Why Book????

Discussion in 'Reservation Systems' started by 2oothguy, May 11, 2019.

  1. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    One fluke of many booking systems is that it goes by the date you START your trip. So if you want a reservation over the 4th of July, and intend to camp from the 2nd through the 5th, your booking window starts based on the 2nd. But if someone else is willing to camp from June 28 through the 5th, their window starts on the 28th. Many people take advantage of this and either book the site and not use it, or later cancel the earlier portion.
     
  2. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    That works great for the folks close enough to go on Thursday to nab a site. But for those who live further away or otherwise can't get out on Thursday, it sucks.

    That's why there's a variety of systems. Because there is no one system that works for everyone.
     
  3. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    That's why many places don't let you cancel part of a reservation. You have to cancel the entire reservation and then make a new one for your different dates.
     
  4. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Don't give up. Keep going in and checking. Odds are something will open up between now and your trip.
     
    kcsa75 likes this.
  5. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    And that takes us right back to the OP's comment on that you'll see a ton of reserved-but-unused sites, as most of us aren't going to chance losing our entire trip over $50 or less.
     
  6. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Which is why many campgrounds have the policy that if you don't show the first night you forfeit the entire reservation.

    Basically, every time people start taking advantage of the system, another rule is enacted to attempt to stabilize it again. Then people find a way to abuse the new rule and another rule goes into effect.
     
    kitphantom likes this.
  7. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Didn't realize that rule until someone mentioned it here. There are times that I reserve and pay for the nigh prior to our arrival date. Sometimes we have something to do that day and want to setup that morning. Also setup in the middle of the afternoon is hot and prone to thunderstorms during the summer. Since I heard about that rule I check for that policy when booking.
     
  8. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

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    I am going to tell a secret:
    Reserve America and recreation.gov have a "View by Availability" tab. Use this to pick your campsite when it comes off of reservation. You have to be willing to adjust your arrival date to match the date it becomes available. Won't work if you are welded to a specific time frame though, and you still have to work the 6 month window, but using this tab, you know when a specific site will become available.
    Shhhhhhhh...
     
  9. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    If only we could be that flexible on dates. Sadly that won't happen until after I retire or die, whichever comes first (probably the latter the way my 401K looks)
     
    neighbormike likes this.
  10. Muller 5

    Muller 5 Active Member

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    We had to forfeit two nights on our recent trip. I was a bit ambitious in planning for 6-8 hours of driving and arrival before dark. We had a major set back with a tire blow out and toddler stomach flu. We were supposed to make it to Salt Lake City but didn't make it past Elko, NV. Lost that night. And the next night at Ogallala. By the time I knew we wouldn't be able to make it, the people answering the phones had gone home.
     
  11. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    I love my Texas State Parks, and I absolutely love camping. The reservation system however means there are NEVER and I mean NEVER any sites available during the times I want them unless I lay out plans a year in advance, an I just don't live like that. Camping should be a spur of the moment let's get in and go sort of thing.

    I have gone, and spent 3+ hours driving to a park with a reservation, only to find that there weren't really any sites to be had.

    Likewise I have spent a similar amount of time driving to get to another campground without a reservation and had no problems with first come first served.

    The 2 worst things that have ever happened to camping around here are...

    #1. Loud, inconsiderate camp neighbors.
    #2. Reserve America reservation system.

    This is a HUGE reason I prefer to boondock at free campsites, however need for electricity causes the problem of having to run a generator. Ugh...
     
    neighbormike likes this.
  12. HappyTraveler

    HappyTraveler Active Member

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    Years ago, in our early days of tent camping at NY SPs, we used to have to call and make our reservations. Don't even recall if we got to pick our site or not. Those reservations were for being able to camp over the weekend and were only an hour or two from home.
    When we would go camping on our vacations across the country, we never made a reservation, except at NPs. Of course, tent camping sites usually are available, so that's probably why we never had any problems finding sites for any day of the week and for any length of stay.
    This past winter, we did run into the reservation system for Texas SPs, Rangers told us they were having problems with the "new" system, so they worked quite a bit with us. How their system works is you could not reserve online the day of your first night, you'd have to go to the park and make the reservation for that night in person. Our problem was, and we didn't even think of this when we went, was that we arrived during spring break for both the colleges and schools, so the place was absolutely slammed. We managed to get a site, but that's probably b/c we were tent camping and didn't need any hook ups. We could only stay one night in that site, then had to vacate, got another site for two more night, then had to move again...
    You get the idea. Anyway, I did notice that the Rangers put us in sites that were marked "R".
    Anyway, after all the spring break whoha ended, we spent 12 whole days in the same site, which we had booked online.
    As for the reserved sites, what we noticed were all the sites that were marked "Reserved" and were never occupied throughout the park. Rangers would go around every morning and change the signage, but most of the "R" sites never did have campers while we were there. When we asked the Rangers about it, all they would say is the "new system" was messed up and they did not like it. So not sure if some number of sites where made available to the online system, so the park marked those with "R", and if the online system didn't book them, then the Park would take a chance and give them to the walkins.
    I don't know, but the system does seem messed up.
     
  13. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    It may happen at some point, but to date I have always been able to find a site when I wanted to camp. I can't always get a certain site or even a certain CG, but I can find somewhere to camp. Early spring and late fall are great for me. That's when I head to a no hookup CG. I know one with no hook ups and no cell service, always an open site there. Spring break trip we reserve and Labor Day trip (our anniversary) we reserve. Other trips we may or may not reserve.
     

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