RV "How To" Posts

How To Properly Check Into A Campground After Hours

Night Reggy


We Are Not Going To Make It!!!

What would you do if you had a reservation for a campground but after a day of traffic and other delays you find you will not make it. What if you are like us and travel long distances to get to your destination and will need multiple stops to get there?

Where do you stay? Walmart? Truck stops? Random campgrounds along the way? Although there is nothing wrong with Walmart’s or truck stops, we prefer the random campgrounds along the way. We just feel safer in a campground. So if you stay in Walmart’s or truck stops, this blog post is probably not going to interest you.

What Hours Do You Travel?

When we travel, we always try and travel between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. We take our time frequently pulling over into truck stops and stretching. We always have food and drink in the outside refrigerator. We eat, drink, stretch, and move on. We are never in a rush. That’s us though. I realize not everyone can do that type of travel. Sometimes you only have a set amount of days and need to get to your main destination in a day or two. Maybe you only have a week or two vacation.

We have done our overnight stops a couple of different ways. We have made reservations approx every 250-300 miles and as long as there are no delays we usually get there during business hours. We have also driven until we are tired and googled “campgrounds near us”. We then either call to check for vacancies or just drive in and check at the office. That is the riskier way to do it as there are not always sites available.

There Is No One In The Office, Now What?

If you are traveling like this, chances are you might pull into a campground after hours. Heck, we have traveled in the “off season” and the office was closed at 4 pm. So now what? Where do you go? That depends. If you had a reservation, most campgrounds will put a site map with your name, site#, and arrows showing the best way to get to your site.

You can then go to your site, set up, relax and enjoy the rest of the night. What if you do not have a reservation? Now what? Well, most of the time we have found that a campground will put some kind of list of available sites in their night registration area, whether it be a box or a board. You can then pick an open site and set up, relax, and enjoy the night.

What Can Possibly Go Wrong?

Since most campgrounds have these systems in place, what can possibly go wrong? Well, the biggest problem I have seen in the last year of full timing and workamping is the people who drive into a campground and just drive through until they find an empty site. It doesn’t matter that someone else might have reserved that site and was delayed and not there yet, they just pull in. Now the person who had the reservation comes in, goes to the night registration area, gets their site map, and heads to their site. When they get there guess what? Someone is in it!!!!. Not cool.

If you are going to be traveling and getting to your site after hours, you should be respectful of your fellow travelers. I have put together a list of a few guidelines I feel everyone should follow.

Here Are Some Guidelines I Think Will Help

  • When pulling in after hours, always go to the night registration area for instructions on finding your site. There you will generally find a site map with all the information you need about that campground. This could include but is not limited to your site #, directions to your site, any applicable codes including wifi, bathroom, and laundry, emergency phone numbers, and lots of other information.
  • Even if you do not have a reservation, check the night registration area to see what sites are available for that night. Most campgrounds have some kind of system in place for that. It is NEVER cool to just jump into a site without checking availability.
  • When you get to your site, get pulled in (or back in) as quick as possible and shut down your truck/RV and shut off your lights as chances are they are shining into someones else’s window.
  • If it’s real late at night, only set up the bare minimum you need to get through the night. Be respectful of the fact that your neighbors might be sleeping and have to get up early the next morning.

See, not so bad. If everyone followed these simple guidelines, it would make traveling so much better and stress-free. After all, don’t we all full-time RV for a less stressful way of life? What about weekend warriors or family vacationers? Don’t you camp to leave the daily hustle and bustle and life’s stress behind?

Did I forget anything? What do you do when pulling into a campground after hours? Any tips or suggestions? Leave them in the comment section below.




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