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Finding the Perfect RV Park Online
Ever since my husband and I bought our travel trailer, we've been taking trips whenever we get the chance. In the span of a year, we've visited over a dozen RV parks on our way to or near our vacation destinations. We typically find these RV parks through online searches. However, what we want out of an RV park is not necessarily shared by others, like you.
Everyone has their particular expectations about an RV park. Who they are traveling with, how long they are planning on staying, and what their vacation plans are on these outings plays a big role in choosing a site. Whatever the reasons, here are some general guidelines to consider when browsing through RV park websites.
Locating an RV park is typically the next step taken after deciding on a vacation spot. Michele Boyer, writer and full-time RVer, suggests using website photos and satellite views like Google Maps to get a better picture of RV parks. In this way, travelers can choose parks that are within walking or driving distance from a special locales or attractions. You may prefer a nature-based setting or want to be minutes away from a restaurant or shopping center. Noise pollution from busy highways, trains, or airports can be avoided, as well.
Size does matter! RV parks typically have sites of various sizes and styles (i.e, pull-thrus, back-ins, scenic views). Part of the online investigation process includes contacting the RV park to make sure that there is a site available, during the time of your stay, to fit your rig and possible towing vehicle.
It is always a bonus when, after the rig and possible towing vehicle are parked, the site's space is functional and relatively private. It's never a bad idea to ask the RV park hosts or owners to give the total area measurement of the lot, especially since you are not present to determine how much space is enough for you. There may also be online reviews of the RV park with a previous visitor's opinion and experience in the space.
Although you are not present to determine whether or not the park is tidy, there are other methods to retrieving this information. Parks affiliated with major RV-related chains like Good Sam Club are evaluated every year to make sure they are up to par with standards. Becoming a member of this or other clubs can help insure a cleaner experience. Also, reading reviews can help narrow down choices.
Many RV parks offer a whole slew of amenities ranging from the basic water, sewer, and electric hook-ups to more sophisticated facilities like clubhouses, golf courses, and swimming pools.
If you are planning to stay at the park for a week or more, perhaps a laundry facility would be beneficial, or if you need your daily dose of the internet, WiFi would be optimal. If the park allows pets, make sure there are accommodations provided including dog runs or places to dispose of the waste.
According to the authors of Planning Parks for People, a key feature of an RV park or campground is the placement of amenities in the actual park. A well designed RV park has facilities away from the RV camp sites to decrease sanitary and noise issues. However, you may want to view the RV park's downloadable map to make sure that you aren't walking a half mile to get to any given facility.
After reviewing the above attributes of the RV park, it's time to analyze the park prices. There are several questions to ask yourself when determining the best deal for your dollar. Is the RV park over priced for what it has to offer? Are utilities an additional fee besides the site's price? Does the park offer discounts if you stay for a set amount of time or offer discounts through RV clubs like Good Sam or Passport America? What are the fee policies regarding cancellations or changes in dates?