This Sneaky Trick Helps You Score Highly Sought-Out And Sold-Out Campsite Reservations

Whether you like pulling your RV into the chilly pine forests of Washington State or setting up a tent to camp along the Florida coastline, you've probably had the frustrating experience of finding the perfect campground, only to realize it's all booked up. There's a bigger issue with campsite reservations right now that might not be fixed any time soon, but the immediate problem of securing a great spot for your next camping trip does have a solution: Cancellation checkers like Campnab, Arvie, or Schnerp.


There are a lot of causes of campsite shortages, the most obvious being that more people want to go camping than most campgrounds can accommodate, so competition is fierce. Another issue is that reservation windows open so far in advance that many people excitedly book trips that they won't actually be able to make, when the time finally comes. Worst of all, at some campsites, certain dates are blocked off as un-reservable far in advance — unless you book a large block of dates. In order to book the date they want, some people book several weeks of dates at once. 

Once booking for all the campsites opens up, all they have to do is cancel their reservations for the days they never actually wanted. This practice locks a lot of people out of good campsites, and at the moment, there doesn't seem to be any way of stopping people from doing it — but fortunately, you use a campsite availability checker to alert you to cancellations.


How do campsite cancellation notifications help?

If you're hoping to secure a gorgeous campground near NYC so you can escape the hustle and bustle, you might have to plan ahead. Most parks book months in advance, so if you have a surprise long weekend, you're probably not going to be able to just pack up the few essentials you'll want for a quick and easy camping retreat and score a campsite at the last-minute — unless someone else cancels their reservation. That's where cancellation checkers come in.


Believe it or not, that actually happens all the time, but unless you have the time to spend the entire day refreshing the booking pages on all the campsites you'd be willing to choose over and over again, it might be hard to snag one. Luckily, you can use campsite availability checkers to alert you when a campsite you like becomes available. Some will even book the campsite for you. 

According to Eric Karjaluoto, one of the founders of Campnab (via Campnab's YouTube), thousands of campsite reservations are canceled, but because nobody knows those campsites are available unless they happen to remember to check the website at just the right date, they go unused. Through Campnab, Aarvie, and Schnerp, you can create an alert for yourself and get a ping if somebody cancels.


Which campsite checker should you choose?

The basic idea of all campsite availability checkers is the same: You get an alert for an available campsite, click the link, and book fast before someone else snags it. But how do you know which checker to use? The first question is which one has the campground you're interested in. As its name suggests, Arvie monitors RV campsites — approximately 5,000 across the U.S. — so if you're looking for a place that can accommodate your RV, it might be a good fit. As a bonus, you can turn on "insta-book" which allows Arvie to automatically book certain campsites as soon as someone else cancels them, so you'll never miss out just because you weren't looking at your phone. There are no booking fees, but you do have to subscribe to use it, which costs $19.95 per month.


Schnerp has the edge when it comes to price, as it's the only one with a free tier. You can only have it check one location at a time, however, or you'll have to upgrade to one of their higher tiers, which cost $15-29/month. Currently, Schnerp only covers Canadian campgrounds. Campnab has the most campsites, scanning more than 7,000 campgrounds. They have pricing plans that range from $10-30/month, and unlike the others they will also allow you to pay for a single search if you're only interested in one spot, though it does cost the same as just signing up for a month.