Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Camper Courtesy – What’s it all about?

Camping is a great way to make new friends!  Whether you camp in a cabin, tent, or RV there are is no better way to get your family outside and enjoying quality time together in the great outdoors!  No doubt about it, campers all look forward to being outside and going hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and more!  But, we also need to know how to do it in a way that doesn’t offend or intrude on our camping neighbors experience as well!     

Problems arise between campers when someone invades, interrupts, or disrespects the other camper’s space.  Below, we’ve created a list of items that are just good courtesy to your camping neighbors.  If you practice these rules, you’ll be a good camping neighbor!  And hopefully, your neighbors will practice them too.   

Quiet Hours:  Most campgrounds have posted quiet hours.  Respect those, and you and your neighbor and the campground owner or manager will get along fine.  People with very young children, appreciate that their children aren’t awakened by the campers next door.  The same is true of older campers, who may go to bed earlier.  Making excessive noise should be avoided at all times, not just during quiet hours.  No one wants to listen to parents screaming at their children, domestic disputes, or loud music blasting at any hour of the day or night.  What’s the measure for too loud?  If it can be heard on the next campsite, it is too loud.

Excessive or Annoying Day Time Noise: Most people try to be quiet during the night-time quiet hours, but what about day-time noise?  Most campers don't want to camp next to people with the radio blasting, someone making something that is noisy (like metal working), someone pounding the fire poker on the fire ring, kids screaming or screeching, parents screaming at their kids, or another couple having a domestic disturbances, etc. 

Visitors: Everyone loves to have family and friends visit them while camping!  Campground owners love it too.  But remember, that when you registered, you registered for X number of people.  So when 2 friends stop by to visit, they need to report to the office, register as visitors, and pay the visitor’s fee for the day if they are only staying for the day, or for the overnight camping.  There is generally a limit to the number of visitors you can have per campsite.  So check that out at the campground before you invite the whole family to that July 4th picnic and find out that someone was sent home because your site was already at max. capacity.  And, large groups easily disturb the neighbors, so please be extra considerate and quiet. 

Pet Policies: Nothing is more irritating then a camper who locks their pet in an RV, leaves for the day, and the neighbors can’t sit out at their campsite because the neighboring dog is barking non-stop for hours on end.  It’s not fair to your pet, the camping neighbors, nor the campground owners.  The other problem is retractable leashes and pet owners allowing their pets to do their business in other people’s campsites.  Walk your pet in the pet walk area, clean up after it, keep it leashed, and keep it quiet.  Pets are without question, the #1 area of complaints that campground owners get.  So, if you want to keep campgrounds pet-friendly for your four legged family members, this will go a long way in doing so.

Your Campsite: Your campsite runs from your hookups, to your neighbors hookups.  Please keep all of your stuff (noise, kids, dogs, vehicles, etc.) on your campsite.  Don’t exchange picnic tables with someone else, or fire rings, etc.  None of that stuff is yours to move, so please don’t.   

Trespassing: It sounds silly, but your neighbor’s campsite is your neighbor’s campsite.  Please don’t park your third vehicle on it, assuming they don’t care.  Don’t allow your children to cut through others campsites on the way to or from the restrooms, shower house, or playground.  Not only is it rude, it’s also dangerous.  There could be a fire ring (or other obstacle) to trip over, a dog lead you don’t see, or a pet that will be startled and bite you. Neither the dog owner, nor the person bitten, want that to happen.  It’s always a trip to the restroom.

Follow The Campground Policies: You would be astonished at how many people pay no attention to the campground policies.  Most campgrounds have policies for the protection of their campers.  Make sure you get a copy and read the rules at each campground you go to.  They may differ slightly from campground to campground, but most are pretty standard.  They are there to ensure safety, security, and courtesy for you and others.  Teach your children and new camping friends to follow them, and everyone will have a great time, every time.

Check-in/Check-out times:  Please be punctual.  If you are checking out, and check-out time is 2:00, please be sure that you are departed at or before 2:00.  The campground needs time to check it, clean the fire ring, and perform any needed maintenance. The next camper may be sitting in the parking lot ready to come onto that site.  Your late departure becomes an inconvenience to the next person.  We’re confident you wouldn’t want the camper before you, to make you wait for the campsite you reserved for your family vacation.  Be courteous, and don’t do it to the next camper.  Please pay it forward.

Leave the site like you found it (or better!):  There is nothing worse, then pulling onto a campsite with the garbage still sitting on it or worse yet something scattered around the campsite.  Make sure you take your refuse to the dumpster before you depart.  Don’t leave broken water balloons, confetti, etc. all over the campsite.  Please don’t burn plastics, Styrofoam, etc.  It stinks and it’s toxic to you and others, and it’s bad for the environment!  Please place tin cans, glass bottles, used sparklers, etc. in the garbage that goes to the dumpster.  They do not belong in the fire ring.  Leave the campsite as clean or cleaner than it was when you checked in.  Not only will the campground owner or manager appreciate it, but the next camper will too.    

If you have an issue, please report it:  Whether you have an issue with a camping neighbor, the Wi-Fi isn’t working, the bath room needs attention, or there is an electrical problem, report it.  If you report it, it provides the business owner a chance to fix this issue and make your camping experience better.  It also raises their awareness of issues they might need to address with staff, or a policy change that improves everyone’s camping experience!  

Following these simple rules, may seem almost a no brainer.  But these are the top complaints we get from campers, about other campers.  So, if you’re camping, and you follow these rules of courtesy, hopefully your camping neighbors will too.  When that happens, everyone has a better camping experience. 

We wish you safe and happy kamping where ever your travels take you! 

By Robyn Chilson

Tim & Robyn Chilson own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA.  Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251 or at www.MeadvilleKOA.com