In a perfect world, your plan to take a camping trip would be laid out well in advance of the departure date. You’d have chosen your itinerary and destinations carefully and made the appropriate site reservations, ensuring that you’ll have access to all the best amenities. In reality, however, the urge to get away and enjoy a break isn’t always planned. Sometimes, you just want to throw caution to the winds and head out for an impromptu outdoor adventure. Sure, you might have to deal with some challenges and unexpected developments, but hey, some of the best experiences in life are unplanned, and that’s always half the fun!

By following some practical tips and considerations, you’ll be on your way to an enjoyable last minute camping adventure.

Be as Flexible as Possible

As with any off-the-cuff activity, the lack of time to plan things out carefully means you’ll have to be able to adapt to emerging situations and be flexible about your expectations. Be prepared for the distinct possibility that you might not find a camping site with electricity, water, and other hookups. You might have to settle for a site that’s a bit of a hike from the restrooms, showers, and other amenities. You’ll just have to accept the fact that you’ll have to deal with whatever accommodations are available. Resist the temptation to turn down an available site hoping you’ll find something better at another campground. Chances are pretty good that by the time you try to reserve another site, someone else will have snapped it up.

Check for Last-Minute Cancellations

Don’t get discouraged if you’re having trouble with availability at the campground you really want to stay at. If your trip isn’t totally “let’s jump in the RV and go right this minute”, you probably have time to call the camp office a couple of times a day to check for cancellations or ask for a callback. Most people cancel in the morning or late afternoon, so those are the best times to call. Don’t forget to ask if they have a waiting list. Another good resource is our very own Facebook Group where you can ask our large online community of RVers for recommendations on campgrounds and availabilities.

Venture Off the Beaten Path

It’s quite possible that you simply won’t find a site in the campground or destination of your choice. That’s when you’ll have to venture off the beaten path and explore the possibilities at campgrounds you wouldn’t consider on a well-planned trip. After all, the whole point of a last minute camping trip is to have an adventure. Now is the time to get out of your comfort zone and just go for it. You might just find some hidden gems that you never would have known existed. Again, our online Facebook RV community is a great resource for ideas and recommendations.

Don't Forget the Essentials

You probably already have stored many of your camping essentials in your RV, but it’s always a good idea to make a checklist and check it twice before you leave. Among other things, make sure you have:

  • Flashlights and/or lanterns
  • An emergency first aid kit
  • Plenty of batteries and/or chargers
  • A generator (if you already have one)
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Toiletries
  • Any medications you may need, for your pets too
  • Appropriate clothing for weather conditions and specific activities
  • Movies, games, books, etc. to keep the kids entertained on the road
  • Snacks and drinks

It’s possible you might have access to a nearby store to buy anything you forget, but you shouldn’t count on it. Even if there is one, it might not have what you need, and it will probably be expensive.

Plan Your Route and Stops

Although it’s a last-minute camping trip, you should still take the time to plan out your route and the scheduled stops you’ll make, even if it’s hastily written up and tentative, especially if your destination is a long distance away. Even a basic plan will help you avoid problems and help you save money by fuelling up where it’s cheaper, and thereby freeing up money for other activities along the way. A great place to find information along the way is Explorer RV Club’s Facebook page, Canada’s largest national RV club, where you can also get great member discounts on fuel, campgrounds, hotels, and more.

It’s fun and exciting to plan a last minute camping adventure, but it can also be frustrating. But by being flexible and open to trying new things, it can also be the experience of a lifetime.

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