A Camper's Checklist: Choosing The Right Destination
Since falling in love with camping a few years ago, my wife and I have procrastinated entirely too long in preparing our own "camper's checklist." Though I have read many posts on various pages touting the importance of such a list, for whatever reason we have simply failed to create our own. I suppose we have come to appreciate the drama associated with getting to our destination and realizing that we forgot something (note the sarcasm here). There have been quite a few times that we've been bailed out by the local Walmart. Because of such improper planning, I feel confident in saying that we have an over abundance of "stuff" in our camper, and I feel completely safe in saying that we'll never use some of it...but WE'VE GOT IT JUST IN CASE. With that being said, I will attempt to give you a few tidbits of information over the next few posts about what we've learned about preparing for our camping trips and why I feel that it is important to have a checklist. Whether you're a tent camper, or have some sort of RV, I trust that you'll find these articles helpful and entertaining. And don't forget, I always welcome your comments.
The Destination. For starters, I'll assume that you have already chosen your destination, but for those of you that are interested, let me add a tip or two that we've found to be helpful. Since most of our camping is spent in the Georgia State Parks, we've learned that if we plan on spending the weekend in a campground it is best to try and check in on Thursdays, especially in some of the smaller parks. The Georgia State Parks do not allow you to reserve a particular spot, so by checking in on Thursday we can usually beat the crowds and get a "prime" location. If checking in on Thursday is out of the question, you can usually show up prior to the official "check-in" time on Friday (or Saturday) and they'll let you go ahead and go in. The downside to this approach is that you may settle on a site too early and a better site may be vacated at the last minute before the official "check out" time. Nevertheless, if you're like us, we're pretty easy to please and we've never relocated after setting our initial site.
A final tip for those of you that are choosing a camping destination would be to scout out campgrounds prior to your camping trip. If you do a lot of traveling like I do, check out available campgrounds in the areas (as you are nearby) that you'd be interested in camping. I like to drive through and make notes. From time to time I take pictures of particular sites. I check out the bath houses/comfort stations. I stop in the office and get a brochure and rates, and I try to find out the answers to the following questions: Is the campground pet friendly? Does it have cellular reception? Does it have cable hook-ups? Is hiking available? Is there a lake/water? Additionally, we spend an ample amount of time on the internet reading reviews from sites like Trip Advisor.
So, our first tip for a successful camper's checklist is to make an informed choice for your destination. With a little bit of pre-trip homework, you'll assure yourself of a little less stress, and a bit more relaxation.
Do you have any tips about choosing a destination? If so, I'd love to hear about them. Please feel free to comment.