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2017 Eclipse Price Gouging

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#1 jpo

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 10:10 PM

I've seen a couple of references to price gouging for lodging and wonder what others have experienced to date.  Also, what about food and gas?  Restaurants for sure, but will grocery stores be low on items and/or price gouge?  I would think small towns may be more prone to it, but certainly not have a corner on the practice.  Any thoughts or ideas of how to best handle the matter which will likely be encountered somewhere along the way?


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#2 mogur

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 10:21 PM

Places with a huge turnout may experience some of this, but most smaller places along the way shouldn't be too bad.


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#3 bobcat83

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 11:19 PM

My plan is to keep my gas tank topped off so I'm not stuck having to buy gas along the center line.  Campsite near the center line is already reserved, confirmed and paid for with a group of us in a National Forest, on a lakeshore with open views so if it's clear, no need to move on eclipse day.  Groceries will be mostly bought in advance - all I will need is drinking water.  This keeps me dependent only on my car, rather than on buying food at restaurants etc.  The only part that is not completely set is the 2-3 day side trip on the way out from MN to Oregon, and I'm thinking of going north through Jasper and Banff so the eclipse traffic should be diluted by general summer tourism and gas will be at Canadian prices anyway.



#4 chrysalis

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 05:51 AM

Tentative: fly to OR, stay at a friend's house inside the eclipse path (ca. 38 secs); drive that morning to Madras or Mitchell.


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#5 Messierthanwhat

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 08:39 AM

I will attest that people doing business in the path of totality know the dates, and have been pricing according to demand. I did some searching on Kayak about ten days ago, and discovered that the advance-planning types were way out in front. Since I live in the west, I was searching for lodging mostly in Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming. Looking at Bend, OR, for example, I found that  dates around the eclipse was already mare than 95% booked, and available rooms at a Rodeway Inn were about $1500 per night. That was after discovering that the Astro League had beaten me to Casper, WY, for their annual convention. Not one place can be had within the week of August 21.

I started looking at the state parks, and found that most spaces that could be reserved in most parks within the path of totality are booked already. There are still first-come-first served spaces in about a third of the state parks in those three states, but I'm betting those will require getting there far in advance. No price-gouging at the parks, perhaps, but foresight is very much required. I did find that Wyoming has eclipse packages available at some state campgrounds, requiring a minimum 4-night reservation, IIRC.

The eclipse will be starting in the west, of course, around 10-something. So, it will be possible to get up and drive to good vantage points from somewhere 100 or more miles from the totality path. With that option in mind, I found that lodging was still available at somewhat more reasonable prices in places like Roseburg and Medford, OR. But going pretty fast.

As it progresses eastward, the eclipse does go over or near some major cities, such as Kansas City, St. Louis and Nashville. I assume it might be easier to find lodging in those areas, but it's probably time to get on the stick.

The state park websites in the western part of the path all had prominent mention of the eclipse. One bright spot they mention as a tip is that most Forest Service (National Forest) campgrounds can only be reserved six months in advance. The post above from bobcat83 seems to suggest at least one allowing earlier bookings, so perhaps the USFS decided to open the reservations early. But, if those tips are correct, it's not too late to research those sites and get on the web in February. From what I found out, however, it would not be surprising if their reservation site gets swamped past capacity somewhere around the second week of February.

 

If push comes to shove, I have family spread pretty thick across Oregon and a mother-in-law already insisting that we visit her in Nashville. For those similarly situated, this might be good year to include some eclipse notes in the Christmas cards. :)



#6 opticsguy

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 10:49 AM

Have already seen severe price gouging in my brief look in the Oregon/Madras Area.  My original thoughts about 2 years ago was to head out to Madras and picked a few places outside of town, figuring I would be alone or with a few Friends. My impression now is Madras is a very hot place for eclipse chasers and I suspect there will be quite the traffic jam. Oregon Solar fest has tickets for dry camping in parking lots for $30 to $300 per night.   I now plan not to be there or close by at all!



#7 payner

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 12:17 PM

The several Kentucky state parks in the area were booked back in early August, as soon as they started accepting reservation for the time around the eclipse. And that is everything, campgrounds, cottages and lodge rooms. I was fortunate to find a regular rate at a Country Inn & Suites in Paducah.

Hope you can find something accommodating at this late date.

 

Randy



#8 Francopoli

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 03:13 PM

Western Kentucky still has places that are not raising prices.  May have to call around, but they exist.



#9 Stacyjo1962

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 03:29 PM

Will most likely car camp, drive up to Oregon a couple days before, stay somewhere way off the path, get up very early eclipse day and drive to center line area.    The woman I work for wants to take her grandson and a friend, and my attempts at getting her to put it on her calendar are gone for naught - it will be a last minute thing with her.  So I'm making plans to really rough it...to see a second total solar eclipse!



#10 sickfish

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 03:38 PM

I will watch from my location.

To much money and time to spend on something that can be ruined by clouds or rain.

 

I don't know will have to see how the weeks weather pans out.

Can make it down to the total eclipse line in around 15  hours i guess



#11 mogur

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 03:42 PM

The several Kentucky state parks in the area were booked back in early August, as soon as they started accepting reservation for the time around the eclipse. And that is everything, campgrounds, cottages and lodge rooms. I was fortunate to find a regular rate at a Country Inn & Suites in Paducah.

Hope you can find something accommodating at this late date.

 

Randy

??? Kentucky Dam Village State Park (where I'm booked) is still over half empty during the event. It's right under totality!



#12 GJJim

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 03:50 PM

Last year we made reservations at a lodge in eastern Idaho (directly on the path) and they had already doubled their normal room rates for the days on either side of the eclipse date. People nowadays are willing to spend $175 for a "vintage" mixed drink, so who knows what aging boomers will bid for a next to the last chance to see a total eclipse.  :grin:



#13 Messierthanwhat

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 04:12 PM

 

The several Kentucky state parks in the area were booked back in early August, as soon as they started accepting reservation for the time around the eclipse. And that is everything, campgrounds, cottages and lodge rooms. I was fortunate to find a regular rate at a Country Inn & Suites in Paducah.

Hope you can find something accommodating at this late date.

 

Randy

??? Kentucky Dam Village State Park (where I'm booked) is still over half empty during the event. It's right under totality!

 

Not just totality, but pretty near the maximum duration totality. And that actually looks like a nice place to spend time even without regard to the eclipse. The number of available sites still showing on their website seems amazing.



#14 payner

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 06:49 PM

 

The several Kentucky state parks in the area were booked back in early August, as soon as they started accepting reservation for the time around the eclipse. And that is everything, campgrounds, cottages and lodge rooms. I was fortunate to find a regular rate at a Country Inn & Suites in Paducah.

Hope you can find something accommodating at this late date.

 

Randy

??? Kentucky Dam Village State Park (where I'm booked) is still over half empty during the event. It's right under totality!

 

Well, I just tried. It requires a minimum multi-night stay. Put in 8/19, 20, 21 and it came back minimum stay required and would not let me book. If I count correctly that is three nights. I don't want to stay a week. Good for you, thanks for the shout.

 

Randy



#15 audioaficionado

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 07:30 PM

I expect any paved roads near the centerline in Oregon to be packed with parked vehicles. West of the Cascades can have overcast skies in the mornings even during the hottest days of summer. No way I'd spend $$$$ for a regional event. It's a 4 hr drive for me. I hope to be at OSP and maybe drive to the centerline if it's not too crazy on the roads.

#16 telescopeguy238

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 09:06 PM

I live near Chicago and will be traveling to just south of St Louis. Booked a motel room several months ago at a very reasonable rate. Will stay a few extra days visiting some sites and resturants that I visited when ny son was in school at SLU. Fun times! My first total solar eclipse.



#17 mogur

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 10:54 PM

 

 

The several Kentucky state parks in the area were booked back in early August, as soon as they started accepting reservation for the time around the eclipse. And that is everything, campgrounds, cottages and lodge rooms. I was fortunate to find a regular rate at a Country Inn & Suites in Paducah.

Hope you can find something accommodating at this late date.

 

Randy

??? Kentucky Dam Village State Park (where I'm booked) is still over half empty during the event. It's right under totality!

 

Well, I just tried. It requires a minimum multi-night stay. Put in 8/19, 20, 21 and it came back minimum stay required and would not let me book. If I count correctly that is three nights. I don't want to stay a week. Good for you, thanks for the shout.

 

Randy

 

That's odd because those are the exact dates I have reserved. I did book in August though since they allow one year in advance. Usually just a two night stay is required to make a reservation. Did you go through ReserveAmerica? You could try calling the campground direct. That's what I had to do.



#18 edwincjones

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 07:44 AM

this makes it hard for last minute changes due to weather

my plan to to pick a location and stay/gamble on clear sky

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 12 December 2016 - 07:45 AM.


#19 Knasal

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 08:15 AM

Another option to hotel rooms is Air BnB, a service that allows you to rent out people's homes or finished rooms (like a BnB).

 

I've found that most owners (those renting out their property) don't know about the eclipse, and there's very little price gouging because of it. 

 

Kevin


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#20 edwincjones

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 09:44 AM

Another option to hotel rooms is Air BnB, a service that allows you to rent out people's homes or finished rooms (like a BnB).

 

I've found that most owners (those renting out their property) don't know about the eclipse, and there's very little price gouging because of it. 

 

Kevin

?  hard to believe ?

they will figure it out by August

 

edj



#21 bunyon

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 10:16 AM

I tried airbnb in the caspar area and they most definitely know about it.  I found a farmhouse that could host 8.  Asking price was $8K per night with a five night minimum.  In July there were only three houses still available.

 

I'm not sure this fits gouging though.  My sense is that price gouging is raising prices for a product someone must, and usually would, have.  Gasoline after a hurricane, say.

 

In this case, they have a product that you don't actually NEED but want.  The market has a much higher demand than usual and, so, the price goes up.  If it goes up too much, it doesn't sell/rent and the price comes back down. 


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#22 Phillip Creed

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 02:25 PM

I secured four reservations, three with 24-hr cancellation policies, either just inside or beyond the northern umbral limit.  I did this for two reasons--(1) I'm coming from Ohio (northern approach to the umbra), and (2) it made zero sense to pay outrageous prices for what's essentially the same drive.  Do I drive 500 miles to position myself on the centerline and make a mortgage payment EVERY NIGHT for at least three nights in a row, or drive 470 miles on Sunday night , spend $80-$100, then make the last 30-50 miles on E-Day?  Even if I have to eat ALL of my reservations for Sunday night, I'll STILL pay less than what the typical hotel in Wyoming is charging per night.

 

Not only am I not staying in any of these price-gouging towns, I'd recommend avoiding them altogether out of principle.  I understand the higher demand and all, but there's a point where it's simply unconscionable.  Yes, their location is in high demand.  You know what's also in high demand?  The chance to view the safely view a total solar eclipse through a telescope.  I don't charge any "special event" premiums (I've never charged anyone a cent to look through my scopes, for that matter), so nor will I pay a premium to position myself to set up my equipment.

 

Besides, if they'll charge you an arm and a leg for lodging, I can't imagine they won't double or triple gas prices if eclipse viewers feel compelled by weather to make a break for it.  And if you don't want the reputation as a price-gouging town, the process is simple.

 

Don't price gouge.

 

Clear Skies,

Phil


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#23 Jwemes

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 05:39 PM

Once the electronic media (particularly television) begin to hype the eclipse, any lodgings, in any city or town within the path of totality will be overwhelmed with reservation requests.  The closer to the date of the eclipse, the wilder the frenzy.  If at all possible, do what you can to make yourself self-sufficient for the three days surrounding the eclipse.  If there's any way that you can do so, avoid lodgings or camping sites within the path of totality, make sure that you have a full tank of fuel in your vehicle, and food for at least 24 hours, and do these things on Sunday before the eclipse.

 

Those who are considering viewing the eclipse within Oregon, Idaho or Wyoming,  Google Earth is your friend!  Unless you want to share the experience with untold millions,  look for potential observing sites away from any highway, town, city, park, or monument.  Search out the most remote locations you can drive to, and make a list of those alternative sites in case you get clouded out at your favorite site.  On the morning of the eclipse, if you are going to travel to your site, DO IT EARLY!  Viewing the eclipse from the side of an Interstate Highway or State Highway will put you in harms' way.  Even with the hype,  there will be many drivers using the roads without any concern for the eclipse.  One more thing...order your eclipse glasses or solar filters NOW!   For the month preceding the 2013 annular eclipse, not even raw filter material was available.

 

Clear, Dark, and Steady

 John W  (Wickenburg, AZ)



#24 Knasal

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 06:05 PM

I tried airbnb in the caspar area and they most definitely know about it.  I found a farmhouse that could host 8.  Asking price was $8K per night with a five night minimum.  In July there were only three houses still available. 

Sure, in Casper WY with the Astronomical League holding ALCON 2017 there right before the eclipse and the advance warning to everyone via media, local chamber of commerce and social network channels that this is going to be an "eclipse hotbed" for us amateur astronomers, you bet Air BnB people are going to hear about this and potentially raise prices! Same is true for most major cities along the path of totality, I imagine (think what Air BnB renters are charging in that town in Illinois touted as "eclipse capital, USA"!!). Air BnB would be no different in these circumstances than any major hotel chain aware of the event.

 

I guess I was trying to say that there are rural places (like where I'm going in Missouri) where Air BnB renters have no idea what's transpiring and rent is the same rate that has been consistently advertised ... Availability is disappearing but there are still deals.

 

Best of luck for anyone trying to book a place - my personal experience in this situation was that Air BnB was a real bargain, especially off the beaten path.

 

Kevin



#25 payner

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 06:36 PM

 

 

 

The several Kentucky state parks in the area were booked back in early August, as soon as they started accepting reservation for the time around the eclipse. And that is everything, campgrounds, cottages and lodge rooms. I was fortunate to find a regular rate at a Country Inn & Suites in Paducah.

Hope you can find something accommodating at this late date.

 

Randy

??? Kentucky Dam Village State Park (where I'm booked) is still over half empty during the event. It's right under totality!

 

Well, I just tried. It requires a minimum multi-night stay. Put in 8/19, 20, 21 and it came back minimum stay required and would not let me book. If I count correctly that is three nights. I don't want to stay a week. Good for you, thanks for the shout.

 

Randy

 

That's odd because those are the exact dates I have reserved. I did book in August though since they allow one year in advance. Usually just a two night stay is required to make a reservation. Did you go through ReserveAmerica? You could try calling the campground direct. That's what I had to do.

 

No, I tried booking online at the parks website. I was trying to get a lodge room. I'm happy with my room in Paducah; close to the umbra with a short drive.

 

Thanks,

Randy




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