“Hello everyone. And welcome to the RV Inspection And Care podcast.
Today’s podcast is about how RVers can make sure that they always get campground reservations.
Before we get started, let me invite everyone who’s listening to subscribe to my podcast. That way you won’t miss any of the great topics we’re going to be discussing.
And please visit my website too at rvinspectionandcare.com. There’s a lot of information there. And articles that I’m sure you’ll find helpful.
Now let’s get back to our topic about how we make sure that we always get campground reservations.
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Why Campground Reservations Are A Challenge Now
This was not really that much of an issue just a couple of years ago. In fact, when we first started RVing it just really wasn’t a big problem.
You could pretty much get reservations almost any time. And it was very easy to travel, even spontaneously back then.
But things have changed in the last two years. And one of the big reasons is COVID.
And then COVID caused this huge increase in popularity for RVing. So as a result of that, we have essentially the same number of campgrounds and campsites that we had a couple of years ago. But we have all these newer RVers.
So many of them that there’s a lot more people that are vying for the same number of campsites.
And even some of the most popular YouTube content creators are saying they’re having trouble getting reservations. Especially the ones that love to travel spontaneously.
You know, they just like to kind of go where the spirit moves them. Well, that’s getting a lot more difficult these days.
In the past it was very doable. But today it’s a challenge. So yes, getting campground reservations is a challenge today.
But it can still be done. And let me reassure you about that.
Now we’re going to go over a lot of ways today to make sure that you can always get campground reservations.
The Best Way To Get Campground Reservations
And the first one we’re going to talk about is the most important point or suggestion that I can make.
Now I know some folks really like to spontaneously travel. But these days that’s going to be really challenging.
Instead, I encourage you to plan ahead. And that’s going to be more and more important as we go forward.
Now how far ahead do you need to plan? Well, that’s hard to say. Because it depends on the person.
And on what they’re comfortable with. On how they like to travel and what area they’re in, and all those kinds of things.
So it’s hard to say how far to plan ahead. But as far as we’re concerned, Cheri and I usually plan ahead about three to four months.
Then we’re going to head out to Arizona. And we’ll get in Arizona by the first of the year.
Well, I already have that whole trip completely planned out. I don’t have to worry about it at all.
And I was easily able to get the campground reservations that I wanted. So planning ahead is a very important part of the puzzle to make sure that you always have a place to stay.
And just adjust it to whatever you’re comfortable with, as to how far you plan in advance.
Campground Resources You Need
Now the second suggestion I have is to get as many resources for campgrounds and campsites as you possibly can.
That’s because the more places you have to choose from. Then the more opportunity you have to actually find a place to make a reservation.
So for instance the one website we like to use more than any other is RV Trip Wizard. And that’s no surprise because I’ve made videos about it in the past.
It’s really easy for me. I can lay out a whole trip quickly and easily. But I also like the fact that it lists a lot of campgrounds along the way.
So very often I can make all my campground reservations by just following the trip that I’ve laid out in RV Trip Wizard.
And you can also actually look up the reviews for the campgrounds too. It’ll also provide the phone number or the website. And that way you can go and make reservations in whatever way you’d like.
So RV Trip Wizard is probably my number one resource for getting campground reservations.
Other Campground Reservations Resources
But number two is Campendium.com. Now that’s a great website. There’s a lot of campsites and campgrounds there that may not be available almost anywhere else. So be sure to check that as well.
Then there’s another great site called Thedyrt.com and it’s a spell d-y-r-t and not d-i-r-t. But again, it’s a great resource for lots of campgrounds.
And finally, I love to use the Allstays app too. It’s worked very well for me.
In fact, I use Allstays along with RV Trip Wizard a lot. And if I can’t find the campgrounds I’m really looking for in RV Trip Wizard, usually I can find something then in Allstays.
Then if I can’t find it there, I move to Campendium.com and Thedyrt.com. So those are all great ways to have a lot of campgrounds and campsites available for you to choose from.
A Great Under-Utilized Resource
Now the third suggestion is Boondocker’s Welcome. And I kind of feel like this is one that hasn’t completely caught on with everyone like it should.
Especially when they’re thinking about making campground reservations.
But Boondockers Welcome essentially is an arrangement where hosts around the country will allow you to come and stay on their site. And you can boondock there.
But you know, what we’re finding is more and more these hosts are actually providing some kind of hookups. And very often they’re allowing you to stay multiple nights as well.
So it’s kind of like even having campground reservations really, through Boondocker’s Welcome.
And we’ve used it several times now. In fact, we’ve been very happy with every arrangement that we’ve had so far.
So it’s another resource in your campground reservation tool belt.
Another Great Under-Utilized Resource
Now the next suggestion is Harvest Hosts. And again, this is an under-utilized way of making campground reservations while you’re on the road.
Now the thing to remember about Harvest Hosts is that they generally are only a one-night stay. They really don’t usually allow you to stay more than that.
But if you are on the road and you are traveling. And you know you’re going from one area to another with several days to get there.
Well then, Harvest Hosts is a great resource. Because it allows you to have these one night stays.
And the advantage is that you’re staying at some really unique and beautiful places.
You know, things like golf courses and vineyards and farms and places like that. Many of them are just beautiful. So it really is a great resource for making overnight stays.
Now let me interject something here. That is that both Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts can still be arranged sort of at the last minute.
And that’s how under-utilized they are. Now with campgrounds, it’s really hard to get last minute reservations now.
But with these two resources it’s still possible to travel around the country, and do so in a spontaneous way. Like a lot of people like to do.
So be sure to consider those two resources. Both Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts.
If you don’t have them in your tool belt, well it may be time to put them there.
A Couple More Important Campground Reservations Resources
Now my next resource for consideration is Hipcamp.com. And again, it is a collection of resources of people that are offering their location for you to stay at.
And very often, it’s residential locations. But it could be businesses too.
Usually there is a fee for staying there. But very often they do provide some kind of hookups as well
And it’s another way to find even more places to stay. But it doesn’t cost you anything to use the website. So consider Hipcamp.com.
My next suggestion is Passport America. Don’t forget about them. You can get up to fifty percent off too if you abide by all their regulations and guidelines.
But in addition to that, very often I can find campgrounds there that may not be listed in some of the other resources I have. So Passport America is good to have.
How About Thousand Trails Campers?
A lot of folks have a Zone Pass because it’s not that expensive. And it allows you to use the Thousand Trails park system.
But the problem with the Zone Pass is you can only make campground reservations out about two months in advance.
And if everybody has a zone pass, then they can make reservations out two months in advance too. So you might not be able to get some reservations when you want them.
What I recommend then is to consider the idea of upgrading to an Elite membership instead.
That’s what we have. And with an elite membership we can actually make reservations four months in advance.
Doing that, we have no problem finding campground reservations at almost any Thousand Trails campground.
Yes, it does cost you to upgrade. So it’s something you’ve got to think about and consider.
But if you travel a lot. And if having that reservation with full hookups is really important to you. Well then, you might want to consider upgrading your Thousand Trails membership.
What If All These Other Resources Fail?
Now the last point I want to make is that if all these other resources fail, then there’s always the free overnight spots.
Places like Walmarts and rest stops, Cracker Barrels and Cabela’s. And also Bass Pro Shops and even some casinos.
Those are all places where you can stay overnight while you’re traveling. Now you’re probably not going to be able to put your slides out and really enjoy the camping experience there.
But it lets you have a place to stay. So if all other resources fail, those are great places to stay for the night.
Now how do you find those spots though? Well, probably the easiest way is to go to Campendium.com.
They actually have a section on their site for free camping. So click on that and then choose your area. And up will come the free spots where you could go and camp overnight while you’re traveling through.
So give that some consideration. You know, if all these other resources fail, there’s always that to get you through in the meantime.
How To Find The Campground Resources I’ve Covered
Well, I’ve covered a lot of suggestions. A lot of links here that would go to websites and to apps and so on.
And I want to make sure that you have all of these so that you can go check them out for yourself.
So a video of this podcast is being made that’s going to be on YouTube. And the links to all of these resources will be in the description of the video.
And I’ll put a link to the video in the description of this podcast. So that way you can go there and find all these resources. Then you can check them out and see if it’ll work for you.
But let me just say this. We have used pretty much all of these resources at one time or another.
And it works very well for us. So the more resources you have right now in this period where it’s really getting tougher to get reservations, the better. And you’ll be able to have a lot more to choose from that way.
The bottom line is this. The situation we are facing for campground reservations is challenging. Yes that is true, but it’s not hopeless.
It’s actually very manageable. You’ve just got to know how to do it. And have the right resources.
Then you’ll be able to go pretty much anywhere you want to go most times. And have the campground reservations you need to get you there.
Well, that’s it for now. I hope what we’ve covered has been helpful. And hope it will be beneficial for you in your RV travels.
Have safe and happy travels my friends …. until next time. “