With the massive Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo coming up, we decided to take the opportunity to book a place near downtown Houston – for a month! Brian works a lot at the rodeo, and Candace and the boys love to head in for the day to experience the excitement and energy of the space. For those who don’t know, millions of people attend the rodeo. It is HUGE in Texas. Also, there is so much to see and do in Houston! We are planning a ton of activities around town, so stay tuned for updates about our travels. We learned some seriously hard lessons in the booking process!
#1 Read the fine print.
We did some quick research on RV parks in the region, and as you can imagine, there are not a ton of choices near the city center. We did some quick comparisons, and we decided to hold a lot at the one nearest to the rodeo. It wasn’t too expensive, but as soon as they sent over the booking information, we knew it wasn’t going to work! With no amenities other than being close in proximity, we were going to be charged drastically more because it was a special event date range. So, we called back and said “never mind,” and then they insisted that we pay $100 cancellation fee even though it clearly states that the fee is $10. Well, apparently, it is $100 during special events. Key word here: during. The even is a month away!? We were NOT happy. We had spent hours writing emails, calling the credit card company, and trying to speak to the owner. We aren’t posting the name of the park because they did eventually make it right. Needless to say, ask a million questions before booking or even holding a spot.
#2 Reputable chains often also come with professionalism and safety.
After the first debacle, we widened our search and found something really nice only four miles away! They are part of a reputable chain, and we have stayed in their parks before and loved it. They were clean, well-maintained, have laundry, pool, etc. Very, very nice place and CHEAPER than the previously mentioned park. We highly recommend Quality RV Resorts, and they have many locations around Houston.
Here is their main website:http://www.qualityrvresorts.com
They have just about everything you would want during a long stay. We can expect our unit to be safe and the area to be well-maintained in this highly populated major city location. Quite literally, millions of people will be around the area, so going with a reputable location is worth it.
#3 Week vs Month – we want more amenities!
We don’t care about a ton of amenities at our usual stops as we see ourselves more interested in the outdoors and having an adventure in a park; however, this is a month we are talking about, and Brian will be living there. We decided that these extra amenities would be desirable. We are happier in a state park and will even boondock in parking lot on a long trip. We aren’t bothered by it at all. A month stay is different. Also, Brian will be commuting for work, so we are talking typical laundry and high volume cooking for the family on a full-time basis. We aren’t much for eating out regularly anyway while traveling, but this will be especially true for the month!
This building has laundry services, a gym, very nice showers, and other basic supports where you can receive mail, etc. You can also utilize the grill and outdoor spaces. (They called it a BBQ pit. This is NOT a BBQ pit. This is a grill. Ask a Texan.) This will be perfect for our stay.
Of course, the boys are intensely happy that there is a pool. Someone, PLEASE, explain to the children that it is too cold to swim in a pool during rodeo season. Yes, Houston gets cold. Wind chill was 26F this week. We don’t expect it to be that cold, but you can be sure that the adults will not be testing the pool! Good thing they have a hot tub!
The small lake is catch and release, so Candace will certainly be doing some fishing!
#4 Don’t always trust the quick Google maps search.
This stay has a very high value on location. It is really not worth doing unless we can be near the rodeo. Our first quick Google search had the RV park listed with only one star and showed a weird picture, so we looked more closely at a different location. After the booking debacle, we decided to go back and read more about Lake View RV Resort. Turns out, that quick Google search gave us the right location, but the pictures were not correct at all. We are so glad that we took the time to dig deeper and confirm the details! It is a gorgeous spot!
#5 Even if the website says booked for your dates, you should call!
We first tried to get our dates booked through the website, and there were no vacancies. We decided to call anyway, and we are so glad that we did! They were great on the phone, and they shared lots of good information. Apparently, RV resorts have long-term stays and nightly rates at the same locations. The booking systems are made for the nightly stay people, so also call to see if you can get a spot even when the website says it is full. Again, the rodeo is less than a month away, so we were overjoyed to get a spot! It is an extraordinarily busy season!
We will follow-up with more updates as we get closer! Batch cooking will be up next. And, of course, we needed more gadgets…
Do you have any more tips for our first long-term stay?