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Traveling San Diego to Vancouver-worried about lodging

Parkville, Missouri
6 posts
Traveling San Diego to Vancouver-worried about lodging


My brother and I are taking motorcycles from San Diego to Vancouver Canada over a three week period end of July into August. We would like to do a combination of camping and motel/hotels. We'd like to keep the trip somewhat fluid in the event I find an area that we like and want to spend more time there. Should we be worried about finding lodging in California, Oregon, Wasington or Vancouver if we do not make reservations in advance?

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Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
78,278 posts
58 reviews
99 helpful votes
1. Re: Traveling San Diego to Vancouver-worried about lodging

In Vancouver, you would want to make reservations in advance. I have noticed places here are pretty solidly booked through August. Otherwise, you get the sleaziest of places or the places that have OTT room rates remaining. Or get lucky.

Nanaimo, Canada
Destination Expert
for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
Level Contributor
5,881 posts
539 reviews
523 helpful votes
2. Re: Traveling San Diego to Vancouver-worried about lodging

Hi Robert,

You should really post your questions on the CA, OR and WA forums since you'll be there most of the time.

I just arrived back from a roadtrip through Oregon and Washington. Camped and hoteled. No reservations. Most of the campgrounds in Oregon were either fully booked or nearly so. Some campgrounds have a no reservation policy (such as Carl G. Washburne State Park) and if a site is available you can have it for up to 14 days. Most are reservable and have less options. As for accommodation we were struck by how many smaller motels were closed and how the ones open often had FULL signs up. A couple of nights we ended up in parking lots in our camper because everything was full. So, all in all, I think, especially for Oregon, you are taking a bit of a gamble. If you are patient you'll find a spot but otherwise I think reserving would be advisable.

Edited: 7 years ago
Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
14,931 posts
21 reviews
17 helpful votes
3. Re: Traveling San Diego to Vancouver-worried about lodging

How high is your tolerance for squalor? You will be traveling during the height of the PNW tourist season. Everyone wants to come here in late July and August. At least in tourist areas, lodging should be booked in advance, or you run the risk of either finding that there is no room at the inn, or that the inn is less appealing than the stable.

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
Level Contributor
22,814 posts
121 reviews
248 helpful votes
4. Re: Traveling San Diego to Vancouver-worried about lodging

there is a magazine you will find along the interstate that will give you a list of hotels along the route. One popular one is called


though there are others. Its been a long time since I did a road trip with no reservations but when I traveled I used this extensively. At the very least you can call a couple of them and ask if they have been running at full occupancy so that you get a sense of availability. There are also websites such at Hotwire and Priceline where you can get a room on the same day.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
39,573 posts
60 reviews
46 helpful votes
5. Re: Traveling San Diego to Vancouver-worried about lodging

When you don't have reservations during the peak season, three things happen:

1. You have to stop earlier in the day.

2. You sometimes have to take less desirable routes.

3. You spend more time driving around trying to find a vacancy and less time actually touring and sightseeing.

I made my reservations for the California coast in late Februrary and early March, but I wanted to stay right on the coast and be able to select my campground. You will be forced to spend a reasonable amount of time just driving around looking for a place to stay and will need to start doing this no later than 3 pm most days, especially in the areas that are highly popular for tourism like the CA and OR coastal areas.

While I appreciate the desire to keep the trip flexible, it does come at a price. Here's what I would do at this point:

1. Do some research. Lots of it. Start figuring out the general area where you might be staying each night, or at least the different towns that draw you along your planned route. Get a tourism or auto association tour book with a list of accommodations and start to identify places. Contact them NOW to see if they currently have vacancies and just cross them off your list if they are full. This will save you some time with trying to find a place as you go (although cancellations are always possible). You will get a feel for which areas are going to be really tough to find a spot.

2. On your trip, try to plan ahead for at least two or three days and call ahead to book where you can. This will save you some time on some days.

I'm sure you will find SOMETHING, but you may find you have to leave the scenic route you were planning on or end up staying somewhere that is either much grungier or much more expensive than you were planning.

Penticton, Canada
Level Contributor
28,620 posts
27 reviews
11 helpful votes
6. Re: Traveling San Diego to Vancouver-worried about lodging

Hi I have done that trip a few times on my motorcycle; there was always something available somewhere; it might mean traveling an hour more than you would like but it is there. If you have a smartphone use it to find hotels/motel and campgrounds in the area and make calls from a coffee shop that has wifi instead of driving - I did not have that luxury 15 years ago. KOA almost always had a tent site for a motorcycle.

if you are going 101 north of San Francisco and the fog rolls in - do not hesitate to ride inland for an hour you will warm quite quickly. If you have AAA club membership use their mapping service.

7. Re: Traveling San Diego to Vancouver-worried about lodging

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