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Thread: Reservations required ?

  1. #1

    Reservations required ?

    I'm planning a trip to the next year the likes of which I've not done yet. Looking at Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota... you get the idea. My question relates to planning overnight stops. When you've done extended trips like this, did you make reservations well ahead of time assuming you'd get there on the designated day. Or did you "wing-it" hoping to find vacancies as you traveled about. I'm open to some camping, but not every night. I'm curious how others managed what I see as a possible dilemma.

  2. #2
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    We do it several ways.
    Pick a motel when we pull into town.
    Make a reservation the night before or late morning when we have a better idea where we'll end up.
    If it's a very popular tourist area during the tourist season I try to make a reservation before the trip.
    Lee
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    Past BMW Bikes: 2016 R1200RS, 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  3. #3
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    I really hate getting to the end of a long day and finding there are no vacancies. I also don't want to be locked into a strict schedule. For most of our road trips, we usually select and reserve a room just one night ahead. Use the motel wi-fi to search out and reserve the next nights room. There is less stress in our day if we know we have a place to stay, while retaining some scheduling flexibility. We can usually change the length of a travel day or the destination if it helps deal with high demand.

    Depending on where and when you are travelling, campground reservations might be harder to get, especially on weekends. Sometimes they are booked several months in advance.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  4. #4
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
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    I agree with both of the above. If we know it is a busy tourist place we usually avoid it but if it is part of the planned trip then we make a reservation ahead of time: example Branson, MO. We most often decide either the night before or about noon on the day of the stay. We have reserved a room sitting in a fast-food spot across from the motel. One time we looked up rates and then when we arrived were given a higher rate. Voni quoted what she saw on the internet the desk clerk said, "That is the internet rate. I can't offer that rate. But you can use the guest computer over there (pointing across the room) to reserve on the internet and then you get that rate." So we walked across the room and used the guest computer.

    WARNING: For campers many National Park campgrounds (example - Big Bend National Park near our house) are 100% by reservation with ZERO first-come-first-served camp sites. For many National Parks it is almost mandatory to plan ahead.

    When making a planned trip with a specific schedule such as riding to the National BMW MOA rally I now always build in at least one extra day. I didn't used to do this and suffered through some serious weather over the years. Now if there are serious thunderstorms, high winds, all-day cold rain, tornado warnings, etc. I just duck for a day. This makes the trip much more enjoyable.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  5. #5
    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    Above is all solid advice that we try to follow as well. We try to travel off season for the most part and then only make reservations the day before we arrive for maximum flexibility. If we have no choice due to the location and time of year we will make advance reservations to be safe and plan around that. We always build 1 day a week weather delays into the schedule if there is any hint of bad weather anywhere in the region. We usually map trips with just the highlights in focus and fill in the details as we travel. Feels more like an adventure that way. We also will remap on the fly if bad weather looks like it might set in for more than a day or two where we were planning to go.

  6. #6
    Registered User TracerBullet's Avatar
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    I typically plan in advance and book way out.
    The pen is mightier than the swordÖ.unless some one is trying to stab you with the swordÖ.then itís the swordÖ..definitely the sword

  7. #7
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    When we make a reservation, we try to pick places that don't have a strict cancellation policy.
    A lot of places you can cancel the day before.
    Lee
    2022 R1250RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2016 R1200RS, 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  8. #8
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    When we make a reservation, we try to pick places that don't have a strict cancellation policy.
    A lot of places you can cancel the day before.
    We often find places which can be cancelled the same day, even as late as 4:00 or 6:00 p.m.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  9. #9
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    We tend not to make reservations much more than a day out and often just look for place at the end of the day. I cannot recall a time that we could not find a place at the inn. We generally travel with camping gear, so if we fail to find a room we have camping to fall back on. I do recall a trip from AK during which we got the last room available three nights in a row.
    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

  10. #10
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Cool Let us know iffin you can't go!

    Seems like around New England the reservation system for state parks is Reserve America https://www.reserveamerica.com. One of the biggest problems I have run into is that RA takes reservations 6 months in advance so January 1st, people jump on the site and reserve the dates they think they may want to use. This just in case I want to go really seems to bugger up travel plans as so many times sites are reserved and paid for but something comes up and the site, while paid for, sits empty while one is looking for a spot.

    This is more a commentary on rude behavior on the part of inconsiderate people to not notify the facility that they can't make the reservation and open up the spot to someone waiting. The site managers don't like the no-shows either as when someone arrives looking for a spot, sees 3 empty sites and is told they are sold/spoken for.

    Good luck on prospecting for a site.

    OM
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  11. #11
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    My vacation times are limited so I tend to plan the trip completely and book sites or hotels well in advance this way I get the spots I want where I want. I do make exceptions for weather, but I like knowing where I'm staying. I'm not comfortable just "winging it", the stress weighs to heavily on me, YMMV. Maybe after retirement when I can afford more time, I'll be able to relax.
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  12. #12
    Enjoy The Ride saddleman's Avatar
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    I normally just wing it & look for a room when I'm tired. This year I reserved all of my rooms in advance because many towns were short on rooms 2 months before I left. Mostly it was because very few traveled last year. I limited my days to 950 miles instead of my normal 1100 to 1200 mile days. I didn't want to commit to 1000 mile plus days in over 100 degree temps in case I got tired. All in all it worked good for me I went through 15 states saw 17 friends some I had known for 66 years and was on the road for 9 days. In my 6000 mile trip I had over 2000 miles of rain & I liked the fact I had a room reserved at the end of the day.
    Dave Selvig
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  13. #13
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    I usually book my room for an event (MOA National Rally) as far in advance as the hotel will take them. That often gives the best rate possible, because the hotel may not have yet been informed that a major event is headed to town, and they may not have raised their rates to "Special Event Pricing". Also, this gives me time to scope out other options that may be better than my first selection, in terms of location/proximity to the event and to restaurants.

    For hotels between home and destination, I wait until about 3pm to make the night's reservation. This normally gives me the best idea where I'll be that night. If possible, I'll use the app on my phone to make the reservation. (Not possible for the mom&pop locations). Excluding 2020, when I did no overnight trips, this method has only failed me once in the last 10 years, and that was last summer on the way to Great Falls. I absolutely could not find a room -- any room -- between my hotel in ND and Great Falls! I finally booked a room in Great Falls and made one L-O-N-G day's ride from ND to GF, getting there at the end of rush hour, but I had a hotel room! The next day, I checked out, did a bit of exploring in the area, then checked into the hotel where I'd reserved a room for the Rally.

    YMMV
    J Goertz
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  14. #14
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    We often find places which can be cancelled the same day, even as late as 4:00 or 6:00 p.m.
    I think it's Choice motels or Wynham that has the same day cancel policy.
    That really makes things easy.
    Lee
    2022 R1250RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2016 R1200RS, 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  15. #15
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    I think it's Choice motels or Wynham that has the same day cancel policy.
    That really makes things easy.
    Many chains offer same day cancel policy, but it can vary by location and what's going on in town. Try doing a same day cancellation in a college town on Game Day (assuming you can get a reservation in the first place at a price you can afford).
    J Goertz
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    2015 BMW R1200RT
    2012 Triumph Bonneville SE

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