Thursday, August 4, 2016

Camping With Pets

When you take your dog camping, you are an ambassador for every other pet owner in America.  So, please, please, please, read and follow the pet rules at the campground or RV Park!  And please encourage other pet owners to do the same!  

Due to increased liability and the number of pets camping and RVing, campground and RV park owners are forced to continue to modify and expand pet restrictions.  Many campgrounds are limiting breeds of dogs (due to their aggressive nature and breeding).  Some limit pets in number or by size, and some are now charging extra fees for pets because of the increased risk, materials, and manpower to clean up behind pets.
Worse yet are people who try to pass their pets off as service animals in stores, restaurants, or pet-free cabins and other rentals.  First, and foremost, that is illegal.  Secondly, they are placing others with severe allergies at risk.  And third they are driving up the costs of camping for others 

Here are some standard Pet Policies that should always be followed:
If your pet is over protective, or has aggressive tendencies towards other pets or people, leave them home.  A campground or RV park is no place for an aggressive pet.  Do yourself and your liability carrier a favor, and leave them with a friend or relative or kennel them.  It’s not fair to your unsocialized pet to place them in that situation, nor is it fair to those camping around you and their pets. 
Carry your pet's shot records: This is important, not only for your pet, but for others as well. Some campgrounds require it. Even if they don't require it, it's still a good practice.   
Bring along pet supplies, meds, & first aid supplies! You never know when your pet may get injured or need treated for ticks or fleas. To keep your family & pets safe, you should check them for ticks & fleas each and every time they are outdoors. And, you should treat them regularly to protect them and your family from Lyme Disease.  Lyme Disease can be contracted by your pet in your own back yard.  You should practice prevention every time your pet goes out doors!   
Pets should be leashed 100% of the time.  We’ve had pet owners ask us why they can’t use invisible fences when camping.  The answer is simply this, it doesn’t keep other pets out and it doesn’t necessarily keep your pet in.  Other pets can cross that fence with no deterrence, and once your pet crosses that fence, you have lost control of your pet.  Pets are territorial by nature.  They will defend their territory and owners whether they need defended or not.  Without a physical leash or tether, if your pet is involved in a dog fight, you then have no means by which to remove your pet from that fight, protect them from harm, or from harming another family’s pet without placing yourself at risk. 
Barking needs minimized!  Other campers don’t go camping to hear dogs bark.  They go to hear crickets chirping, the birds’ singing, and the babbling brook at the campground.  This is probably a campground owners #1 complaint received.    
As a side note, there are barking collars and other techniques for training pets not to bark.  It’s not being mean to them, it teaches them good doggie manners.  And as a pet owner, you have a responsibility to your pet, other campers, and the campground owners, to teach them good doggie manners while camping! 
Campers should never leave their pet tethered outside at your campsite and unattended! Whether you'll be gone 5 minutes or 5 hours, this is a no-no!  Your neighbors don't want to listen to the barking while your family enjoys the pool or worse yet the local amusement park or county fair for 10 hours!  It isn’t fair to your camping neighbors and it certainly isn’t fair to your pet.  Many campers crate their pet inside the unit, and no one suffers.  So, be kind to your pet and your neighbors, and if you’re going to be absent for long periods of time, kennel your pet for the day. 
Doggie doo-doo needs picked up 100% of the time!  Always pick up your dog's waste.  Dog owners will tell you that they have been in hundreds of campgrounds and seen so many people claim, in public, that they always pick up their dog's waste; only to see them, in private, leave it on the ground and hope no-one noticed.  Look, it is not a pleasant job, but neither is changing your child's diapers and you still do that faithfully. 
Now, let’s move on to what to use to pick up after our four-legged, furry family members.  At Meadville KOA, we hand out a snack for pets with a reminder of our pet rules and they can use the bag we supply the snack in as a doo-do pick up bag.  We use cheap (no name) sandwich baggies.  They hold the snack and provide a good pick-up baggie at a reasonable price.  So, they are much cheaper than specialty doggie bags and they do the trick! 
Here are some great suggestions from our campers who are pet owners:
·         Cheap bags at the Dollar Store. The white ones are too thin and they come 100 to a box. The blue ones come 50 to a box. They are the ones to use. They are cheap enough that you can have a box in the RV, jeep, back pack and the fanny pack. And if I see someone who is walking a dog and in need of a bag I am happy to hand one over!
·         Doggie bags at Meadville KOA!  They sell doggie pick-up bags at the camp store, and the carry case that attaches to the leash!  You will never be without a baggie again if you simply buy the carrier & a package of refill bags!  They are a great value!
·         I've found an even better bag--and it's free! Our home delivered newspapers come in a tough double layer plastic bag. It's just the right size to put over your hand, pick up the waste, turn the bag inside out and tie it in a knot. I save all the newspaper bags and find all kinds of uses for them.
The best way to keep campgrounds pet-friendly is to follow the pet policies at the campground you’re camping at, and by encouraging others to do the same!  We wish you happy camping with your four legged furry friend, and don’t forget to take your doggie bags with you!
By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson, own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA.  You can contact Robyn at 814-789-3251.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

169 Million Unused Vacation Days

Recent reports suggest that unused vacation days are at a 40 year high.  The study, commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, found that American workers earned just under 21 paid-time-off days in 2013 (excluding sick days,) but used only 16.  While some employees can bank or roll over their vacation days into the next year, an average of 1.6 days were completely forfeited, according to their survey.  In total, that is somewhere around 169 million days forfeited, and amounts to a whopping $52.4 billion in lost benefits.

And yet, further studies showed that people who used their vacation days seemed to be more productive when at work, and another independent study showed that they also received better performance reviews!

Well, if you’re a Stephen Covey fan or a graduate of his self-help “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” you already know that people who “sharpen the saw” are better workers than those who don’t!  And you may already know, spending time with the family makes deposits in those emotional bank accounts and fosters family unity.  Both of which are the hallmark of family unity, marital success, and having healthy, happy, and successful children.

So why am I telling you this?  Because visiting your local campground can help you accomplish all those goals.  It can provide your family with time together, give you the time away from work stresses you need, and do it without breaking the bank or stressing for hours on the road! 

Here’s how:

You don’t have to be a camper to go camping!  Today’s campgrounds offer cabins with restrooms, kitchens, air conditioning, heat, and more.  You can go camping without sleeping on the ground, or in a dirty run-down, smelly fishing camp.  They call it Glamping (glamor camping), but what it is all about is introducing non-campers to camping and the outdoors!  And it costs about the same as a hotel, and doesn’t require you owning an RV (recreational vehicle)!

Stay in a more rustic cabin!  You don't have to stay in the most expensive or fancy cabin!  Stay in one with less frills, and you get the same experience for less.  You still get to enjoy all the activities and events.    

You can stay closer to home!  Simply book a cabin for a long weekend, stay Thursday night through Sunday night, and go home Monday.  Use 2 days of vacation and get a 4 day break!  Now that’s a sweet deal!  And you used a whole lot less time to get there (more fun and less time locked in the car with the kids), and less money in gas and less wear and tear on the driver!  It’s much more restful and relaxing!    

Camp during the week or in the off-season.  Many campgrounds offer discounted camping Sunday – Thursday and in the off-season (before Memorial Day Weekend and after Labor Day) because they are less busy, have smaller staffs, and fewer events.  So why not capitalize on that and camp during the off season or during the weekdays when you’ll spend less and have a less crowded pool to enjoy?  That way, you’re spreading your vacation out across several months, and you’re not competing with those other vacationing campers for facilities nor co-workers for peak season time off.   

Choose a campground with amenities and activities for the kids!  The kids are less likely to beg to go to the mall or a movie if there is a ball game, fishing tournament, or other activity at the campground they don’t want to miss.  So, make sure that you involve the kids in the campground selection and that within that selection is wide assortment of activities and amenities for everyone in the family.  The busier the campground keeps the kids, the happier everyone will be!  Generally speaking, campgrounds with a good activity program generally advertise the specifics of the program.  A little research in that department pays big dividends when it comes to both the bottom line and the quality of the get-away for your family!     

Make more trips and stay shorter periods.  Instead of making 1, 7 day vacation trip why not make 2, three – 4 day trips?  You’ll get more “mini vacations” or “stay-cations” as we call them!  That gives you more breaks from work, and you’ll use more vacation days, but aren’t missing a whole week at a time.  It’ll keep you better connected with what’s happening at work, but still allows for that time off we all need.

Enjoy A Campfire Together!  Skip the dinner out and the movies or mall trip. Stay at the cabin or campsite and enjoy a campfire.  Dinner?  Chips, dips, veggies, hotdogs, buns, and the fixin’s.  Kids love roasting a hotdog over an open fire.  And don’t forget desert!  You have to let ‘em roast marshmallows and make a s’more!  Don’t forget the campfire popping corn or peanuts to shell and eat!  You can tell scary stories, strum the guitar and sing campfire songs, study the constellations, or collect fireflies!  There are a host of ideas and fun to be had at a campground this summer.  You save the cost of the dinner & movies, the gas to get you there and back, and the kids are thrilled with a new outdoor experience!  

Why not start planning your mini vacations today?  Don’t let another 25-27% of your vacation go unused this year.  You need to sharpen the saw, the family needs time away, and you need to spend time together!  Start right now while there’s still enough summer left to do it!  But don’t stop at Labor Day Weekend!  Keep right on going and take your kids to fun-filled autumn events too!     

Don’t forget, you can do most of these things at any one of the many Kampgrounds of America Campgrounds!  You don’t have to go a long way to get away and enjoy a low cost but high adventure camping experience!  Use those vacations days and enjoy time with your family, and moreover, make memories that will last a lifetime!    

By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson are CPOs, who own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA. Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.  

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Why Are Visitor Fees Charged At Private Campgrounds & RV Parks?

No matter which campground that campers choose to stay at, if they have friends or family living in or near that area, chances are, they’ll want to visit them.  When guests arrive at the campground, they are often charged a visitation fee, and many are surprised by that.  Below, we’ve listed some reasons why visitor fees are necessary. 
  
The campground’s facilities can only handle so many people at a time.  It isn’t that campground owners don’t want visitors.  On the contrary, we love you to invite people to come visit.  We love to have people see and enjoy our parks.  We take great pride in them.  However, additional people place an extra burden on the facilities.  There are the obvious additional expenses of toilet tissue, paper towels, cleaning supplies, attendant’s labor, garbage bags, and more.  The prices of these supplies have sky rocketed with increased petroleum prices.  We have to recoup those costs. 

Popular, private campgrounds receive hundreds of visitors a month, which can translate into thousands of visitors a season, which translates into huge extra expenses for the campground.  The less obvious long-term expense is that expanding facilities is a huge investment these days and in order to maintain the facilities a campground has, they have to stay within the capacity boundaries for which their water and sewage systems were designed and for which they are permitted.  Water system quality, pool samples, and sewage testing are required by the state to the tune of thousands of dollars a season.  All for good reason, as they are designed to keep the public’s drinking water, swimming facilities, and ground water safe.  However, when extra burdens are cast upon those facilities, the costs to maintain and operate them increase as well.  If the testing of those systems is that expensive, imagine the increased operating expenses for them as well.

State and local laws, set occupancy, and facilities are only permitted for so many people accordingly.  Design load and licensing of campgrounds or the facilities is similar to the ‘seating capacity’ license you see in food services, however recognize that because a campground does not have tables and chairs that limit occupancy, it must be done in another fashion.  The state issues sewer treatment permits based on the total number of campsites and number of people per campsite, times the average water usage per campsite.  That is why the number of people per campsite and the total number of campsites is limited.  When the campground is full, an extra 8 people is another campsite.  Multiple that by several campsites, and the idea of overflowing sewer systems should come to mind.

In addition, the visitor rates aren’t normally set on the person who uses the facilities the least, but on the average cost of the visitors to the campground or RV park.  The campground owner assumes that your family will participate in activities and events, enjoy the entertainment provided, and or utilize the swimming pool, and other facilities and amenities.  These business owners know that their visitor rates go up dramatically on holiday and special event weekends.  The numbers of visitors increase because we have special activities and events; have better entertainers or entertainment and more things to do.

In some states, laws require that every visitor to a private outdoor hospitality property register, regardless of intent to visit residents or use the facilities. State health department require that business owners can identify all in residence and visiting in case health issues arise.  User pay fees are the fairest way to cover the costs of those inherent costs, and should a health risk arise, to identify the users at risk.

Security is always a concern.  Campgrounds, like anywhere else, can be a target for thieves, child predators, etc. So tracking who is in the park helps to reduce the chances of theft, child abductions, among others.  It provides more security for both your family and possessions.

Emergency Preparedness is essential!  What if the campground had to be evacuated in the event of a fire, flood, hurricane, or tornado?  How would the campground account for who was on the premises and who might be missing?Parking extra vehicles is another issue.  In most campgrounds, real estate is a premium.  So, too many cars per campsite quickly become a congestion and safety issue.  Most campgrounds limit the number of vehicles per campsite to one or two for safety reasons and rescue vehicle access.  Therefore, the campground needs to provide extra visitor parking areas to relieve that congestion and ensure access for emergency vehicles.  That means that there is a clerk that has to assign the visitors tags, provide access to the park, a campsite map to help the visitor to find the folks they desire to visit, and finally directions on where they are to park.  All of these materials and the employee’s time is an additional increase to the cost of operations to the business. Be a courteous camper!  No one wants to be camped next to a mob.  If you’re planning a family reunion, birthday party or another celebration of some sort, ask about using a pavilion or facility so as not to intrude on your camping neighbor!

Increased visitors increase a campground’s liability insurance costs.  The rates for a campground’s liability insurance are based on the risk assessment and the number of people who occupy a campground during a season.  The higher the number of occupants in the RV Park or campground, the risk increases accordingly.  In addition, some insurance carriers argue that visitors are more likely to be injured because they are unfamiliar with their surroundings, may not be aware of all the rules or safety policies at campgrounds, and are less likely to be dressed appropriately for the camping or outdoor experience.  All of these things place the visitor at an increased risk for an injury.    

Remember that privately owned and operated campgrounds aren’t subsidized by tax dollars like federal, state, and county parks.  Even at most of those campgrounds, there is an entrance fee, and then camping fees on top of it.  They charge for visitors too.  It’s called day use fees.
     
State Laws define unlawful trespass and theft of services.  Visitors or users of any private property that have not identified their purpose are considered trespassers, and are subject to trespass laws, and or theft of service charges. In some states, this is also called defrauding an inn keeper.  These laws help protect campgrounds from thieves, vagrants, etc.  Trying to cheat or defraud a campground owner as to how many people you have camping with you or visiting you can land you in hot water with the law.  Please don’t do that! It’s not only more honest and the right thing to do, it’s the law.  Please don’t place a campground owner in the position of having to have you arrested for unlawful trespass, defiant trespass, and/or theft of services.

Read the back of your visitor's tag!  Many campgrounds, offer a full refund if you're only there a short time (less than an hour).  You just take the time-stamped tag back to the office and they'll refund your visitation fee if you were there in less than that amount of time.
  
Visitor’s fees, as you can see, are necessary.  There are additional costs associated with visitors.  It isn’t fair to pass those costs on to all the campers.  That is why most campgrounds charge the people receiving those services (i.e. the visitor) for the services rendered.
So the next time you hear someone complaining about a visitor’s fee, or worse yet encouraging another person to cheat or to avoid paying a visitors fee, remember that it is you, the RVer or camper, who will ultimately pay for that visit.  At the end of the business year, when the numbers come in, and that owner looks at the bottom line from that camping season, the campground owner will have to set their rates for the next season to offset their losses.  In other words, they’ll have to raise the campsite prices accordingly to pay for those extra supplies, extra tests, extra labor and extra maintenance.  So when visitors cheat, they aren’t cheating just the campground owner and breaking the law.  In the end, they are cheating the American consumer, and in this case, that is you, the camper. 
By Robyn Chilson


Tim & Robyn Chilson, own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA.  You can contact Robyn at 814-789-3251

Saturday, May 7, 2016

May is National Lyme Disease Prevention Month

Lyme Disease Awareness Month is a campaign which promotes preventative measures which can be taken against Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is an acute inflammatory disease caused by the bite of a tick infected with the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi; Lyme disease is spread through the bite of ticks which carry Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.
In the United States there are two main species of tick which carry and spread Lyme disease. The deer tick or black legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) spreads the disease in the north central and eastern parts of the United States.
The western black legged tick (Ixodes pacifus) spreads Lyme disease on the west (Pacific) coast. Both species of ticks are found in wooded areas. The life cycle of the Ixodes tick is complex.
Symptoms:
There are two types of symptoms of Lyme Disease: first and late symptoms. First symptoms are usually flu-like and include fatigue, tiredness, joint and muscle pain, and also a characteristic rash. Late symptoms can take much longer to develop: weeks, months or even years. Late symptoms may include fatigue, mental health issues, the condition arthritis and chronic encephalomyeltits.
Chronic encephalomyeltits is a progressive condition (symptoms become worse or more widespread), and include back pain, bladder problems, vertigo and weakness in the legs. Late Lyme disease can also cause brain, joint, and heart infection.
The Need For This Awareness Month:
In the United States over the last few years, there has been a steady increase in the number of reported cases of Lyme disease. Lyme Disease Awareness Month educates both the young and old about Lyme Disease and how they can take steps to prevent it.
As both types of ticks which carry the Lyme disease virus live in wooded areas, people who visit these areas are encouraged to wear protective clothing around the ankles.
White or light clothing is recommended as it is easier to spot any ticks. Shirts and T-shirts should be tucked into your pants (trousers), and socks pulled up over the bottom of the pants. Using an insect repellent can also help prevent the ticks from getting on to you. Pets should also be checked. Before returning inside it is recommended to do a tick check first.
Tick Removal Lowers The Risk Of Lyme Disease:
Carrying a tick removal kit is advised as they can be used to effectively remove ticks from body reducing the risk of disease transmission. Often the disease is transmitted when a tick is not removed properly.  We carry these in the camp store.
The body breaks away with the head still buried in the skin; this causes the tick to regurgitate its contents into the person’s body.
'Do It Yourself' tick kits should include an insect repellant, a tick removal, an antiseptic and small vial. 
Using the removal tool, remove the tick with the tool, hooking the tick as close to the skin as possible. A gentle twisting action is recommended by the Lyme Disease Foundation to remove the tick, and all the tick’s mouth pieces as thoroughly as possible. By placing the tick in a vial with a blade of grass, the tick can be kept alive for testing.  Take it and seek immediate medical attention.  In tick prone areas, emergency room or urgent care centers may prescribe a 10 day dose of antibiotics as a preventive medicine without testing the tick. 
Remember, ticks can happen anywhere in the US.  You can get a tick from any outdoor activity like hunting, hiking, gardening, mowing, etc.  What you may not know is that you can also get Lyme disease from your pet, Christmas tree, picking strawberries. 
Make sure you know how to protect yourself and your family.  Buy and routinely wear tick repellent.  Practice good hygiene practices and bath or shower thoroughly after being outside, and checking yourself and family members for ticks.        

This article was reprinted from Lyme Disease Foundation Page.  You can get more information at: http://www.whathealth.com/awareness/event/lymediseaseawarenessmonth.html 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

There Is More To Comparing Seasonal Campsites Than Rates!

There is more to comparing Seasonal Camping at campgrounds than just rates.  To decide where you want to camp Seasonally, you’ll want to compare the type of campground, location, camping rates, ratings, things to do in the surrounding area, events, activities, and amenities the campground provides, and more.  We’ll look at each of these items individually, highlight the differences, and look at why they’re important to consider when choosing the right campground for your family. 

What is Seasonal Camping?  Just about any RV can be used for seasonal camping.  RVs are any recreational vehicle used for camping recreation.  They can be a park model, motorhome, 5th wheel, travel trailer, camper van, truck camper, or ear drop, or tent trailer (popup).Seasonal camping is best described as parking your RV at one campground for the entire summer (or year), versus traveling.  Why would people want to do that? Travelling, while fun, is a lot of work.  You have to pack the RV, tow it to the campground, unhook and set up, camp, tear down, hook up, tow it home, and then unpack it. 

Parking your RV for the summer provides you almost a vacation home-like get away!  You set it up in a park, and then go to camp when your schedules permit.  It saves a lot of time, work, and wear and tear on you the camper, and on your tow vehicle.  You can also drive a more economical fuel vehicle back and forth to camp, thus saving money on fuel.  And of course, Seasonal Campers pay a flat fee for the whole summer.  They get a greatly discounted rate over the weekend rate.  In other words, it allows you to maximize the use of your RV, while minimizing your work load and costs.  Basically, it provides you the equivalent of a summer get-away or vacation home.   

Campgrounds differ greatly in the kinds of campers they serve.  Campgrounds can be primarily travel parks where travelers stop in, stay a day or two, and then continue their travels towards their destination.  They are usually located near a major highway (or intersecting highways).  There are also tourism/recreation destination parks that cater to people in the area for another reason, usually for a large amusement park, or a high tourism or recreation area (near a beach, lake, state or national park, etc.).  Then there are destination campgrounds, where people camp to attend the events, activities, and utilize the amenities that are specific to that particular campground. 

Because campgrounds serve different types of campers, as you might expect, they also vary in what they have to offer in the areas of facilities, activities, events, and amenities.  Some are family campgrounds, some cater more to partying, and some are adult only (retirement age) parks.  These are not hard and fast rules, either, of course. 

Our KOA is primarily a destination family campground, but we receive travelers too, and we have lots of couples without children who camp with us.  At KOA, they are branded as Holiday Parks. 
Many times, our campers attend local fairs, concerts, amusement parks, and more.  So while a campground may consider themselves primarily in one of these categories, they certainly can fall into all of these categories.

Seasonal Camping Programs Vary.  Some campgrounds sell the site, and campers become part owners in the park and then they pay a maintenance fee (much like a HOV fee), for their seasonal services.  There are good points and bad points to owning a campsite.  Many times, it is very involved, and when you are ready to leave, you then have to sell your lot and RV which can take a lot of time.  Often they are run by an owners association, which may or may not have people on the board who know anything about running a camping facility.  By the time you purchase, pay for insurances and yearly fees, you could have camped seasonally for many years without all the additional liability, costs, and other issues.  And, of course, you can stop seasonal camping with the freedom to leave at the drop of a hat.   

Location, Location, Location!  When choosing a campground for Seasonal Camping, you want one with a close enough commute that you can maximize the use of your RV, but minimize your travel and time commitment.  That said, it is well worth your money and time to travel a little further to get you to that higher rated campground, that serves your camping needs better than to camp at a not as nice park.  Some parks have very small sites, and campers are too close to have a relaxing stay without feeling intruded upon.  Some don’t provide utilities and conveniences you’d want – like TV or Wi-Fi.  Some have activities for children and adults, and some do not.  So while location and close is important, meeting all your camping needs is the primary requirement!    

Are There Additional Charges for Facilities, Amenities, Activities, and Events?  Many campgrounds offer children’s crafts, events, activities, or rental amenities.  These items often have additional costs associated with them.  So the campground that charges less per season for the campsite, may sound like a better deal than a campground charging more for the campsite, until you look at all of the ancillary charges.  Some campgrounds charge for 2 adults and extra for each child, some (like us) it’s a family of 4, some limit your camping to just weekends, and some (like us) have unlimited camping.  Some charge extra fees for activities, Wi-Fi, Cable TV, or onsite winter storage, and some (like us) include everything in the seasonal campsite.  In fact, we even mow your campsite for our Seasonal Campers at no additional fee.  To the best of our knowledge, we’re the only campground in Western PA who provides that premium service without a premium price tag.  You have to ask a lot of questions when pricing Seasonal Campsites, and not just how much the site is.  

Questions You May Want To Ask:  How many people are included in the seasonal camping fee? How much is it to add additional people?  What are the charges for those?  What are their visitor’s fees?  Do they offer 50 amp electrical service?  Are their sites spacious?  What recreation do they offer?  Is there a charge for the recreation?  What activities do they offer?  IS there are charge for those?  What rental amenities do they have to keep the kids busy?  Is there a charge for those?  Do they offer Wi-Fi?  Is there a fee for it?  Do they offer cable TV?  Is there a fee for it?  Do they offer meals?  What do they cost?  Do they allow golf carts?  What are the rules?  When is quiet hours?  Are they enforced?  Do they offer onsite winter storage?  What’s the charge for that?  How does their payment plan work?  Do they charge interest?  So make sure you add all of those individual charges that aren’t included, to look at them versus a campground where they are included, to see which one is really the most affordable.  You need to know the real bottom line total before signing on the dotted line!          

Check campground ratings before you become a Seasonal Camper.  If they aren’t rated well by their overnight guests and campground directories, chances are, you aren’t going to have the family experience you seek.  Make sure that the place you choose to spend your summer serves their campers well.  When you look at campground ratings, you’ll know where you’ll want to be, and where you won’t want to be.  Just don’t underestimate their importance!
 
Try camping at the campground of your choice before becoming a seasonal camper.  Camping at the facility, walking the grounds, and meeting the other seasonal campers will tell you the most about the facility.  Are the other campers friendly?  Is the campground neat and well maintained?  Are the other seasonal camper’s campsites clean and well maintained?  Are quiet hour policies really enforced?  Are people drinking and driving golf carts all over?  You may not think about some of the things you’ll learn both about the campground, and the campground owners.            

As you can see, there are probably more variables involved than you originally thought.  Choosing the right campground to camp for the season is important.  Don’t short change your seasonal camping experience by picking a campground without fully investigating what it has to offer and what it’s really going to cost you to camp there.  The old saying of “the devil is in the details,” says it all.  So make sure you ask the right questions and know exactly what your camping will really cost you, before you sign a seasonal camping agreement! 

You can check out our Seasonal Camping Sites that are available for 2016 at https://meadvillekoa.com/seasonal-camping/

As always, we hope that you come see us at Meadville KOA Campground and allow us to show you what we can provide your family!    

 By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson, CPO own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA. Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251. 


  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Big Savings Weekends!

March is a great time of year to begin booking your summer campouts.  Everyone loves a discount, and that is why you need to know about the KOA Value Kard Rewards Membership, and these special discount weekends offered at KOA Campgrounds.  They can provide big savings for your family!

All campers are welcome at KOA campgrounds.  You do not have to be a KOA Value Kard Member to camp at a KOA campground.  If you do become a KOA Value Kard Rewards Member, it pays you back with big savings!  The more you camp at KOA Campgrounds, the more points you accumulate, and the more discounts or free camping you’ll receive.  First, for a yearly membership of just $30.00, you save 10% on every stay at any of the almost 500 KOA Campgrounds across the US and Canada.  Secondly, you receive points for each stay, card renewal, special offers, and more.  Those points can later be redeemed for more discounts or free camping,  as long as you maintain your membership.  Third, being a KOA member entitles you to these special discount weekends listed below, and the Hot Deals advertised on the KOA website for each individual KOA Campground.  You can get more information about KOA’s Value Kard Rewards Program at https://koa.com/value-kard-rewards/.  If you have any questions about the program that we can answer for you, please feel free to call us, and we’ll help you!

We hope you’ll join us for these three super savings weekends offered by KOA! 

May 13th & 14th is Care Camps Big Weekend!  All paying guests renting a campsite Friday May 13th, receive Saturday May 14th for just $10.00!  We dedicate this weekend to raising money for Care Camps across the United States to help send sick children to enjoy the healing nature of camp.  In 2015, thanks to the generosity of our wonderful campers and suppliers, KOA raised over $1,000,000 for this effort.  KOA covers all the administrative costs for the charity.  That means, that every dollar of every donation you make, goes directly to sending a critically ill child to camp.  This weekend can save your family 40% on camping! We hope you’ll donate to help us send a child to camp!  Your family saves big on your weekend of camping, and you’ll walk away feeling great about helping a sick child enjoy just being a kid at camp!  It truly redefines who they are, and as always, we thank you for your generosity.   

On Father’s Day Weekend, June 17th & 18th, kids camp free for all Value Kard Reward Members at all participating KOA Campgrounds.  If you have a large family or want to take the grandchildren camping for Father’s Day, this is the perfect weekend for you to go camping!  The campgrounds will have fun family events and activities planned to celebrate Father’s Day!  And of course, our rates include 2 adults and two children every weekend all summer long! 

Each year in September, KOA hosts a national Value Kard Reward Members Appreciation Weekend!  KOA wants to make sure you know how much we appreciate all of our great KOA Value Kard Reward Members!  All KOA Value Kard Members receive Saturday night at no charge when they purchase Friday night at all participating KOA Campgrounds.  This year, the national Value Card Weekend is September 16th & 17th at all participating KOA Campgrounds.  However, at Meadville KOA, we’re actually having ours the weekend prior on September 9th & 10th.  That gives our campers the opportunity to camp with us for one night free, and then to camp for one night free when they buy one, with another participating KOA on the weekend of the national campaign! 

No matter how you add it up, if you take advantage of just the Care Camps Big Weekend, or just the Value Kard Rewards Membership Appreciation Weekend, you’ll have more than paid for the cost of the KOA Value Rewards Kard Membership fee and already started saving money and collecting points.  You can get more information about KOA’s national events and which campgrounds are participating at http://koa.com/national-events/.           

If you don’t have an RV, but want to try camping, some KOA’s offer these discounts on cabin rentals.  It’s a great, low cost way to introduce your family to camping!  Check out the KOA deluxe cabins.  Most KOA Campgrounds now offer Cable TV in their deluxe cabins.  All KOA Campgrounds offer Wi-Fi.  KOA deluxe cabins will change your perception of camping, as they are a great, affordable, fun family vacation value.  

We hope that your summer camping plans include us at Meadville KOA Campground! We invite you to join us for Care Camp Weekends and to not only get a great discount for your family, but to help us change the lives of critically ill children.  We thank you, as always, for your generosity.  

We also have other great discount offers!  Make sure you check out all the special discount offers we have for police, Fire fighters, and EMT’s, and our repeat camper’s discounts (within the same season) that will save you up to 20% on all future campouts this season!  And we have a very special cabin offer of buy 4 nights for the price of 3 for May and June!  You can find all of those discounts and more at: https://meadvillekoa.com/discounts-and-free-camping/

We look forward to seeing you this summer!  Until we do, we always wish you safe and fun camping, wherever your travels take you!     

By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA.  Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251 or at www.MeadvilleKOA.com.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!