Close your eyes an instant, go back in time to ten or so years ago. At that time, booking your stay in a campsite required time and patience. Once you’d decided on the destination, or at least got a vague idea, like the sea or the mountains, then you had to plunge into the guidebooks, make a call or write to the campsites, ask for brochures, wait a few days, make your choice and then call or write back to finally make the reservation. But this was before the internet! Now, you can surf on the web, and in less than an hour, even for the least experienced users, you can find, reserve and pay for your stay.
Reserving online… how does it work?
There are two ways to book a stay on the internet. First, you can “just start and see what happens”, that is, without any clear idea of what you are looking for. In the second case, you know exactly what you’re looking for. In any event, the first part of your search is the same. You’ll have to enter a list of your chosen criteria. Generally speaking, the list is very similar from one site to another. These include such essential elements as the destination, the number of stars, a water park, special events, sports activities, restaurants, kids club, pets accepted, etc. Over the past few years, other options have made their appearance, such as wellness areas, children’s mini-clubs or even creches, etc. After making your choices, the site will show you a selection of campsites corresponding to your criteria.
Along with the endless possibilities on offer, reserving online is an easy, user-friendly experience. Whatever site you visit – campsites, campsite chains, tour operators or OTAs (online travel agencies), such as, for example Mycamping.com – they are attractive and easy to use, even if you’re not a big internet fan. You are guided, step by step. Some websites can even make suggestions about the destination or about the kind of stay you’d prefer (focused on sport, gastronomy, wellness, etc.). At each step, you save your choices, but if you change your mind, you can go back to a previous step. On some sites, the promise is… your stay in ten clicks or less.
Let’s talk about money
You’ve planned your stay, now you just need to pay. Before you go and fetch your credit card, you’ll need to do a bit of reading. In particular, take a look at the general terms and conditions. You’ll probably have to pay a deposit, but how much will still be left to pay? Some sites ask you to pay 30 days before the beginning of your stay, and others, only when you arrive. Also read the cancellation conditions carefully, that is, the reasons accepted (or not!) so that the money you have already paid will be refunded if there is a last-minute hitch. You should know, that sometimes when you cancel, you often lose any initial payment you made. Whatever the case may be, all the details should be clearly shown.
Lastly, at the end of the process, which won’t have lasted long, you arrive at the last step, that is to say, the total or partial payment for your stay. You should know that now, apart from a few “unusual” sites, to be avoided, payment is secured in different ways. For example, among other methods, you may be asked to open a PayPal account or, once you have entered your bank account details, you will be sent a text message with a code from your bank, which you will then have to enter within a few minutes to validate your payment.
So now you just have one thing to do – to sit down in front of your screen.