Thursday, June 22, 2006

3:50 PM Thursday June 22, 2006

How do we pick our next overnight park?

Some people choose their next stop by the location of one of their member parks when they are traveling down the highway. Our method is different … Phil and I pick our RV parks using three criterions: sites available that are open to the southern sky, travel distance and our preferred destination. We belong to many camping clubs including: Coast to Coast; Resort Parks International; Adventure Outdoor Resorts; Good Sam Club; Happy Camper’s ½ Price Club; KOA and Passport America. Also, we might receive 10% off because we are AAA members and sometimes just because we’re “seniors”, we get a discount. Around 200 miles is the preferred total each day we travel but sometimes we drive a little less—and sometimes a little more.

Even with all our camping affiliations, we often pay full price when no member parks or discounts are available because we travel where we want to go in order to observe and experience the things that are important to us. We have had some fantastic surprises and some great disappointment but one of the biggest benefits of living fulltime in our own “wheel estate” is being able to move on if the neighborhood doesn’t suit us. Often we decide to stay longer when we really like a park and we always have the option to move across town or farther down the road when we don’t.

When deciding what park we would like to stay in, the Internet is our research tool of choice but we also have many books with RV Park listings in our library in case we can’t get a satellite hookup. We rarely call ahead for reservations until the day we travel and sometimes we wait and call when we are only an hour or two away. Only once in almost two years have we been told there is no space available—then on second thought, they found a place for us that we felt was actually better (more breathing room) than the standard sites. Because our travel days are usually very short and we stop rolling early in the afternoon we aren’t too concerned. A worst case scenario would be a night in the Wal*Mart parking lot or a few hours of sleep at a rest stop—neither of which has ever been necessary in 17 months of fulltiming.

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