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Old 08-02-2011, 10:20 PM   #1
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Reserving a site

I have a question about pulling into a campsite.
I have noticed lately that most of the campgrounds we pull into just assign us a site without us having much input.
Do any of you request to drive around and look at available sites to choose one before paying?
What about when you have a reservation? They already have my credit card number... I feel like I am in a corner.
We just spent the last two days in a terrible site right next to washrooms with everyone walking by and our dogs going
Crazy barking at all the action. I reserved my site two months ago... Which apparently means nothing in terms of the site they gave us, because
A guy pulled in next to us who just arrived. I am very frustrated by this... Any helpful advice would be appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:20 PM   #2
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i had one that would let me set up then come back and pay.
the only one that i ever have assign me a sight when i reserved it was Disney.
all others have assigned after i got there.

Disney was also the most expensive campground i've ever stayed in.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:34 PM   #3
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Hi, Not sure this might work for you but we take quite a different approach, and of course we are on the road full time for 6 months. We check out our next stop using various media, GPS etc, and reading reviews, we send 3 or 4 emails to campsites we consider worthy, if we don't get a reply we don't bother with them, by email or phone we ask for a Good Sam (cos we are members) daily rate and weekly rate and tell them up front, in a nice way, that we want one night but if we like their campsite we will stay a week. We ask for a nice quiet shady spot with good wifi reception. So far it has worked, rarely do we get asked for credit card details, but we do turn up and give it one night, often we arrive and they give us a choice of sites, we do a walk around and choose our spot and then after a night decide to stay more days or a week. This way if you have had to give card details you are only commited for one night.

Because of the economic situation (campsites that we look at) are only 50% full max so there is no need to commit oneselves, just have a few alternatives up your sleeve if the one you picked turns out bad.

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:34 PM   #4
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You're right - even when you have an online "map" of the campground it's hard to know exactly what the site will look like and what problems might arise. I've started making notations on sites when we camp so that should we go back we'll know to avoid site 32 because it's too steep or site 17 because it's next to the open cesspool... er I mean pit toilets. The problem is - that is trial and error. If the campground is full when you arrive it doesn't much matter how long ago your reservations were made - they've got your money and you have no other options besides Wal-mart!
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:06 AM   #5
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I noticed that Reserve America is starting to post pics of individual sites, so in some instances, you can see what you're getting beforehand. I use them for all of my FL State park reservations, particularly when I stay in the keys. I know when I like a campground and will want to return. The first time we booked Bahia Honda, we were next to the bath houses and the dumpster was adjacent to our site. It was awful. We spent part of the last day walking around camp and writing down the sites we would love and the sites we'd never want for one reason or another. It's made our return trips much nicer.

Because of my disability, I like to be near the rest rooms without being next to them - too much noise and traffic. If I get a bad site now, I complain to the park ranger. Most of the time they've offer to move me, even when the "Park Full" sign is hanging.

I mostly camp in a pvt CG now and leave the rig there for weeks at a time. The owner knows we love one site in particular, so that's where you'll find us most weekends. For me, it's about knowing what I like, need, and will accept, and then making my needs known.
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:44 AM   #6
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my memory is short...i had forgotten abt reserve America. used it this past spring to stay at a Louisiana st park campground. we had a reserved site. La St parks also give 50% discount for age 62 and up (it may actually be age 60). all u need is proof of age. (those of u familiar with Indian creek, it is doesn't honor that...it is part of La forestry service).
had never thought abt asking for a particular site at private campgrounds. usually i tell them the length of the trailer, number of slide-outs, and the tow vehicle. i mention i would prefer a pull thru or one easy to back into.
so far i haven't been put next to the dumpster but would not like that.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:25 AM   #7
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When making the reservation I'll usually mention that I've never been there before and if they could pick us a nice spot it would be greatly appreciated. Makes them think about you as more than just another reservation.

Our last trip last week we were only staying 2 nights at the KOA in Herkimer, NY so I only specified that I wanted a 30A water site. My site was great with 2 empty spots right in front of us but there was an RV in the site directly behind us and we probably took up 4/5 of their view of the water. Kind of unfortunate for them I'm not sure why they didn't bump us over a spot to even things out a bit.

p.s. On a side note when looking at the park map I noticed my site was wired for cable so in I go to KMart to pick up a 25' cable. I stopped counting at 90 channels....
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:48 AM   #8
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Hi=]

We are lucky here because the Ontario Provincial Parks online booking site is awesome!
Not only do they have pictures of most campsites, but they have site details listed also. Everything is there: groundcover type, site slope, shade/sun, outlet distance, firepit location, site dimensions, also lists any nearby taps or bathroom, and gives an overall privacy and site rating of either poor, average or good.
We have always picked the sites that are rated 'good' and have been very happy.

There are also nonreservable sites saved for the 'drive-in' people and these are usually some of the nicest ones=]
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:56 AM   #9
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Here in MO, the state parks require you to pick a specific site to reserve. They have pictures of nearly all of the sites online. When staying in private CG's, we usually tell them our length, number of slides, and explain that we want shade and a larger site to give our kids room to roam and not intrude on the neighbors. They assign us a site, but if we don't like it when we get there, we (my wife) have asked to move based on one thing or another. Assuming there is space left, they are usually OK with that.

Normally, on our first trip to a CG, we will spend some time walking through picking out sites that we like or don't like. Then, when we make reservations to go back, we will ask for a specific site if it isn't already reserved, or ask to avoid specific sites that we don't like.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:06 AM   #10
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we just returned from a sate park here in Texas and we had to drive into the park and around the loop and back to the park office to tell them what sire we wanted before we were allowed to drop anything at the site, maybe anew policy ad we have never had to do that before. We used to drive in a pick a site, drop the camper and then back to the office to tell what site we picked. either way we get to scout our spot.
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:25 PM   #11
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Online reservations even with pictures and info can be misleading. For example this past weekend at Writing on Stone Provincial Park (In Alberta quite close to the US border with Montana and yes a Must see place) the website claimed many sites were for less than 30 foot units. Once there we realized that all of the powered sites would have worked for our 35 feet (with bike rack). Our no service site was lovely (shade most welcome) but I'd have preferred the power.

At Miles Standish State Park in Mass (near Plymouth) the sites again were shown on Reserve America as being for less than 30 feet. That didn't make sense to me given the size of the park and the fact that some were former horse sites. I phoned and the rangers who knew the park indicated which loops would be appropriate for our rig (there were many). I can't help but think that the few motorhomes at that park was due to wrong information on the reserveamerica web site. By the way, that would be a place to stay for a week - lots to do and nice interpretive programs for the children.

I think a phone call and talking to a real person can sometimes make a big difference!
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:48 PM   #12
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We usually study the campground map online, choose our spot then call the campground to reserve it. We tell them why we are interested in that spot and make sure it is what we are looking for.
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Old 08-04-2011, 03:38 PM   #13
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I have been trying to get my wife to fly by the seat of our pants more frequently. I've found that there is no substitute for touring the campground and picking a spot before you put your hard earned money down. I don't like surprises!

We've been burned a few times, I'm sure everyone has, but you live and learn!

happy camping,
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danielflading View Post
we just returned from a sate park here in Texas and we had to drive into the park and around the loop and back to the park office to tell them what sire we wanted before we were allowed to drop anything at the site, maybe anew policy ad we have never had to do that before. We used to drive in a pick a site, drop the camper and then back to the office to tell what site we picked. either way we get to scout our spot.
We really enjoy the Texas State Parks and have had a couple different experiences.

One "let" us drive through the campground before coming into the office.

However, most of them helped us pick a site when we come in and gave us a registration receipt. They would let us change to a different one - if we wanted - but asked that we call them so they didn't assign it to someone else while we were setting up. We could come up later to get a corrected receipt.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:37 PM   #15
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Overall I haven't had any trouble with ReserveAmerica but once it had almost all the sites at a particular cg listed for handicapped only. It took a while to get it corrected but looks ok now.

Sometimes I will need to change a reservation with RA so by calling I can save one of the fees. I have changed dates, sites, and campgrounds (in various combinations). Once the person was going to charge me the cancellation fee along with the new reservation fee so I ended the call and then called back & got someone with more experience.

Selecting a campsite is getting easier with experience. My main goal is to get a pretty level site with some shade and go from there. Like others I will walk around and make notes on the best sites and ones to avoid. If I haven't been to the cg before I will try to take a day trip to check things out.
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