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Will camping cancellations open up more spots this summer?

| Updated May 24, 2022

As high fuel prices are causing many to stay home or travel closer to home, the camping industry is wondering if they can expect more spots to be opened up this summer due to camping cancellations.

That's what we talk about in this week's Episode 397 of the RV Podcast as we share lots of feedback from RVers who say inflation and record-high fuel prices are changing their summer travel plans.

You can watch the entire podcast by clicking the video player below.

To listen to an audio version, check out the RV Podcast on your favorite podcast app or click the player below to hear it right now on whatever device you are using to read this post.

Everyone agrees we need more open camping spots

Even before COVID, campgrounds were getting filled. But since COVID, RVing has exploded in popularity and with it has come unprecedented pressure on campgrounds. Many popular dates, weekends, and holidays have been sold out for months. It is not unusual that reservations have to be made six months in advance. Even longer for some spots.

Last week, the camping app called the Dyrt, issued a report that claimed dispersed camping doubled between 2020 and 2021 because of campground overcrowding. People who could not get a reservation in a campground turned to dispersed camping, the app announced in a press release,

That shows how crowded it was last year,

But this year, the travel industry and tourism officials across the country are worried that people are canceling their travel plans because of those spiraling field costs.

Last week, we talked on the podcast about how there may be diesel shortages and rationing this summer.

paying for gas - will cause camping cancellations
Will fuel prices keep going up?

Fuel prices keep going up

A survey by a TV Station in Detroit last week found that 45.4% of their viewers said they are totally canceling their Memorial Day weekend trip altogether because of the gas prices. An additional 15.3% of respondents said they might cancel their plans, and that they’re considering changing them.

The price for regular gas is approaching $5 a gallon nationwide, with many areas at more than $6. Diesel is steadily climbing to near $6 and on its way to $7 by mid-summer, according to predictions made by many in the fuel industry.

Are camping cancellations the inevitable result?

various RVs in a campground will there be camping cancellations

It’s reasonable to assume that many RVers planning long, cross-country trips are now in the process of changing those plans, again turning to shorter trips closer to home.

Here's just a sampling of the email we have received from our community.

Vince: We are in Kentucky, on our way to Wisconsin for the Summer. I think storage in Wisconsin will save us hundreds of dollars.

Mindful Kayaker: I retired and bought a small RV to make my dream Road Trip around North America but I will have To postpone this dream up to 2024 to see if things change in this Country

Peter: We have canceled 3 of our 5 trips this year because of the fuel prices. First summer of retirement, not like we pictured it. We will adjust and move on.

Dave: We made reservations back in January for camping in June and July. It was going to be a two-month trip. I have canceled them all. My fuel prices are double what they were last year. If it was just that maybe we would have continued. But everything else is way up, groceries, restaurants, clothing, medicine, museum admissions… you name it.

Marco: We are definitely seeing fewer RVs on the road. That is the first indication I think of what WILL be a lot of campground cancellations.

Russell: I was paying $2.09 a gallon for Diesel now it is $5.29 at the cheapest place, that's almost 2 1/2 times the cost. So the trip that cost me $1200.00 is now going to cost me $3000.00. I’m done. Canceling all our planned travels in this summer.

No signs yet of camping cancellations

The camping industry is not reporting lots of newly opened spots.

Campgrounds we’ve checked with said they aren’t seeing any unusual wave of cancellations yet, but some park owners are concerned that those constantly increasing high fuel prices will sooner or later change the trajectory of what was predicted to be another record summer camping season.

As one campground owner told me as long as I promised not to identify him:

“There has to be a tipping point coming when those fuel prices will be so unreasonable that we'll start to get flooded with canceled reservations. But the thing is, our phones are still ringing off the hook with folks looking to find a campsite. So right now, whatever gets canceled gets gobbled right back up by people who are still traveling. Will that continue? I don't know. It's a very confusing and frustrating time but so far, we're hanging in and doing fine.”

mike and jennifer wendland arcadia 5th wheel
Stay tuned for all our plans.

What are your plans?

Let us know how all of this impacts you or not in the comments.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2022-05-25

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

20 Responses to “Will camping cancellations open up more spots this summer?”

May 29, 2022at10:33 pm, Christine C said:

Now that Biden has said we are going through a “great” transition our plans are in limbo. We live in Oregon and had a site in Gros Ventre for two weeks in September. If the prices would stabilize that would be one thing but if there are shortages and rationing, that may put the final kibosh on our plans. We have a diesel pusher so we are watching events and trying to roll with the punches.


May 26, 2022at11:49 am, Darla Lannert said:

We recently purchased a 40’ diesel pusher which we plan to travel the US. Yes fuel prices are high. We plan to stay in Wisconsin this summer and travel to Palm Springs for the winter. Those are the two trips this year.
We are exited to live the RV Life.
Thanks for all you do.


May 27, 2022at12:47 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

The RV Lifestyle is wonderful! Thanks for the encouraging words – Team RV Lifestyle


May 25, 2022at11:10 pm, Pam Hoke said:

We have been putting monies into an account just for RV expenses such as fuel, repairs, camp fees, food, etc. Had budgeted $6 a gal for diesel due to going west to California however due to illness and now needing surgery the trip went from 9 weeks to 6 weeks to 3 weeks and now is cancelled. Still planning to go on a 4 week trip East and South this fall to see family, friends and the fall leaves. Thus with our savings with the Spring trip cancelled, this will be possible unless diesel becomes unavailable.


May 27, 2022at12:44 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Sorry to hear your trip was canceled because of surgery. Thanks for sharing how you are preparing. Team RV Lifestyle


May 25, 2022at10:40 am, Joyce Barnes said:

We have a 2019 diesel n have 3900 miles on it. Have gone on 1 trip since July 2019 to May 2022. It took 15 months to do one recall and last week we have finished with the recalls, we hope. Hope to go to Texas and the west coast.


May 25, 2022at12:00 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Hope you get to head to Texas and the West coast, too, Joyce. Thanks for sharing. Team RV Lifestyle


May 25, 2022at9:45 am, Susan Macdonnell said:

We live in Cape Breton and are leaving shortly to tour New Brunswick, Quebec as we had planned this winter. Family commitments will shorten some of our camping this summer.


May 25, 2022at9:20 am, Jeffrey Oja said:

We are NOT planning any long camping trips this summer. Staying closer to home until travel costs subside a bit. (we hope!)


May 25, 2022at11:59 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

I think many of us will be doing that! Thanks for sharing, Jeffrey — Team RV Lifestyle


May 25, 2022at9:11 am, Thomas Moeller said:

Have had to cancel our 1st trip, and our 2nd is in jeopardy, however, not because of gas and fuel prices, we bought a new micro minnie last October, still waiting for warranty repairs, inconceivable, absolutely criminal! The stole my money, and I have nothing to show for it! If we ever get it back I’ll be grabbing those cancellations! Not getting any younger!


May 25, 2022at10:38 am, Joyce Barnes said:

We have a 2019 diesel with under 3900 miles on it! Mimly because of recalls of which the first one took 15 months to fix. We just finished all the recalls, we hope. So from July 3029,to May 2022 we have had 1 trip.


May 25, 2022at11:58 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

So sorry to hear this, Thomas. That is just maddening. Team RV Lifestyle


May 25, 2022at8:06 am, Jay Dee said:

We’ve been paying 1.50$ CDN/litre for years in Canada and now 2.00$ / litre so roughly 8.$ CDN (Approx 5.50US/US gallon). The sting has since faded and we’ve gotten used to being robbed by refineries so…RV travel we will.


May 25, 2022at11:58 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Fuel is a lot more expensive in Canada for sure. Thanks for sharing! Team RV Lifestyle


May 26, 2022at9:52 am, Barbara Linton said:

But a Canadian is 1.2 gallons, and us gallon is 1.0 . So you get a little more fuel for the price on their end.


May 25, 2022at7:41 am, Ivan Cooper said:

We do a lot of fandooking and off out of the way camping during the summer. Not expecting any crowding. As we schedule area the big events. I still do some work camping jobs. Cost of fuel gets figured in somewhere. Fuel prices may affect our winter plans. We don’t book in advance and have never, anyways not yet found a nightly parking spot some where. Other than fuel cost traveling our expenses stay close to what they are at home.


May 25, 2022at11:57 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for sharing, Ian! Good to hear what others are doing to keep living the RV Lifestyle. Happy Trails! Team RV Lifestyle


May 25, 2022at7:31 am, Curt Brower said:

My wife and I have sold the house, starting June 24th we start our adventure of Lifetime of fun and adventures. Heading South in the winter time and Michigan in the summers. Any suggestions as we go through Texas, Arizona, New Mexico. We have been planning this since 2017, and starting our Rv life.


May 25, 2022at11:56 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Congratulations, Curt, and how exciting! Mike and Jen have written several 7 Day Adventure Guides for the areas you mentioned. Here is a link so you can check it out. Team RV Lifestyle


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