WHEN IT COMES to paying for our van park sites, we've been a bit annoyed lately. All too often, there are variations between the listed fees for certain parks, and the prices actually charged.
Have you ever checked a guide only to find a different price to the one quoted? Generally, if there is a discrepancy, you're charged a higher price.
FEES ON THE RISE
On our last trip, we came across several price variations. One member park of a well known group told us the Park Guide was out of date when he quoted a $2 rise in site fees. Yet another owner told us his fees had risen just as the Park Guide was published.
In one instance, we booked at a 2.5 star park only to be told fees had risen by $3, with no reason given. As a member of all groups, as well as an associate member of the CMCA, I asked if any concessions were offered. The answer was no.
Finally, I asked if a seniors' discount was available. Surprise, surprise, they would give a $3 a night discount to a holder of a seniors' card, but this did not apply to a pension card. It just goes to show that a) you should be very specific when asking about concessions, and b) it pays for pensioners to also hold a seniors' card where applicable.
On this subejct, another park told us they gave no concessions, until I saw a small CMCA sign stuck in a corner. I asked about a CMCA discount. "Yes," was the response. "But you have a caravan." I produced my CMCA card and was given the discount.
I have previously been told, by management of parks groups, that once their guide is published the prices should remain as stated for the period to which the book relates. However, in some cases this year, I have noticed that parks have not included their site fees. It may pay -- no pun intended -- to check this first.
In regard to the state motoring clubs' Tourist Park Guides (RACQ, NRMA, etc), I find these are not always up to date, and may give last year's fees.
In some cases, National Park entry fees are additional to camping fees. This makes them the same price as some local van parks, who offer more facilities.
The moral here is you should always double check prices, and don't forget to ask if there is any type of concession.
Recently, a member of the Big4 group told us they no longer publish their site fees in the Big4 book and other tourist guides, as most travellers now look their fees up on the website. This has not been our experience.
Online publication allows the park to change their fees at any time, rather than commit for a 12 month period. This particular park also quoted us a $1 surcharge for using our credit card. Most people use their credit card for site fees, and we have not struck this previously. — Tony