Alberta - Be Nice to your Neighbor
Be Nice to your Neighbor
Apr 28, 2016
Knowing the basics about RV etiquette, those unwritten and unspoken, but very real social rules of experienced campers can make your trip a lot of fun, or very stressful.
Ignore these common rules at your own risk. Those who do risk rude looks at the least, and loud confrontations with angry neighbors at worst. Many campgrounds will ask you to leave and will not refund your camping fees (even if you have paid for a week or a month) if you violate their written rules, or some of the unwritten ones!
Use common sense and common courtesy. Put yourself in your neighbor's shoes and try to be friendly when resolving disputes. Ask permission or give notice when doing anything that might encroach on your neighbor's space - such as washing your RV (if allowed - many campgrounds don't permit it), emptying an ice chest in which water might drain across another's site, moving a fire pit or picnic tables in such a way as to impinge upon your neighbor's privacy.

Never, never, ever walk through an occupied site that is not yours or a friend who has invited you. Even if you have to detour around five other sites or RV's or walk an extra hundred yards to get to the bathroom, the camp store, pool, river, whatever - never take a short-cut through another camper's site. This is probably the most widespread and accepted rule of RVing worldwide. Be doubly sure you stress this to your kids. This means no bike riding, no walking, and not even any playing on the very edges of someone else's site. Privacy in modern day campgrounds is difficult at best in some cases, so the unspoken, but much noticed rule applies: Know the boundaries of your site and others and respect them.

Even though you're outdoors, use your indoor voice. Voices travel and it's no fun sitting outside trying to enjoy the peace and quiet while trying to ignore the loud conversations of your neighbors. Keep your voices low. If you must argue, take it inside. If you are traveling with children, instruct them to keep their noise down - and preferably on the campground playground or pool.

No generators after 8 p.m. Campgrounds vary, but most have a "No generators after 8 p.m." rule. Some may allow you to run it later, but check first. When you check into a campground ask for a list of campground rules. Most owners will hand you a list along with your parking tag and other information. All the rules you need about that campground are there. Read them and share them with your family.

Pick up after your pets. No one likes to step in dog waste - and with many campers wearing flip-flops, or children running bare-footed, the possibility is even greater that someone will. Pick up after your pet immediately and dispose of the waste properly. For some that means flushing it down their RV toilet or into the septic (minus any plastic bags of course!!) as they would human waste. Others place the baggie into the camp dumpster. Ask your campground host where they prefer it be disposed of. Barking dogs are also an issue. If your dog barks, put him/her inside the RV. Never leave a dog outside the RV unattended. Many campgrounds will ask you to leave and not refund your fees if you fail to take care of a barking or howling dog.

No loud music. If you like to listen to the radio or your own music, keep levels down, check to make sure you aren't annoying your neighbors and turn it off as noted by campground noise rules. Use earplugs when possible.

Outdoor lights are popular with many RVers, but the unwritten rule is, don't leave them on all night. If you plan to return late to your RV, take a flashlight with you to help you navigate the entrance to your rig, or have an "off and on" switch you can easily reach when you exit your car. Part of the best part of camping for many is the darkness and solitude. Having bright lights and lanterns burning all night makes it hard for many campers to sleep.

Follow the parking arrangements. Many campgrounds have sites placed very close to each other. By parking at a 20-degree angle most RVs have enough room to open their awnings and have a bit of space between them and their neighbor. Some sites have parking pads placed so this obvious. Others don't. Pay attention to the way other campers have set up their rigs and follow suit. If in doubt, ask the campground office. Make sure that your awnings; gear, cars, bikes and tables are on your site, not encroaching on another.

Satellite dishes. If you travel with a portable satellite dish rather than one mounted on your rig, you may find you need to put it on your neighbor's site to get reception. Or, your neighbor may ask to put his dish on your site. Be friendly and work out where the best place should be. You may be the one needing extra room sometime. If you absolutely don't want someone else's stuff on your site, say no in a polite way and suggest they move to a different site. Be prepared to do the same if you are told "no." It's not personal. It's just good boundaries.

If you're using the camp showers, make sure you get all your soap and shampoo, towels and bathing suits out of the shower when you leave. It's not your home bathroom and others will be using it after you. Don't track mud into the shower or changing area. Wash off mud and muddy feet or shoes outside, or take flip-flops you can wear inside the shower house and put your muddy shoes in a garbage bag.

When dumping your grey and black water tanks, clean the pad and area after you finish. No one wants to walk through your tank spills. Hoses are provided at most dump stations for this purpose.

Late arrivals. If you RV or camp a lot at some time you will find yourself arriving late, usually after everyone else has turned in for the night. The best solution is to pull in, do the minimum you need to do to level your rig and hook up and then tend to the rest in the morning. If you ever hear one shouting match or a couple yelling about parking, with the accompanying door slamming, arguments and conversations about how and where to park the rig, you'll appreciate the need for quiet when setting up after hours.
Don't be a pig. Keep your trash in the proper receptacles or bagged so it doesn't blow around. Keep your site neat and tidy. This isn't usually a problem until people are parked for a month at a time and items begin to accumulate outside because there's no room inside. Keeping your gear corralled not only keeps it easier to find, it's less likely to walk off by itself, or with the help of nocturnal animals or visitors.

Don't burn your trash. It is not only a health hazard it smells. Before starting any fire, even for cooking, make sure that there are no fire restrictions and that it is okay to have an open fire.

Dim your lights when driving around the campground at night, and turn them off as soon as you arrive and no longer need them.

RV'ers will often stake out their site with a folding chair, table or other camp item. Some will place a rope across the entrance or use some other indicator to let others know the site has been taken or claimed, even if there is no tent, trailer or vehicle there at the moment. Often campers will walk the site, or drive by, pick it out and leave an item there while they register. Respect their stake out and find another site.
Written by: Steve
Photos courtesy of
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