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Old 06-18-2015, 07:29 AM   #1
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New Experience

Granted were only into our second year of camping, but we've been at several different campgrounds over the past year+, but my experience yesterday was a new one. We were on the road early yesterday, and arrived at our destination at about 11:15, admittedly early. Campground was almost empty, but we were told we could either wait until check-in time at 1:00, or pay a $10 early check in fee. The rationale was that they had to get someone in off the lawnmower to clear the site, yet it was obvious that no one had stayed at it for several days. Has anybody else run into this before?
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:38 AM   #2
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Many cg's have a no early check in policy and some charge extra. I assume to cover extra usage.

Just remember. it is their business and if you can't get them to budge, just move on.
When we camp somewhere new, we ask about the early in policy at reservation time, if we think it may come up.

Often we have delayed leaving a overnight stay to prevent getting to our next night early because we have asked and found that they have a early check in policy.
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:38 AM   #3
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Was this a commercial park or a state/federal campground?

I have never had a problem with early check in as long as the site was empty. Sounds like you ran into a ego-driven host/manager that had the power and authority to deny you the ability to check in early and chose to do just that. Or could have been as simple as greed motivation for $10.00.
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:47 AM   #4
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Thanks! This is a commercial park, and I didn't think to ask about early check in when I made the reservation - something to add to the list. We ended up leaving our previous site much earlier than expected, and the trip was shorter than expected, so a Chinatown of things.
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Old 06-18-2015, 07:47 AM   #5
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The more a CG has to offer in the way of amenities the more they get you for these early check in's or late check outs. Not all are like this, but I would say it is becoming more the norm unfortunately. I don't think KOA's do it yet, but the Jellystones do from what I have seen online.
1 CG we are staying at in July has this rule and is $5.00 per hour ahead of 2PM. It is clearly stated on there rates page, so at least it's not a surprise to an arriving family. I'll target a 1PM arrival in this case.

I have yet to pull into one before noon that is not a state park as most of the time we are just after lunch.
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Old 06-18-2015, 08:06 AM   #6
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My opinion is that the campsite should disclose this type of charge to you while you are making the reservation so that there are no surprises. I think that shows excellent customer care.
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Old 06-18-2015, 08:42 AM   #7
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It's just another "nickel & dime" charge to milk campers out of their hard earned cash. It ranks right up there with pet fees (for my cat that never leaves the TT), pay showers and any other charge whose sole purpose is nothing more than to put another "dollar" into the till.

However, I can understand charging a pet fee for dogs if the CG has a dog walking area/park/etc. and supplies those doggie clean-up bags.

While I consider both early arrival and late departure fees as unnecessary charges, there is a logical reason for having them. If campgrounds didn't have and enforce such policies, almost everyone would be arriving/departing outside of the designated time limits. Many campgrounds only have about a three hour window (and sometimes less) in which to prepare all the vacated sites. On Sundays or the Mondays of a holiday weekend, the maintenance crews really have to hustle after the mass exodus to get the campground back "in shape" the next wave of guests.

I once had to have a state park ranger literally evict the occupants of a campsite I had a reservation for. When I arrived they were still in full camping mode and displayed absolutely no signs of breaking camp. I patiently waited for a half-hour and the campfire was still roaring, food being cooked, etc. Rather than confront the occupants (they appeared to me the type that would not be receptive to me telling them they needed to vacate the campsite), I went to the park office with my dilemma and a ranger was immediately dispatched to notify the occupants they to vacate the campsite. I waited about another hour for them to break camp, pack up and leave.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:02 AM   #8
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I try not to show up at the park before the designated check-out time at least. More often I try to show up right at check-in time if I'm going to be that early.

I understand the park's need to enforce check-in/out times especially in busier parks. And sometimes it seems like all the extra charges and fees are just to drop a couple more bucks in the pocket. All that being said, I would not be surprised to be denied access to my site if I showed up before designated check-in time. I would just ask to get the paperwork out of the way, and if there was a place out of the way I could park so I could tend to my family until it was time to go to my site.

It happened once that we showed up before check-out and our site was still occupied (TX State Park). The park ranger at the desk said to go ahead, she didn't know if the previous occupants had left yet. Of course, the baby was screaming, and DW was a little road-worn. So I just found a spot out of the way and tended to the baby and took the dog for a little walk. About 1/2 hour later the people in our site left, and we were free to enter.

Yeah, it was a slight inconvenience, but having had to occupy a site right up until check-out time myself, I understand what it's like, so I give as much leeway as I can and do my best to respect the park's rules and regulations even if I know it wouldn't do any harm for them to bend the rules for me "just this once". Of course, I would ask if I could enter early if my site were empty, but I'd be okay with it if they said no, I get it.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:14 AM   #9
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The ones I have experienced that charge a early in fee was a Yogi Bear. I have been in state parks and the campers next to us would not leave on a Sunday at the appointed time. A small scene was created when the cg host told them to leave under no uncertain terms or she would call the police and have them evicted. They broke camp and went into another section of the cg and finished cooking and packing up before leaving several hours later.

These types are what ruin the experience for the majority.

I agree early in fees should be posted somewhere other than a sign in front of the office. A note on their website and in the cg rules for those that read them.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norty1 View Post
snip...

These types are what ruin the experience for the majority.

I agree early in fees should be posted somewhere other than a sign in front of the office. A note on their website and in the cg rules for those that read them.
+1
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