Booking campsites ahead on tour - or not

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silverfox
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Joined: 28 Jan 2012, 12:15pm

Booking campsites ahead on tour - or not

Postby silverfox » 24 May 2012, 7:04am

On my last 5 day tour I decided which campsites I was going to stay in for each night and rang them up and booked it, although most said it didn't need to be booked, I could just turn up. That was ok, but it seemed to take away one of the points of camping, which is the freedom. I am thinking of a 14 day tour in the summer and I would prefer not to be so tied down. I'd like to be able to just do the mileages I feel like on a particular day and know I can find a campsite at the end of the day. I don't want to carry a chunky copy of the C and C Club guide. I know there are campsites marked on OS maps, but much fewer than are actually there on the ground and they may have closed since the map was published. I could write out a list of sites from the internetI suppose, but that would have to be for every place I might want to stay in two weeks? That seems a bit of a chore. I don't like wild camping and don't want to get stuck having to do it. What do any of you cycle campers do about this? Any suggestions?

eileithyia
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Re: Booking campsites ahead on tour - or not

Postby eileithyia » 24 May 2012, 8:20am

Tis awhile since I cycle camped in this or any other country... just use the turn up and hope method. Never had a problem getting a place on a campsite other than below;
Some years ago now but the only time I found the campsite sign on an OS map unreliable, was when the site had clearly been turned into a gypsy permanent base, but there was another campsite a few miles away so we just went there... fortunately on this occasion we were in the car.
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Paul-S
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Re: Booking campsites ahead on tour - or not

Postby Paul-S » 24 May 2012, 8:26am

If you are a member of the C & C and are cycling there is no need to book a club site. You are classed as a backpacker and they will find you a pitch.

Cheers,

Paul.

bluemint
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Joined: 27 Jan 2012, 10:46am

Re: Booking campsites ahead on tour - or not

Postby bluemint » 24 May 2012, 12:47pm

I tend to plan my routes by where I can stay. http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/ I find is very helpful. Not the most user friendly of sites but their database is vast and the map search feature and user reviews are very helpful in finding me a site that suits me.

I tend not to bother booking as I don't think bike campers get turned away very much. We don't turn up in big groups and don't have cars cluttering up the place. Only if it's very busy would I imagine a problem, but I think I'd rather have a crack at wild camping.

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foxyrider
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Re: Booking campsites ahead on tour - or not

Postby foxyrider » 27 May 2012, 10:24am

Personally i've never been turned away from a site when i've turned up 'en spec' either in the UK or Europe however i have seen others have to go look elsewhere.

I try to make a provisional booking for each night, you rarely have to stump up any deposit to do so, if you don't make it, well thats the way it goes. For popular areas i wouldn't dream of just turning up. Theres nothing worse than getting to a site and then finding you have to set off on a potentially long trip to another stop or search for B&B.

To avoid issues i try to be at the chosen site by @ 5.00pm, often its earlier as i try to plan most of the days riding early in the day with sightseeing in the afternoon. Those who are rejected are the late arrivals which makes the search ever more frantic!

Personally I use ACSI to find my sites, their website covers all of europe and you can make enquiries with the sites directly. All sites are regularly inspected for quality and the trip planner is pretty useful too!

www.acsi.eu/en
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Booking campsites ahead on tour - or not

Postby Tigerbiten » 27 May 2012, 9:13pm

I'm day on 45 of my tour around parts of the UK, with another 80 odd days to go.
I never book ahead as after about week 4 my daily mileage mileage could have increased by 50% as I get fitter.
I workout a rough idea as to where I'll stop in 4-6 day blocks, but as I'm rarely on-line on tour I do carry the C&CC book as it helps to find sites along the way.

I did a similar lenght trip last year and only got turned away once, but that worked out better in the long run as the next site was only ~5 miles down the road.

JohnCKirk
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Joined: 27 Jun 2010, 12:39am

Re: Booking campsites ahead on tour - or not

Postby JohnCKirk » 4 Jun 2012, 9:56am

foxyrider wrote:To avoid issues i try to be at the chosen site by @ 5.00pm, often its earlier as i try to plan most of the days riding early in the day with sightseeing in the afternoon. Those who are rejected are the late arrivals which makes the search ever more frantic!


Thanks, that's useful info. When I've stayed at youth hostels, they normally list the times that reception is open, e.g. 08:00-10:00 and 17:00-22:00. I can't find any similar info for UK campsites, so I wasn't sure how late I could reasonably arrive. Is there any rule of thumb for how early you need to leave the morning?

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foxyrider
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Re: Booking campsites ahead on tour - or not

Postby foxyrider » 5 Jun 2012, 10:48pm

I'm generally off and away by nine, nine thirty at the latest - i don't want to spend half the day on a campsite! In the summer months i have been known to be away before eight, generally if i'm catching a ferry or have a long day ahead. Its rare i sleep past seven in the tent, its too light!

Most sites won't hassle you as long as you leave before noon, some though do have departure times after which they charge another night so at least get your canvas down!
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

Slowroad
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Re: Booking campsites ahead on tour - or not

Postby Slowroad » 22 Aug 2012, 10:43am

I've also put this on the other thread re same issue:
A topical question - I've spent ages this week emailing and phoning campsites for a tour next week, only to be told "we're full" but then when I asked "we wouldn't have turned you away if you'd just turned up". So by planning ahead to get some security re where I'll be staying I've somewhat messed (let's be polite) up my holiday!
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin