If you’ve been having trouble booking a camping reservation through B.C.’s online system, a new app might just get you to the lake this weekend.
The province’s Discover Camping reservation system was modified this year to create a booking window in which spots become available four months in advance.
That’s prompted the creation of Campnab, an online tool that allows a would-be camper to possibly snag a last minute cancellation, without needing to visit the government’s website over and over again.
“I kind of liken it to paying someone to wait in line to buy an iPhone for you,” said Eric Karjaluoto, creative director at design studio SmashLAB.
“You have a place that you want to go camping, you go to the website, pick what location you want to go to, specify the dates you want to travel, and how many nights you want to stay for. And from there you can set a scan for every 20 minutes, hour, or five minutes.”
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Karjaluoto said people who are booking four months in advance frequently cancel their trips. If a space opens up in the window you’ve set in the app, it sends a notification with a link to the government site allowing you to book it.
Karjaluoto said the tool is the brainchild of his business partner, also named Eric, who had originally written the code for his own use before realizing it could work for others too.
“He has a camper van and he was so irritated that if he didn’t plan four months in advance and get up early to book that spot he wasn’t going to get to go camping,” he said.
But if you’re a last minute camper hoping to beat the queue, it will cost you.
Campnab charges between $10 and $20 per search you program into it.