Eric wrote:Technically, that means if there's an open area you like, you should be able to set up there. In reality, and using Playa Etiquette, that means if there's an open area you're interested in you can ask at the camps in the area to see if it's taken, then use it if it's not. Early in the week, a camp may still be missing core components due to problems (truck breakdowns, people breakdowns, miscommunication...) and have space set aside for those things. Usually it's pretty obvious.
Agreed, although if you find a good spot within what looks like theme camp area, just ask them if is free and could you be a good neighbor (non-smokers, non-generator people already have a leg up). The response will be all you need. I've had huge spaced virtually empty by Monday theme camps swear they needed all the space, and refused quite hastily, and with attitude, and then by Thursday, their space was still empty. Some first year theme camps think their space needs to be larger then what they really need,,,sometimes structures they plan do not get assembled (just look around late in the week and see how many struts of domes are still sitting where they were unpacked from the trucks LOL) and sometimes they think people will show up that never do. (sounds impossible, but it happens)
On the other hand, as Eric said, many camps use every inch of their space, which on Monday can look spacious.
One system that can work for finding a great place is to park your vehicle in a space you've already talked to the neighbors about. String out your area as conservatively as possible so others get the idea of your needs. The best place to find a clear empty space would be "further out." As you drive down any street (perhaps avoid the major streets like 6:00, 4:30,,,those with plazas) heading toward the man, you can see when housing space gets precious. Park your vehicle, get on the bikes and go hunting for a better space. It could take a long time, but as backup, you'll have a space already. Chances are, in the time you are looking for a new space, where you parked will now be a full area. (With this method, be sure to park your vehicle so you can move it. Next to a road is good. Otherwise, when you come back from your seeking a new spot, your vehicle may not be able to move for the week.)
Most important is to feel good about your neighbors, no matter where. They should welcome you and not be ambivalent.
Best of all, don't worry.
Some of my best memories of where I camped and who my neighbors were had to do with randomness and late arrival, and not as part of a theme camp with an assigned space and assigned people.