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Book Early and Book Often

Book Early and Book Often

Have you ever wanted to take the family camping, only to find out that your favorite camping spots are already booked up? My advice for booking campsites is to book early and book often!

The Problem

My family and I went camping in Jasper National Park during the summer of 2016. Unfortunately, I didn’t book our campsites as soon as I should have. So we ended up spending five nights speak out in three different Jasper area campgrounds – one night in Whistlers Campground, two nights in Wapiti Campground, and two nights in Wabasso Campground. Now, these are all excellent campgrounds. The challenge was that we had to move to a different campground more than once during our stay in Jasper.

Not all campgrounds accept reservations ahead of time. In fact, some of the most beautiful campsites in the Canadian Rockies only offer first-come first-served camping. That is fine – if you are flexible and able to arrive before the weekend rush.

There are also those early-season and late-season camping trips when it is easier to find great sites without having to book ahead.

But when it comes to reservable campgrounds for your peak summer-season camping trips, make sure that you book early and book often. Yes, plans can and do change. But you can usually change or cancel your reservation – generally with minimal penalty fees.

What To Do

Many campgrounds open booking many months ahead of your actual arrival date. So take some time in the fall or winter to sit down with your family and look at a calendar. Figure out where and when you would like to go camping the following summer. Then do some research to find out when the reservation systems open for those locations, and make sure that you go online or make the phone calls necessary as soon as possible to reserve your campsites.

Planning ahead doesn’t mean that you can’t ever go on a spontaneous last-minute camping trip with your family. It merely means that you will be able to book the “big” trips far enough ahead of time to ensure that you will be able to camp where you want to camp.

My Experience

This summer, the Wilson family (accompanied by Grammy and Gogo), will be making a canoe trip on the Bowron Lake canoe circuit. Booking for this popular trip opens in October of the prior year. In October of 2017, I made reservations for my family and two canoes to do the canoe circuit in the summer of 2018. But when I went to add Grammy and Gogo to the reservation the other day, there were no spots available for our orientation date and time. After sending an email and talking to someone on the phone, it looks like things will work out okay. But it would have saved some trouble if I had merely booked those other two spots when I made the original reservation.

So learn from my mistakes – book your camping reservations early and often!

Where do you plan to camp this summer? Have you ever missed out on a great camping experience because you waited too long to make reservations? Share your plans and experiences in the comment section below!