Universally, RVers are known for their friendliness. For some unknown reason, RVers will simply gather naturally and the conversation starts. Some joke that since you spend so much time in a confined space with your spouse, you can’t wait to get out and talk to someone/anyone else! Regardless, RVers are a friendly bunch. You will see, time and again, a $500,000 motorhome pull into a campsite next to a $25,000 travel trailer and even before hooking up, the conversation has started.
Rules of RV Etiquette
Because of the very nature of RVers—almost always traveling and therefore, almost always in new and different places—they are constantly faced with dealing with strangers. This is very different from living in one location (house, apartment, etc.) for several years where you learn about the habits of your neighbors. In an RV park/campground, you literally could have new neighbors every day and this would be considered common.
There are some “rules” of etiquette that are unique to RVing and staying or living in campgrounds. Here are a few common ones…
- When in a campground, don’t walk through campsites. You are welcome to come on site to knock on our door. Think about the last neighborhood you lived in, strangers did not normally just walk through your property right up close to your house. The campsite is essentially “my property” since I’m renting it for the night. Granted, it’s not as big as a house lot but neither is our RV.
- If my door shades are closed, please don’t knock unless it is an emergency or we have invited you over. This applies 24/7. I may want to sleep in. I really don’t care if you do or not.
- You can hear outside sounds from inside virtually all RVs. I know you paid a lot for that big TV in your front storage compartment so you can sit in your lawn chair and watch it. But don’t assume we want to hear it if you are in the next site. Do assume we CAN hear it. I can close my shades to block the view but not the sound.
Remember, that TV/DVD/whatever player in your storage compartment is usually right outside my living and dining room. The perfect solution is for you to get a set of headphones and wear them. Then, you can have the sound turned up as high as you want and you won’t bother us at all.
- Don’t assume everyone likes your little pet. The classic “yappie” dog with the high-pitched bark, barking at every noise, bird, leaf, squirrel, and shadow is a real annoyance. I realize you are not bothered, but it is an annoyance for lots of people living in this smaller confined area called a campground.
- Don’t assume everyone likes your big pet. I really don’t care when you say, “He’s just a big baby and won’t hurt anyone.” It’s a big dog with big teeth and totally foreign to me.
- Don’t ever bring your pet into our coach unless we discussed it first. This applies whether you are carrying your pet or it is walking.
- If you are a smoker, do not smoke in our RV. Even if you ask permission, we will say no. Don’t take it personally, we say no to everyone who asks.
- If you are a smoker, please do not smoke near our RV. If we have our windows open and our ceiling fans on, we will suck the secondhand smoke into our coach. That’s not something we want to have happen. Go away if you want to smoke.
- If you are a smoker and are in the lot next to us. We will just close our windows and deal with it.
- We would appreciate it if you would not idle your RV (diesel pusher or tow vehicle) for very long when you prepare to pull out of the campground before the crack of dawn! From a mechanical standpoint, a diesel engine on normal idle will not heat up the engine—it’s designed not to do this. So, when you start the engine, it’s ready to drive as soon as you hear the air pressure pop off (about 90 seconds). Then, just go.
- If you see something wrong with my RV or utility connections, please tell me. I will fix it if possible.
- If we are going to sit outside, bring your chairs.
- If we invite you over to visit/happy hour/snacks/dinner/whatever, we will tell you what we have to offer you to drink. If you want anything else, bring it with you. It’s perfectly okay to do this and you will not embarrass us at all. We live in this RV and have a relatively small, fixed amount of space. We cannot store various drinks and snacks to meet everyone’s taste. Yes, we had room to do this in our house but not in the RV.
Oh yes, we will bring any special drinks to your place, too. We certainly don’t expect you to have everything for everyone with you in your RV.
- Other than the chairs and grill sitting out, don’t store stuff outside by sticking it under your RV. It looks trashy. I see it from our RV. You cannot see it from inside your RV.
- The same advice applies to those hanging “things” (kites, birds, balloons, wind chimes, etc.) that you hang from your RV mirrors or awning outside. The wind will blow and these items will rapidly twirl or float in the breeze often flashing colors or making noise. For the most part, you can’t see these from inside your RV. I don’t want to see them from ours. Think about this, it would almost make more sense for you to hang those outside “goodies” from our RV and that way, you could see them from yours!
- If you are invited inside our RV and see shoes sitting near the door, we would prefer you take yours off, too. If you are an RVer, you are likely used to doing this in your RV. If you are not an RVer, we will make a comment that it’s certainly okay to leave your shoes on. We are sincere when we say that so just leave them on.
- Don’t knock and ask to see inside. This is our home. If we want you to see it, first, we must be comfortable enough that we will ask you in. If we do invite you in, you will likely get the tour.
- Do not to talk with someone while they are hooking up towed vehicles. Some incomplete tow hookups are a result of being interrupted by someone or something during the hookup procedure. For example, the person in the next campsite says “goodbye,” you look up to acknowledge the comment, and forget to attach something. It happens.
Harsh and Mean and Cold
What? You think these “rules” seem pretty harsh or cold-hearted? Do you assume we are not nice people? …grinchs? …mean and nasty?
Well, we aren’t.
We live in our RV. We have a relatively small, fixed amount of space. We cannot store every type of drink and snack to meet everyone’s taste. Even if we decided to rush out and purchase “special” goodies just for your consumption, the leftovers may even cause us a storage problem.
So, space is tight. Extra room is tight. It just makes sense for you to bring those things that are unique to you. And by the way, if you have brought things with you to the potluck, etc., please be prepared to take any leftover drinks and food back with you, too.
By staying much of our time in RV parks and campgrounds, we know that our space is small. Therefore, all of our actions and behavior must be a bit different to accommodate the physical limitations of the space. We need your help to do that.