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Old 09-27-2018, 01:02 AM   #1
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Reservations required?

Hello all, *We*are planning a trip out west next September. *We will go from Ohio to Seattle, down the California coast and then southern route home. *I have planned it out with RV wizard. *Figuring about 2months. * *I have never planned a big trip like this and donít want to make reservations in case we need more time than I planned. *Do you think we should make reservations or can we hope there are open spots at the campgrounds I selected. * *I did try to do as many army Corp of engineers and national parks I could before selecting private campgrounds.
Also, RV wizard has me on some state routes when an interstate is not too far away. * *Should we try to stay on interstate routes? * We have a class A camper. ** I welcome any ideas or suggestions!! *Thanks in advance!!
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:17 AM   #2
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Iím sure you will gets lots of advise. You can always find a place to stop and rest. It may be a parking lot, a crappy site, or somewhere just south of middle of nowhere. If it is a travel destination where their are attractions nearby it is probably best to have reservations. September is not prime travel season so it may be fine. I suggest reservations.
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:31 AM   #3
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Our first trip, which we just finished last week, was 5 weeks. We made no reservations in advance more then 2 days in advance. We had a few places that only had a few spaces left, but most had plenty of room. We wanted the freedom to go wherever and whenever we wanted.

We are headed out west in a few weeks for a month. We have only 1 reservation at a small RV resort. It is only because of the location. It's only 2 blocks from the French quarter in New Orleans. We may make a few more as all the northerns will be headed down in November and filling the RV resorts.

Just watch for holidays and busy places. Make those in advance if you have a feeling the RV places may fill in advance.
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:34 AM   #4
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I would make reservations for the big holiday weekends or for any weekends that has a 'fare' or 'festival'. Otherwise you can reserve spaces from your phone while underway. You can also try freecampsite.net to find spaces for overnight stops.
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:37 AM   #5
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You don't usually need reservations unless you run to a gun and knife show, the opening of fishing season or the county fair. If it a popular location. I suggest you call a day ahead. We wander across country about 90 days a year, but seldom make reservations more that four hours in advance.
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Old 09-27-2018, 02:25 AM   #6
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We've traveled and traveled and traveled. We've gone coast to coast 3 times, also up and down the East coast extensively. In our experiences when you are in the high traffic areas like Yellowstone NP, San Diego, Yosemite, even Elko, Nv (a great stop over point coming back east) it is safest to make a reservation. I often make the reservation for a couple of extra days then adjust as necessary. We like full hook ups when we are traveling (we stay for 2-3 in Key West dry camping without issues). We like to run our washer/dryer and both ACs in a well kept campground. So we like reservations as we can.

Relative to using Trip Wizard, we love it BUT I am a bit of a planning freak and spend hours making sure of the route. I often Google looking for recommendations on various routes. State and interstate highways are generally okay. If it has a county designation - be VERY careful. For refueling we use Gas Buddy and the distance feature in Trip Wizard. I don't like getting into a fuel spot that doesn't have enough room to get in and out of without unhooking the toad!!

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-27-2018, 02:48 AM   #7
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went thru Canada from Manitoba to the Yukon and around Alaska, and back thru Montana and Idaho, over two months, with not a single reservation

but then there are some who wouldn’t dare leave their house without one!
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Old 09-27-2018, 10:50 AM   #8
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I would suggest to get reservations for a spot you really want to visit like a specific National Park or a campground close to something you want to see or do. Traveling during the off season you should be fine pretty much anywhere during the week but once you get closer to a weekend Iíd call ahead a few days before so you can adjust if you need to.
Have fun and travel safe!
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:05 AM   #9
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You won't have to worry about gun and knife shows in California. Invest in an RV specific GPS (Garmin 770 is excellent) if you will be driving off the interstate a lot. You can program your RV specs (height, weight, length, etc.) and it will route you around low overpasses and other potential hazards. As long as you are just looking for overnight locations, you will be fine. If you plan on staying a few days in any given place then research it, Google Aerial View it and make sure it fits your standards. Best part is...you are already home everywhere you go.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:30 AM   #10
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You certainly have plenty of info to work with. To make or not make reservation (IMO) comes down to what your wanting when you stop and how much you're welling to spend. With some planning you can very nice accommodations at a reasonable price. The planning is needed to get into these nicer places, they generally fill up first. If you're okay with dry camping or taking your chances with campground you can get by without reservation.

One more note - when we travel with our grands, we consider stays that have amenities they'd enjoy (pool, playgrounds, etc).

Again - this is just how we wander.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:35 AM   #11
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This is all very good advice but don't forget the most important thing:

You are doing this for enjoyment so pick your options accordingly. If not having a reservation makes you worry about finding a spot then make a reservation (they can always be changed). If you are more of a footloose and fancy free type of person then wing it. As long as you are having fun. If what you are doing is starting to feel more like work than leisure change your tactic.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:36 AM   #12
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Adding a bit more: TripAdvisor app is a great tool. As you travel they pop up on the map and have pics, reviews, etc. You can search ahead by state and call them on the fly. Also, Passport America has all the "off the beaten paths" campgrounds that offer 50% discounts. For the most part they only offer you one night at the discount but...great stops for sleep. The average for a campsite is around $15 a night. Some will charge you a couple bucks more for 50A, etc., but a good tool for making time.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:55 AM   #13
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I'm a "Cut & Dried Planner", and can't function without having things worked out beforehand...

If you suffer from this same malady: make your reservations, and have it all worked-out ahead of time...

If not: roll with the punches, and enjoy your trip!
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:32 AM   #14
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Thanks to all!! This is a great help in planning our trip!!!
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:22 PM   #15
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While we have not made any 2-3 month trips for several years, we have made 3 VT to the west coast, 2-3 month trips, several year ago.


We only made advance reservations for places like Yellowstone. Usually we would phone the CG of our choice, up to a day before our arrival to book a place. A couple of times they were full and recommended a neighboring park that had space, we were never reduced to staying at Walmart, although that happened a couple of years ago in Michigan.


We found that as we traveled, we learned of more places we wanted to visit so our plans were constantly changing. That makes it a bit difficult to make advance reservations.


Hope you have a great trip.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:44 PM   #16
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A few more thoughts.


You don't say whether you tow car or not. We towed a car and would stay in a campground for 3-5 nights and use the car to explore the surrounding area. Having the car made it easier to travel on interstates between campsites and do our exploring on local roads, where most of the interesting sights are.


Re reading your post, I would say we did your trip in 3 parts. 1 Alaska, 2 the southwest, and finally the northwest US and Western Canada.


Brings back great memories.
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Old 10-13-2018, 06:37 PM   #17
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I have done Southern Cal to Oregon several times. Starting above San Francisco and all the way up you will find many places to stay at with both good prices and no reservations. But after that both items change. Southern Cal is expensive for nightly stays and many will needs reservations. Luckily Sept. is off season so weekdays should not be a problem. But locals here love the quick weekend trips and it does book up.

Also note, most of the State Parks are 32 max with some going down to 29.
If you are in the LA Basin, look at East Shore RV Resort, largest in this area and lost of green. MOst of the LA parks are Parking lot style.
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Old 10-13-2018, 07:01 PM   #18
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yes you did not state if you tow a car or not. Some places do not have public transit and some do on the west coast.

If you are planning going to Disneyland, the campgrounds around it are expensive in the range of $400 a week or more depending on the time of year.
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Old 10-13-2018, 07:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddie8511 View Post
Hello all, *We*are planning a trip out west next September. *We will go from Ohio to Seattle, down the California coast and then southern route home. *I have planned it out with RV wizard. *Figuring about 2months. * *I have never planned a big trip like this and donít want to make reservations in case we need more time than I planned. *Do you think we should make reservations or can we hope there are open spots at the campgrounds I selected. * *I did try to do as many army Corp of engineers and national parks I could before selecting private campgrounds.
Also, RV wizard has me on some state routes when an interstate is not too far away. * *Should we try to stay on interstate routes? * We have a class A camper. ** I welcome any ideas or suggestions!! *Thanks in advance!!
What I've found on a "road trip" is if you check into a CG by 4pm, usually there is no problem getting a spot without an reservation unless it's a holiday period. Also, there are usually other CGs nearby in case your fist choice is full. But, if you plan on staying more than overnight, I would at least try to plan a day ahead and call to the next area you plan to stop for a reservation to be sure, especially in high tourist areas in June to September. After kids are back in school, it's much easier to get sites during the week, but can be a problem on week ends.
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Old 10-13-2018, 10:11 PM   #20
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If your stop is just overnight don't rule out a casino. Many have camping (parking lot style) But if you fail getting into a park for the night there is usually a casino near by, Some with full hookops and some just water and electric with a dump station. But I have never seen one full except for Council Bluffs IA during College World Series.
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