Top 10 RV Etiquette Tips
If you’re new to the RV lifestyle, the last thing you want to do is break one of those “but everyone knows them” unspoken campsite rules. So here are our top ten RV etiquette tips to make you the kind of RV-er that everyone wants to have around.
(We’ve got more in our At the Campsite: 4 Tips to be a Considerate Camper.)
- Practice at home, not in the campground. If this is your first foray to a campground with your rig, get some behind-the-wheel hours in at an empty parking lot before you head out. You don’t want to pull into a campground and realize that you’re not sure how to back up your rig, what your turning radius is or how much your rear overhang will swing out when you’re making a tight turn, says RV Etiquette Part One. You also don’t want the people around you worried that you might take out their RV because you don’t know what you’re doing. (RV Etiquette Part One has great advice on what to practice before you head out.)
- Adhere to site boundaries. There may not be fences or walls but each site space is for the use of the person who paid for it. While it may be faster to cut through your RV neighbor’s spot to get to the bathroom, it’s still bad manners. Either use the marked pathways or walk on the roadway, watching out for other RV-ers driving through.
- Be a clean camper. Pick up your trash, clean up after your pets, and leave the restroom facilities cleaner than before you used them. Also, adhere to any posted rules about smoking in communal areas. Some people may have health issues while others might prefer to not wear “tobacco cologne.” Even within your own site, be aware that smoke is no respecter of boundaries. Try to stay downwind of other campers.
- Don’t be a “stinky” camper. After you use a dump station to empty your tanks, spray it down, says KOA. This keeps it from being a smelly mess for the next camper. Traveling with a baby? Don’t toss “loaded” diapers right into the restroom waste basket. Place in a plastic bag and tie it shut,
- Know when you are supposed to arrive—and leave. You don’t want to wake up other campers by pulling in late at night, and you don’t want to overstay your time so the next camper is waiting for the space. And if you have a choice, don’t park “cheek by jowl” if there are other open spaces.
- Find out about restrictions on campfires before you light the logs. The campground may have rules based on the season or location or just for general safety. Always inquire before setting a fire. And if you’re cutting wood for the fire, use a handsaw, not a noisy chainsaw! (Family Handyman has a list of 10 things not to burn in your campfire.)
- Don’t be over-friendly. Yes, a big part of the RV lifestyle is turning strangers into friends. But not everyone wants to mix-and-mingle from dawn to dusk. Start with a simple wave and greeting and wait for a response. And if people are working on their rig, don’t interrupt. The distraction could be dangerous.
- Don’t be needy. RV-ers love to share their knowledge and expertise but don’t expect your camp neighbors to spend their time teaching you how to do RV tasks that you should have learned while at home. It’s okay to ask a question or two, but if you’re totally clueless, take some classes. Check out RV Education 101, RV Driving School, RV Basic Training and RV Tech Course.
- Play “follow the leader.” Pay attention to how other trailers are angled around their utility hookups and set yours the same way, recommends esurance. This makes efficient use of the available space. Make sure your trailer won’t block traffic when it’s unhooked, and chock your tires to keep your rig from moving.
- Follow good boondocking behavior. When boondocking, KOA recommends creating a buffer zone to keep noise from traveling to other campsites, and pick a spot that has been used before to reduce your impact on the natural environment. And of course, don’t leave trash behind and handle your private “business” properly: bury your waste and toilet paper 6 to 8 inches deep away from any water source.
Bonus Tip: Get a copy of the campground rules, either from the website or as soon as you arrive, and observe them, says Your RV Lifestyle. And whether you’re staying at a campground or boondocking, follow the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.