While there is no question that there are some clods in the world who don’t realize that their actions can impact others, I think overall most people are nice and don’t go out of their way to be obnoxious. Many times new RVers do things that irritates those around them only because they don’t understand the basic rules of campground etiquette. So here is a list of ten things that are guaranteed to tick off your neighbors so you know to avoid doing them.
Yappy dogs – I think I have heard more complaints, and done more complaining myself, about yappy dogs than everything else combined in our years on the road. There is nothing that will ruin your day more than being parked next to somebody who takes off and leaves their dog or dogs home alone, and the darned things bark from the moment they leave until they return. Well yes, there is one thing worse, that’s the fools who seem to be deaf because they sit right there while their dogs bark endlessly and don’t do anything to correct them.
Being a bad pet owner – Dogs belong on leashes in campgrounds, except where there are dog runs where they are allowed to run and play. Letting your pet run around off leash is inexcusable (and this applies to cats just as much as dogs). Just as bad are the pet owners who don’t pick up after their animals. Stick a doggie bag in your pocket every time you walk out the door with your animal. Every time!
Cutting through campsites – If you wanted to get someplace on the next street, would you walk through somebody’s yard uninvited to get there? Of course not! It’s the same way in campgrounds. When you walk through somebody’s site without their permission, you are trespassing in their space. Don’t do it, and don’t allow your kids to do it.
Smokey campfires – This seems to apply to weekend campers more than anybody else. I don’t think there’s a fulltimer anywhere who’s been on the road very long who hasn’t seen somebody sitting around a campfire in July or August when the temperature is well above 80°. It’s just part of the camping experience, and that’s great. But if you’re going to have a campfire, learn how to build one that does more than just smolder. I can’t tell you how many times we have had to close our windows on a pleasant summer evening because our eyes were burning from the smoke of the campfire next door. And keep in mind that some people have respiratory problems that can be greatly aggravated by smoky fires.
Smoking – Even worse than people with smoky campfires are those who sit outside their RV to smoke cigarettes or cigars, or whatever else they puff on. Again, we’ve had to close our door and windows to avoid breathing somebody’s secondhand smoke. On three occasions I have had people tell me that they smoke outside because they don’t want the inside of their RV to smell like cigarette smoke. Yeah, will neither do I! Go back inside, or at least go away from my window, when you light up.
Being a bad parent – In the last few years we have seen more and more fulltiming families who are homeschooling their children as they travel. What a wonderful experience for kids, and the majority of them have been well behaved and a pleasure to be around. But there are also those parents who send the kids out to play in the morning and let them run wild all day long, without supervision. That not only is irritating to their neighbors, it’s dangerous. They don’t know who is parked in the RV next to them, or behind them. It’s probably a nice retired couple enjoying their golden years exploring America. But what if it’s not? I’ve never been to an RV dealership or a campground yet that runs a background check on someone to make sure they’re not some kind of pervert before they take their money.
Driving too fast – Most campgrounds have a speed limit of 5 or 10 miles per hour, but there some people who always seem to think the rules don’t apply to them. They come zipping by in a big RV, or a truck pulling a trailer, and if a kid or dog were to stray into their path there is no way they could stop in time to avoid hitting them.
Ignoring quiet hours – This applies to both at night and in the morning. Most campgrounds have quiet hours that usually start somewhere around 10 or 11 PM and end at around 8 AM. That doesn’t mean you have to go inside and close the doors of your RV, it just means to be considerate and don’t make a lot of noise if you’re outside sitting around the campfire under the awning. And if you are inside, keep the TV volume down.
Arriving late at night – Hey, things happen. You might get caught in a traffic jam, or have a mechanical issue, or bad weather may slow you down. For whatever reason, you find yourself arriving at a campground late at night. You’re tired, you’re cranky, and you just want to get the day over with. That’s fine, and the best way to do that (and not annoy the neighbors) is to pull in, park, shut off your engine, hook up electric (and water if you need it), and go inside and wait until morning to hook up your sewer connection, put out your awning, lay out your patio mat, and all the rest.
If you’re going to go, go – If you have to leave early the next morning for some reason, do most of your preparations ahead of time. Disconnect your water and sewer hose the night before so that all you’ve got to do is unplug your electric cord and go. Trust me, if you’re outside slamming bay doors and making a lot of noise early in the morning while your neighbors are trying to sleep as you prepare to hit the road, nobody’s going to be sad to see you go. More than once we’ve been parked next to some fool who not only wakes us up slamming bay doors and making noise as he disconnects his campground utilities and hooks up his towed vehicle, but then they start their diesel engine and let it idle for 30 minutes while they go inside and have a cup of coffee or do whatever it is they do. The excuse I’ve heard is that you need to do that to let the diesel warm up before you pull out. That’s complete nonsense, and any diesel mechanic will tell you so.
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Thought For The Day – No matter how big a hammer you use, you can’t pound common sense into stupid people.