The end of the year is a time for rest, reflection, and preparations for the year ahead – including your travel plans. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of opportunities to make 2023 an even better camping season and to get ahead of the curve.
Whether you’re getting a jump on reservations or investing in new gear, upgrading your RV or completing routine maintenance, preparation makes for smooth travels heading into the next year of camping.
To make life easier, here’s a helpful end-of-the-year camping checklist.
Some campgrounds now fill up months or even years in advance, so it’s a good idea to get a jump on next year’s itinerary now. Instead of waiting to book reservations in the spring, take the time now to make a list, research site requirements, and know when bookings go live for your desired campgrounds. Discover campgrounds wherever you plan to travel, and book early.
Gear up (and down)
Take stock of your gear. What’s left in the closet from last year that’s still unused? Is there anything you’ve outgrown your need for? Once you’ve updated your inventory and identified what you don’t need, consider donating your old gear to someone who would really benefit from it. Then consider what you might need that you don’t already own.
What items did you see on the trail or at the campsite that caught your fancy? Were there any frustrating or difficult activities or processes that might be improved with an accessory, tool, gear, or supplies you don’t already have? Now is the time to make your list for Santa this year. Don’t forget to read up on gear reviews, too.
Planning ahead for National Parks
With over 50 beautiful National Parks in the US like Hot Springs or Mammoth Cave, there’s plenty to explore — but getting a campsite at popular sites is becoming increasingly difficult. First, plan ahead: Reserve where there are openings you’d like to visit and get on waitlists early for especially popular locations.
Federal parks are pretty affordable, but who doesn’t love a good discount? A National Park Pass could save you a lot of money and make life a little easier. Not to mention, they also double as great stocking stuffers.
Read campground reviews
Considering 92% of customers read online reviews, it should come as no surprise that more and more people review their camping experiences. You can find plenty of helpful feedback on Good Sam — but it never hurts to take a quick lap through Google or Facebook as you plot out the next family foray. Take bad reviews with a grain of salt and remember different campers have different preferences.
There’s nothing sweeter than when a park provides quality Wi-Fi, but if you’re boondocking or in a rural part of the country, you might need to take matters into your own hands. Unlimited data and a hotspot, coupled with a cellphone signal booster would make for a great investment in any pinch.
Get maintenance and upgrade projects out of the way
Whether you’re getting an oil change, replacing tires and getting alignments, winterizing your RV, or completing that design project you’ve been thinking about, now is the time to tackle the maintenance projects before you hit the road.
Check out these seven interior design ideas for inspiration. Or explore the Camping World Design Centers for the tools, products, and expertise for your next project.
Find a travel membership
When it comes to scoring unique experiences or saving on your next vacation, it’s hard to compete with the value of a travel membership. Travel memberships can certainly include fun perks like retail discounts or expertly curated itineraries, but some also come with essential services like roadside assistance. Membership costs can vary, but there’s something to match any budget or preferences.
Good Sam Membership includes discounts on all Good Sam campgrounds, retail at Camping World, and savings on fuel, propane, and more.
Read up on the locations you’re considering
There’s a lot you might miss out on if you just stick to the same spots wherever you go. Take these slow months to read up on potential locations you want to visit. Take advantage of online trip planners and travel guides to get a better idea of where you should spend your time. What to do, where to eat, where to stay, what you just can’t miss — can you answer each of these questions? Take it a step further, and bank alternate options in the case of closures, weather, traffic, or busyness so a kink in your plans doesn’t ruin the trip.
Update your coverage
At the risk of sounding like a dad, “accidents happen, and that’s why they’re called accidents.” Heaven forbid you find yourself in a precarious situation, but you want the peace of mind knowing there’s a safety net in those moments. Whether you pop a flat, break down, or find yourself in an emergency and need help relocating your vehicle across the country, it’s always good to have a contingency plan.
Consider a winter camping trip
Why wait for warmer weather when there’s a lot of temperate camping to be done even in these winter months? Just look southwest and you’ll find hundreds of campgrounds like Campland and Jamaica Beach, boasting warmer climates and year-round accommodations.
Join online communities
If you’re looking to make some connections in the off-season, you won’t have to search very hard to find an online community of fellow travelers. Whatever your niche is, there’s probably a group on Facebook to match — making it a great way to share tips and plans and meet some cool people along the way.
Need help making plans for next year?
With online reservations, trip planners, and discounts on over 2,000 campgrounds, Good Sam can help.