Woodbury Questions Parks' Checkout Times
Editor's Note: The following column was written by Chuck Woodbury and appeared on his www.RVTravel.com website. This column chronicles his latest thoughts on RV travel.
I have stayed in a few RV parks this trip where the checkout time is 11 a.m. Nothing unusual about that, right? Par for the course. Now, 11 a.m. is the checkout rule at motels and hotels. They need time to make the beds and clean the toilets before the next guest shows up. Makes sense.
But RV parks? Personally, I have yet to find an RV park that offers to make my bed or clean my toilet before the next customer pulls in. When I de-park at 11 a.m., the site is ready for the next guy at 11:01. So why the early checkout? It's because few people in the RV park industry have figured out that's a crummy, unfair, stupid, ridiculous, customer-unfriendly time. What will it cost a park for me to stay an extra two hours? Hummm. . . let me think. Okay, I know: next to nothing!
But no, they want us gone ASAP, even though we pulled in the night before at dusk and plopped down half a day's wages with the idea of getting a good night's sleep — maybe sleeping in — and then lounging around with our coffee and croissants while the kids or grandkids play Marco Polo in the pool.
And what about the campsites at RV parks? First off, you'd think a park could make them level. Is that too much to ask? As I recall, the last hotel I stayed in had level floors. I believe Motel 6 has level floors.
AND DO YOU THINK that maybe the park could do something to increase the distance between campsites (and yes, I know that's not always easy)? I hate trying to sleep while listening to the guy next door break wind all night. I stayed in an RV park this trip in Las Vegas. Here's how it's described on its website: "Shaded by oak and pinzanata trees. . . it provides a dramatic contrast to 'The Strip' just six miles away." Sounds good. But check out the photo of my campsite. Now, isn't it lovely? I love the way the park provides enough space for me to open my front door without banging my neighbor's slideout. And what exactly is a pinzanata tree?
Here's my suggestion: let's start a movement. The next time you use an RV park, ask the checkout time before paying. If it's 11 a.m. tell them you will gladly oblige if they will make your bed and clean your toilet before you depart. If they won't, then move on; tell them you will stay at WalMart where you can remain all day if you want, and for free. And if they put you in a site where you can hear the guy next door hacking and snoring all night, then when you leave tell the manager that the spaces are too cramped and you will never return. And if they give you a site that's not even close to level, ask for another one, or request a 50% discount for hill camping, or demand a bulldozer.