Writing an article about Motorhome Etiquette could not be more of a waste of time, as I know acutely that the very people who should read it, won’t bother, no rules apply to them. But here goes. I’ll mention just a few items that always seem to make for the strongest reactions in forum discussions, I’m sure in the comments and discussion thread people will add others.
MOTORHOME WAVE ETIQUETTE
Your first introduction to a bit of motorhome etiquette will be when driving your new van home. This is the Motorhome Wave, you’ll get your first wave and think, do we know them? It won’t take long for you to notice that other motorhomes acknowledge you on the road with a wave.
The waves come in all shapes and sizes, they might come from the driver, the front seat passenger, or even from kids in the side windows. They can be big two handed epileptic waves, a salute, a royal wave or just a nonchalant lift of a finger from the steering wheel.
When there were far fewer motorhomes on the road, everyone waved. Now, as it seems there are motorhomes everywhere, there are quite a few owners who don’t. They claim there are so many van these days that if they waved at all of them, their hands would be more off than on the wheel.
Waving is not obligatory, you don’t have to wave, if you find it all a bit much, a bit silly or boring, then don’t do it. When I say don’t do it, I mean don’t initiate it. Because if someone waves at you; not returning a wave is rude and bad form.
If you are keen and new, and your cheery wave is ignored, just be grateful you are travelling in the opposite direction and are unlikely to meet up with the miserable git who just ignored you. It’s a shame, there are plenty of these misery’s in motorhomes, you’ll meet them. Thankfully, they are completley outnumbered by happy, smiling people, quick to return a wave and a cheery nod.
Some people are extremely territorial in protecting that bit of space they just rented for the night. So never cut across the corner of their pitch on your way to the loo. Practice good motorhome ettiquette and Respect others pitches. stay on public paths and don’t risk your life by taking shortcuts.
I should say right away, if you love the peace and quiet all of the time, then stay away from campsites and rally fields; or invest in some noise cancelling earphones, because mostly, these places are noisy. Yes, there are some exceptions, and you should expect quieter times in the evening. But family fun often equals noise of some kind. Just don’t be surprised if a busy site is not as peaceful as you’d like.
All campsites will have noise curfews, and even though you are on holiday, they still apply to you. On a campsite, four people just chatting and laughing under an awning at night can sound like a party to someone trying to sleep.
Take your ‘party’ inside your van and keep the noise inside and down. If you are noisy, then neighbours will complain to the site staff and chances are you’ll be asked to leave. I once witnessed a noisy family being escorted off site by wardens, while receiving a slow hand clap from a dozen of their neighbours!
It’s not just late light noise that can be a pain. If you are going to be leaving very early, pack up your kit the night before. And don’t be the jerk who booms a GOOD MORNING to people at 6:30am Just because you are up! If you are sat outside your van and someone walks by, mime your good mornings, or just raise a hand.
KIDS NOISE ON CAMPSITES
Kids play together noisily, if you are on a site that allows kids then you should accept this. Expect them to be on the roads on bikes and to ignore pitch boundaries. They are kids; they are having fun. Don’t begrudge them that! BUT that said..
Motorhome Etiquette and KIDS BEHAVIOUR
If you have kids, encourage them to play, but in the play area. Impress upon your kids when moving to and from the play area to be mindful of others, don’t let them play with bats or balls around others vans.
If you have spent any time on a campsite, you’ll be acutely aware that many people who arrive on a site should not have a driving licence. Watch them pitch up and be amazed! It can be dangerous for your kids to be anywhere near them when they are manoeuvring into or out of position.
Confine your kids play to the play area, if there is no play area then sadly you’ll have to confine them to your pitch and get them off site to a safer area. On some sites kids like to use the toilet block as play headquarters. Don’t let yours do this.
It’s good Motorhome Etiquette to pitch so the live side of your van, (the side with the habitation door) opens onto the dead side of your neighbour. On some sites, especially in the UK where we have lots of both UK and European vans (doors on different sides) you’ll sometimes find this is impossible; whatever way you pitch, your habitation door will open toward another. Don’t worry about this. This set up often encourages conversation, and can lead to lifelong friendships!
You should place your dead side to one edge of your pitch giving you plenty of room for tables chairs and awnings. Some sites insist you park next to posts, do this. These posts will often be in the best position to make the most of your pitch, but don’t worry too much about it if you park up a little away from them, you can always move the post!
DON’T KILL THE GRASS
Always ask about groundsheets, most site-owners hate them as they kill the grass. If you must, Invest in breathable groundsheet that won’t kill the grass, or better still, just enjoy the grass under your feet, it’s better than any sheet, and remember, you are supposed to be camping!
If you are on a site that accepts dogs, then expect to hear one bark now and again. Dogs can get excited about a number of things and it’s how they express themselves.
If you have a dog that is especially territorial and barks whenever someone passes your pitch, then explain this to the wardens before your arrival, they will probably have a pitch where your dog will see fewer people or other dogs, so be less likely to bark.
If someone gets annoyed by a single bark, they probably get upset when birds sing, you can ignore them, they’ll likely be one of life’s permanently annoyed.
However, no one, not even dog lovers, enjoy incessant barking, if you own a nutter of a pooch that barks constantly, then expect to get moaned at or have the wardens visit after complaints. On a campsite where people are living close to one another; constant barking is unsociable and inflicting this behaviour on others is not acceptable and very poor Motorhome Etiquette.
Never exercise your dog anywhere where others might pitch. It is never acceptable to let your dog shit on your pitch. You might be diligent at picking up, but how much can you pick up with a poo bag when it’s on grass or gravel, you will always leave a residue behind for others to find. I often see people wandering around empty pitches with their dog! Don’t do it, go to the dedicated dog exercise area or get the dog off site.