Unused reserved spots

Jimbow

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Nov 30, 2012
2,086
Until YOU are the camper who can't camp because of all the unused sites, you will think it's a good thing.

Once you can't get a spot as you drive around and see all those reserved tags with no campers, THEN you will have an eye opening epiphany and decide the system is messed up.

"Fairness" depends on which side of the game you sit.

I'm not certain why you felt the need to shout. I may be old, but I can read the text just fine. :)

It's happened to me, it has happened to everybody who has ever camped. Until you had a breakdown the same day as you were suppose to arrive and your week long reservation is cancelled, you will think it's good to require first day arrivals. When people can receive refunds at the last minute (encouraging cancellations instead of no shows) so they just book every weekend so you can't make plans you will think refunds are a good idea. We can each keep coming up with scenarios that prove our point. Someone spent their money to book the site. Seems fair that if you pay for something it's yours and you can use it as you see fit.

The situation is that someone paid for something that you want and someone else won't take it away from them and give it to you because the person spending the money isn't using it the way you want. I have a difficult time agreeing with that. I find it easier to see the unfairness in having to book so far in advance then having no chance of a refund. Again, if people can receive a complete refund the same day, people will overbook resulting in half empty campgrounds and less revenue for the park. The longer the window the better for revenue, but the more unused spaces. Where is the balance?

Yes it is frustrating, but there are problems with each solution.
 

Toedtoes

Super Active Member
May 28, 2018
2,840
California
I wasn't shouting, I was emphasising...

It appears you have taken my comments personally rather than actually comprehending them. I pointed out that what seems fair for one person, seems unfair to another depending on their personal circumstances. And as I have stated several times, having a variety of rules at different campgrounds is the best solution as folks can pick what works best for them.
 

1380ken

Super Active Member
Nov 7, 2013
2,989
Mass
People need to live in the real world, not fantasy land. Nothing is truly fair. Money talks, BS walks. Lots of money gives you all kinds of perks.
 

Jimbow

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Nov 30, 2012
2,086
I wasn't shouting, I was emphasising...

It appears you have taken my comments personally rather than actually comprehending them. I pointed out that what seems fair for one person, seems unfair to another depending on their personal circumstances. And as I have stated several times, having a variety of rules at different campgrounds is the best solution as folks can pick what works best for them.

Personal? Not at all. On most message boards italics and bold are used to emphasize and all caps is considered shouting.

I comprehend your comment to be someone isn't using something they purchased the way you want them to so you want it taken away from them so you can have it. You think that's fair. It's very easy to comprehend.

Do I think it's the optimum policy? No. But I do think it is fair. It's your money so use, or not use, the site as you want.

Every system is unfair to someone. First come is unfair to people who travel further. First night stay required is unfair to people who have last minute emergencies. One year reservations is unfair to people who can't plan that far in advance, same with six months, six weeks, or six days.

What I believe is fair is once you have paid for the site it's yours and it shouldn't be taken away from you because someone doesn't like the way you are using the site.
 

OldMedicDoc

Member
Feb 5, 2019
24
South Carolina
Up until Covid struck and shut down the campgrounds I had never had to cancel. Of course that would be the campgrounds canceling on us. Anyway, we have learned that our sites do fill up fast, so we tend to reserve ahead for the year. Mostly weekend stays a month and one full week for one of the summer months. Our campgrounds do have their rules and we have found out the best policy is to follow them in order to not lose our money. They do allow us the chance to change our reservation if we cut it too close and need to cancel. Our family policy is if we can’t use it, give it up so others may enjoy it. And one time we did meet this couple that reserved three spots side by side and stayed in the middle spot to increase their space from others.
 

Susan Premo

Super Active Member
Nov 5, 2020
1,042
Minnesota
Where did you go, Whitewater state park? That is beautiful, but the price of staying there is too much, even non electric. That area is one of our favorite parts of Minnesota . We just got up north last year, cant wait to go again, hate to count the months, and wish we enjoyed winter more.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
Where did you go, Whitewater state park? That is beautiful, but the price of staying there is too much, even non electric. That area is one of our favorite parts of Minnesota . We just got up north last year, cant wait to go again, hate to count the months, and wish we enjoyed winter more.

We've done Whitewater in the past, but the fall trip I was referring to was at Frontenac.
 

Toedtoes

Super Active Member
May 28, 2018
2,840
California
Personal? Not at all. On most message boards italics and bold are used to emphasize and all caps is considered shouting.

I comprehend your comment to be someone isn't using something they purchased the way you want them to so you want it taken away from them so you can have it. You think that's fair. It's very easy to comprehend.

Do I think it's the optimum policy? No. But I do think it is fair. It's your money so use, or not use, the site as you want.

Every system is unfair to someone. First come is unfair to people who travel further. First night stay required is unfair to people who have last minute emergencies. One year reservations is unfair to people who can't plan that far in advance, same with six months, six weeks, or six days.

What I believe is fair is once you have paid for the site it's yours and it shouldn't be taken away from you because someone doesn't like the way you are using the site.

So again, you have missed the point that I made. Have at it.
 

Floridagal

Member
Mar 23, 2018
30
Ok...In Nebraska...i was shocked on our family camping trip how many reserved spots sat empty...the campground was 100% booked and reservation tags on every site...i have seen this many times over the years and i cant figure out why the state parks do not put in a policy where if you are not there within a certain time your spot becomes available...im not talking a car or camper was on the site...i mean the whole weekend and all 5 days i was there no one ever showed up...i walked around and checked reserved stickers and dates and i bet 50 spots were complete no shows.
You have a 48 hr window to cancel and get a refund however these spots were never made available to drive ups and they stayed empty.
I would think the parks could double their money if they said be here by a certain time or lose your spot....i get some people may arrive a day or two late for whatever reason but to not show at all is crappy for drive up people who want to camp but cant because a spot is reserved even though it sits empty the whole time.
Again there was no camper or cars on any any of these spots but the reserved tags were there showing the dates.
I have tried to ask and never get a answer other than they paid for the spot so it cant be taken even if no one shows up....pretty dumb i think.[/QUOTE
 

Floridagal

Member
Mar 23, 2018
30
Well since ALL you other states come down here October-March and that is the only decent camping time in Florida, you have to reserve ONE YEAR ahead of time. That means I have to reserve before I even know if I can travel. But I do cancel because it’s the CONSIDERATE thing to do. Seems like there are a lot of comments here that run along the lines of”well tough doody for you—I am paying for it”.
 

Susan Premo

Super Active Member
Nov 5, 2020
1,042
Minnesota
We've done Whitewater in the past, but the fall trip I was referring to was at Frontenac.
We've done Whitewater in the past, but the fall trip I was referring to was at Frontenac.
Frontenac is cool too. I wish you could park along the road somewhere, near the top or middle of the road, on the way in. If you park at the top near the entrance or where your going to camp, that's a long ass haul and the hike we may want to take would be long enough anyway. Asked the ranger last year about it, he said it's a county road, that why you cant park along it.
 

JustRelax

Super Active Member
Feb 20, 2013
1,031
Indianapolis
I think most of us on this site are considerate and there are very many regional differences regarding this. More popular areas this can be a big deal and others not so much. Personally I don’t agree with site must be occupied or reservation is cancelled. We have never not shown up for a trip but have come a day or two late for multiple reasons.

Some people book Sunday night because they don’t want to check out at 2pm and this allows them to be able to leave later. Is this fair to the person who wants to book a week on that site and arrive Sunday? Some people book the night before their arrival day so they can have the site first thing in the morning instead of waiting for check in time and risk the person before them not being off at that time. Are they preventing someone from camping one night?

I’d say in most cases you are not preventing anyone from camping.

I’d also say mostly where I camp booking Wednesday for a site you don’t plan to occupy until Friday is also a good thing. The site would more than likely be unoccupied any way and the state collects revenue it otherwise wouldn’t have to put back into the park. But I camp mostly in campgrounds that are pretty empty during the week. That’s not fair to the person who wanted that particular site and could have stayed Thursday but they just move on to their second choice and still come.

I think we all agree that booking the weekend and not cancelling if you don’t show up is inconsiderate. The other side of that is that some sites don’t allow refunds at all in the few weeks leading up to the reservation when most cancellations happen because you have to book 6 months out and something comes up. So they collect my money if I cancel and could double book the site. I would also agree this is a good thing so myself would cancel like most of us, but to others they think why hassle calling if I don’t get anything back anyway. So a higher refund on last minute cancellations would decrease no shows. Again I think most states would rather have the full amount of the reservation to count as guaranteed money instead of giving some back at the hopes to rebook. Therefore they are fine with no shows with reduced usage of utilities and facilities as the cherry on top from a financial perspective.
 
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Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
12,456
Nj
That all depends where you are and the area you are going, up north by me there are more people, so yes taking an extra night or so will prevent people from camping. Same with extending a stay and not using the site. State parks usually book up full the day they open up the reservations. There is little to no dispursed camping around either. Everything needs reservations. You might get lucky and find some one that cancles last minute. But that is not the norm, and you will still be fighting for the open spot with others. So i get why people get mad when they have a hard time booking and then see empty sites. But i do see it the other way also. There were times i had to leave early to go into work. I did tell the campground that my site was open if needed. Stuff happens and everyone sees it diffrently. Like someone once said opinions are like noses, eveyone has one.
 

Toedtoes

Super Active Member
May 28, 2018
2,840
California
There is no one best solution, only the best solution for you. Diversity is best. Different campgrounds with different rules means more people can find one that works for them.

It's when the bulk of people start taking advantage of the system that the system fails. If an area is finding that their policy is being gamed so only a select few can enjoy camping, then it's time to look at that policy.

I think there is also a difference between booking a day or two ahead of arrival and booking full weeks just to nab the weekend. A day or two with an empty site isn't doing much harm. But in some areas, people will book up an entire month only to show for one weekend. How many nights should a site go unused and others get turned away before it becomes unacceptable? 1 night? 4 nights? 10 nights? 20 nights?
 
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tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
This becomes a problem for us when the 4th of July falls late in the week, like it did this year. The campground we use's policy is 90 days out, from the START of your reservation. Thus some people will book for a week or more in advance so they can ensure a site for the time around the 4th. I don't like to game the system like that but I need a site as well. We generally keep an eye on the reservations, and when it looks like sites are starting to go fast, we jump in as well. Sometimes you can get some of those days refunded, but due to policies, sometimes they won't let you cancel without cancelling the entire reservation, which we're obviously not going to do. Their policy is that the reservation is "yours" whether you are there or not.
 

BillyMc

Super Active Member
Mar 25, 2018
2,486
South Carolina
I've been to some CGs that have a portion of the sites FCFS and the rest reserve sites.
The only time I haven't been able to get a site was during the 'rona shutdowns, because they were all closed, but Ga. was open for my birthday in May.
Someone is going to complain no matter the system in place, there is just way more people glamping these days and those of us that are old school campers are getting pushed aside. In the southeast with the exception of a few holidays you can always get a site to camp. If you lock yourself into a certain site or even a certain CG you may not be camping much. With the exception of the "dog days" we don't require hookups. If we are destination based camping I reserve a site as far in advance as I can. If we are camping to go camping I just start looking for somewhere to go. Once there we explore. Labor Day 2021 has been booked since mid October. It's a full hookup site so I'll not be dumping the grey water everyday. I'll still have to empty the cassette and portable toilets, but the shower and sink drains will be connected to the drain hookup. That is our anniversary trip and is the one holiday we travel every year. Work know I will be taking time off for that every year and it isn't open for discussion. Currently planning spring break trip and a trip for when the boys are out of school for the summer. Those three we usually book in advance, but the rest we just go camping where we can get in. I try to apply the motto our former youth pastor had about travelling for mission trips. Be flexible or be stressed.

The system I'd like to be in place would be mixed.
Reserve site open for booking 6-12 months out. Gambling on finding a site after six to eight hours on the road just isn't wise.
A portion of sites FCFS. Having lived in a tourist area for years I understand the frustration of not being able to get in your local CGs.
Full refund (minus small processing fee) seven or more days out. Maybe some on the edge will cancel freeing some sites for people trying to get a site.
50% refund up to the day of reservation. Again some sites may open up for last minute and FCFS campers.
No call no show no refund no cancellation of reservations by CG. I've had a family emergency and twice accidents blocking the road have set us back a day arriving. I don't camp in places that cancel your reservation if you miss the first day.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
I would be OK if places freed up the site if you didn't at least CALL before a certain time on the first night. That might free up some sites for FCFS that would otherwise just stay reserved if plans changed.

Hotels used to do that commonly, although I think most will hold your room indefinitely now with a CC hold.
 

Toedtoes

Super Active Member
May 28, 2018
2,840
California
The places out here that require your presence the first night consider the "first night" to be between check in on the first day and check out on the next day. So if your reservation is for Dec 3-7, you are OK as long as you arrive before check out time on Dec 4. If the campground is not full, they will often leave your reservation running beyond that until the site is needed for folks at the campground.

In addition, if you call and let them know of your situation, they will hold your site for you. They don't eagerly wait to "steal" your campsite from out from under you.
 




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