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Planning a Camping Trip
Most people plan, plan, and plan some more before taking a camping trip. According to the 2012 American Camping Report, “almost half of all American campers plan their trips at least one month in advance.” That is an astounding number of campers who have the forethought to plan a fun time out in the “wilderness” with their family, friends, or to just get away by themselves. Personally, we rarely plan that far in advance unless we are going with a larger group of people who require that kind of planning. Then again, we are the more spontaneous type. Like backpacking last weekend, with no more than a few days of planning and preparations; we just decide last minute sometimes.
The advantages of all that planning are obvious. You have more time to make sure you get all the necessary gear and food ready, reservations are set, and a back-up plan is in place, just in case. One of the downsides of being spontaneous, especially with camping these days, is that many places require reservations months in advance. Usually the more sought-after places, like Yosemite in the summer and the beach in the fall, are booked well in advance. So in order to enjoy one of your favorite campgrounds at just the right season or holiday, reservations must be made up to 6 months in advance. Otherwise, it leaves you to just the first come, first served places (which are few and far between), and there is no guarantee that they will have vacancies when you arrive.
There have been times when we have gotten all ready to go camping (pre-kids) and drove out to a local campground, only to find out it was full. That is one of the most disappointing things to find out, in the hardest way possible. With all the money we had spent on food, gas, and time spent packing, we were bummed to say the least. Luckily, we just had to drive up the road a ways to the next campground to find a spot. Another time we might not have been so lucky. Planning ahead of time would have been extremely helpful in that case. In the future (especially now with kids), I am planning on reserving our camping trips well in advance to ensure we get a spot and to avoid the inevitable disappointment upon seeing this sign!