Heading to a state or federal campground? Bring your checkbook.

Today while paying a bill “the old fashioned way” I remembered that I underestimated the number of checks I would write on our travels.

Bring more checks than you think you will need!

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In “regular life” writing a check is pretty rare. I use checks for a few personal transactions and I do everything else with some form of online banking, or cash. As do you, right?

With camping, free is best, of course. The BLM is great for this! So are New York State Parks. But sometimes you have to pay.

A Forest Service campsite might cost $6 or $10 or $15 a night. There’s a small wood or metal box that you stuff your payment into, in a small envelope with tiny boxes to fill out in pen. There’s no credit card option. Cash works too, but with no “cashier” there’s no mechanism for providing change. And nowhere to get money in the woods!

Some places are more modernized. Private facilities take credit cards, for sure, unless they’re small town operations. I also reserved a lot of California State Park campsites using their online system and a credit card – but it only works on registrations a couple of days out. When you’re traveling day by day and you pull into a California campsite without pre-registration, you’ll end up wanting a check. The camper host will have a packet of envelopes. It’ll become a familiar process.

And if you’re lucky enough to be living like this long term — You’ll write a lot of checks.


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