Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.
As I mentioned yesterday, I made my 2008 Yellowstone reservations too late in the season. (I never dreamed mid September 2007 was too late!)
I should have known better. We have gone several times in recent years. The first time we went with our son in 2001, I trusted the information from the Travel section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and made late August/early September 2001 reservations in Dec. 2000. I could get all of our dates except one. I made the reservation anyway and booked a cabin across the park for the one problem date. Despite checking at the desk every day for a early cancellation (once we were there), I never caught it. We had to move for one night and then come back, which ate up at least an entire day. Argh.
The next time we went I reserved in October. No problem.
But now that our son is no longer homeschooled, we have to go during the more popular time of year and getting all the dates is tough.
So old so soon, so late so smart? The light bulb finally lit. I just made my summer 2009 reservations now. Starting May 1st, you can do that for the following year. For the first time ever, you can even reserve the actual cabin number if you know it. Pretty great.
If you are at all thinking of going to a National Park next summer, consider reserving now. They will bill your credit card for one night, but they will give you a full refund if you cancel within 48 hours of arrival. (This might vary with each park.)
The internet makes it very easy to reserve through Xanterra, however, not every National Park uses Xanterra. Other park concessioners have online reservations too. Check with the park website; they usually have a link to lodging.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these accommodations follow the 3 rules of real estate: Location, Location, Location! The rooms vary from quaint to I can't believe they can get $145 a night for this! But the setting (location) cannot be beat.
Believe it or not, bathrooms are an option. Being cut from camping stock, we often opt for no bathroom. It saves about $30 - $40 a night. I was glad we decided on a bathroom in Yosemite though. There was a visiting bear outside our bathroom window two nights while we were there. I don't think I would have had the nerve to make the midnight trip outside to the little house with him or her around!
Even though frugal is my middle name, there is something very special about staying right in the park. It makes a big difference in your total park experience. We enjoy attending the evening ranger programs in the parks, so adding sometimes 2 hours travel time to that is difficult. Park roads are usually very narrow, dark, and winding. So we tend to cut back in other areas (food is one) in order to afford staying in the park. Plus, it saves on travel time in and out and gas.
If you are planning on going to a specific park, feel free to comment or email me. I have been to many National Parks and Monuments west of the Mississippi, plus Mammoth Cave, Smokey Mt. and Everglades. I am happy to share information.
Past Posting: Make Reservations Now For Summer 2008 Includes park websites and helpful book titles