Why Book????

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

  1. 2oothguy

    2oothguy New Member

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    I cant tell you how many times I have tried to book a campsite and feel lucky that i got the last spot. But more than once while camping it seems there are over half of the sites still open. So why cant there be a system that makes you confirm you spot a few days beforehand? This would allow the sites to be available for those who are trying to go. Just a rant and a thought. I have time to camp but it seems the places i want to go are full all year. I know that is not the case. So what to do????????
     
  2. jeeper88

    jeeper88 Let's go Camping and Jeepin

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    I like that idea!!!!! I have run across the same thing and I about pop a top!!!
     
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  3. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    There are so many variations of the need for reservations, lead time, etc. across the continent, that there's no real way for a perfect answer. We've been doing reservations for the majority of our trips for 20+ years , because camping got so popular, at least in many places we go. I seldom see many sites that have been reserved sitting empty, usually no more than can be accounted for by things happening for those who reserved them. [e.g. I had to cancel 4 trips last year, 2 with my husband, 2 for SOTF events, and we shortened another trip because I was sick. We were able to cancel at least a few days in advance, and I'm betting our sites were filled, at least on the two Grand Canyon trips.] Looking around and seeing empty sites if they are not labeled as reserved or FCFS can be misleading - if a campground has, say, 25% of the sites reserve-able, people may book those but FCFS go empty.
    Colorado is beginning to implement a new form of reservation-only at its state parks. No walk-ins (FCFS) allowed - but reservations can be made the same day. I'll be interested to hear a report on how that all works.
     
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  4. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    It does suck to see a reserved spot empty and I have asked about them. I was told they were paid for and it didn't matter if they were occupied or not.

    I like campgrounds that have a mix of reserve spots and walk up spots
    The problem with the walkups is lots of times locals will come on a Thursday or even Wednesday, pay and toss out a chair or two in the spot. I have seen a rule saying the site must be occupied the first night. However, I have never known it to be enforced.
     
  5. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Ill agree, tou need to book early. The empty sights are most likely paid for by people so they could get the days they wanted. I havent done that yet, but i can see getting to the campsite a day late due to travel or leaving a day or so early due to malfunctions or emergencies. And if you have kids there is always emergencies.
     
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  6. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

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    This is a subject that comes up often. While I understand the frustration, what is wrong with making a reservation in advance. It requires some planning, yes, but it's better than not going camping.
     
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  7. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I don't plan most of my trips. That is why we mostly camp weekdays.

    I went to a campground last week that had 850 sites. I planned to stay Mon-Sat. I figured it would be no problem since its spring and kids are in school. I was surprised when they said they only 4 openings for Friday night.
     
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  8. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    "I went to a campground last week that had 850 sites."
    That's a huge campground!
     
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  9. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    310 acres
     
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  10. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Out here, I've never seen a problem with sites going empty. Most campgrounds have a "must occupy the first night or you forfeit the entire reservation" policy. If it is peak season it is enforced. Off season it is more lax, but there are most always available sites.

    No matter what system is used, someone will find it "unfair" or not usable.
     
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  11. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    I've paid for an extra day so I could check in early.
     
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  12. BackyardCalifornia

    BackyardCalifornia Member

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    I’m new to the state park and national forest reservations and was frustrated by how far out things are booked. But now that I understand the system, I can plan accordingly and set some alarms on my phone. Very lucky that I’m only a 2hr drive from Yosemite, so I might have to try some of their FCFS spots.
     
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  13. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    We have an annual trip to Big Bone SP in KY in early summer every year. It’s right off I-75 and is the closest state park to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, so there are always license plates from all over the US and Canada in the campground. Often times those people stay one night and then move on, but there’s a 2 night minimum for reservations. So they pay for 2 but only stay one. It stinks for people wanting to stay for the whole weekend, but at least it opens sites up for walk-ups as long as the people stop by the ranger station to check out and release the site for the remaining night.
     
  14. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    If people paid for the site and don't show up there is nothing you can do about it. A person at the desk once told me no shows are less work for the same money.
    Some places have a policy no show first night, site will be given out. I don't like that. If someone booked several days but had problems on the road and couldn't make the first night they would be without reservations.
     
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  15. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    @tombiasi - when we've been delayed by mechanical issues or whatever, we just called the number provided, so they could hold it for us. When I had to stop overnight on the way to Tucson due to high winds a couple of years ago, I called the state park to say I'd be there when I could the next day. When I arrived, the volunteer at check-in told me I'd made the right decision (the interstate closed due to dust storms with no visibility right after I'd called the park).
    If we leave early, we let the host or office know we're doing that, so the site can be released for others. Most of our camping is in state and national parks, or USFS campgrounds
     
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  16. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Out here, the campsite is not released until check in time on day 2 usually about 2 pm. So a person can contact the campground and explain their situation (health or vehicle trouble) and not lose their reservation.

    When I had my great GPS Adventure, I was unable to arrive the first night. But I arrived by noon the next day and my site was not forfeited. This was after peak season so contacting the campground was not necessary as there were open sites. I stayed the rest of my reservation.

    I also had a situation when I didn't get my clipper back from the shop in time to make my first night's reservation. This was peak season and a busy "fishing competition" weekend at the campground. I called and explained and I was able to arrive the next night about 7 pm without losing my reservation.

    Had I not called on the latter, I would have lost my reservation. But other than my Great GPS Adventure, I have never been unable to make the phone call the scheduled day of my arrival.

    For 98% of the time, the only people who lose with this policy are those who want to book extra days so they can beat the system for the weekend camping days.
     
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  17. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    I've had a case where something happened and I couldn't make the first night. Just called them first thing the next morning and it was no problem. No refund (wasn't expecting one), but still had the rest of my reservation.
     
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  18. 2oothguy

    2oothguy New Member

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    Yea all these make sense Just wish there was a 2nd verification step a few day beforehand I think this would open up a few spots. Yes things do happen on the way camping that are unforseen, but theses people were going to the site? I knkw people book and don't even remember they had a spot or double booking places and just eat the 20-30 bucks. Not a big loss
     
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  19. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    This is good if you can call.
    Sometimes it hard to find a pay phone. Just kidding.
     
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  20. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Maybe it's a regional culture difference. But we don't have a problem with that. Folks around here don't book multiple weekends and then just eat the cost of the ones they don't want.

    With our USFS campgrounds, the reservable sites usually run about $22 a night plus a $6 reservation fee. Lower priced campgrounds are usually walk in only. That's $50 per weekend you don't use. I would never blow $50 like that.
     
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