post I wrote previously about the importance of following park rules and regulations in RV Park Etiquette.
I do hope this post will help RV travelers make the best decisions for their park and campground stays. This will ensure a smoother journey with far less frustration.
Safe and happy travels.