If you’re new to RVing, you may be unsure of what to expect when you stay at a campground. We’ve put together three campground tips to help you get ready to be part of the camping community!
Tip 1 — Make a campground setup checklist.
Until your campground setup routine becomes second nature, it’s good to have a checklist to review so you don’t miss any important steps. Changin’ Gears has a downloadable RV Arrival & Setup Checklist: Trailers list for towable recreational vehicles such as fifth wheels and travel trailers.
ReserveAmerica and RVShare suggest the following tasks:
- When you reach your spot, check it for low-hanging branches or obstacles on the ground before pulling in. (Note: make sure that your emergency exit window isn’t blocked on the outside.)
- Find the hook-ups and pull your RV as close to them as practical, then connect to the electrical, water and sewage. (Tip from RVShare: Test the voltage of the electricity with a voltmeter before hooking up your rig.)
- If needed, level your rig with blocks or stabilizing jacks, then chock the wheels.
- Finally, set up your campsite and relax!
- Once you’re done, wait until your neighbors have finished their set-up before saying hello, cautions AboutRVing. Interrupting them can break their concentration and lead to incomplete tow hookups.
Tip 2 — Be considerate of your neighbors.
Even if you plan your journey down to the minute, events can happen that will delay your arrival until nightfall. If that happens and you pull in after the designated arrival time, just do those tasks that are absolutely essential, says DoItYourselfRV, so you don’t disturb those parked next to you. The same applies if you are departing in the wee hours of the morning. Pack up as much as possible the night before so you can pull out without awakening those who are still enjoying some shut-eye.
Along those same lines, don’t be one of those campers who are still in your space long after the established check-out time or show up before your scheduled arrival time, says Heartland RVs. The arrival/departure times are set to allow time for the site to be cleaned and checked before the next RV-er pulls into it.
While you’re there, be mindful of your noise and lights—both of which can disturb other people. And while there’s nothing wrong with being friendly, don’t be one of those pushy people. Not all RV-ers feel like talking first thing in the morning or late at night. Wave or say hi, then take your cue from their response. (If you’re Mr. or Ms. Gregarious, RV rallies or gatherings are tailor-made for you.)
Tip 3 — Know campground rules about pets.
Dogs, in particular, can be an issue at some campgrounds, so it’s worth it to call ahead and verify the policies even if the campground’s website says they are allowed. Ask about size or breed restrictions, or if you are limited to a specific number of pets. If dogs are welcome, you’ll want to know if there is a dog park nearby where you can take your pet to burn off some steam after being confined on the trip.
Needless to say, never let your pet run loose at the campground or, for that matter, take it even on a leash onto someone else’s campsite unless invited. Some people are allergic while others may just not like dogs. Always clean up your pet’s poop and dispose of it in a designated area. (Not sure where? Ask before tossing that bag into a nearby trashcan.)
And, if you’ll be gone during the day, take your pet with you. Don’t leave in it your RV. The dog may bark incessantly, disturbing your neighbors, or, even worse, the a/c or heat may go out, leaving your pet to either freeze in the cold or die of heatstroke. (We’ve got more advice in this post, Camping with Fluffy and Fido.)
For more advice, check out these posts on our blog:
- Top 10 RV Etiquette Tips
- At the Campsite: 4 Tips to be a Considerate Camper
- How to be a Green Camper
- Taking Your “Green” Goals on the Road