No matter where you caravan in the UK, and for that matter when abroad, one thing should remain consistent; caravan park etiquette.
Each time when you drive onto a site, pitch up and settle down, it’s considered common courtesy in the caravanning community to abide by just a few simple rules. This way, you ensure that not only do you have a great break – but so too do those around you.
However, when it comes to several pet peeves in the caravanning world, it’s the caravan etiquette of other caravanners – or rather the lack of it – that is the most problematic of issues. And, in recent years with caravanning seeing a massive surge in popularity in the UK alone, it’s more topical than ever.
Whether you’ve experienced lousy caravan neighbours first-hand or you’re just about to start your caravanning journey, all of us, no matter what our level of caravanning, can ensure we remain good caravan park neighbours, always.
Here are five simple tips that we can all easily adhere to when we next pitch up to a site:
- Be Mindful of the Noise You Generate
Music, TV’s and radios being played too loud on a caravan site can be annoying for so many of us. This is especially so if you’ve made a concentrated effort to find a place to appreciate the delights of the local wildlife, nature, and indeed tranquillity.
However, when you pitch up on those most populated and family orientated sites, you’ll likely have to contend with some music playing, especially during the summer months.
But just because you believe you have excellent musical taste, doesn’t mean the rest of the park wants to share in it! The same goes for the match taking place on the radio, or that most current reality tv programme you’re keen on watching with the caravan doors and windows all wide open!
If you do have children, it’s never too early to get them used to the caravan park rules. Kids need to let off steam and will naturally be louder when onsite, but you can encourage them early on to play away from other people’s vans and to not run screaming like banshees 24/7 around the park or when inside the van.
But, sometimes even adults trump that kiddie sound level. This includes overly loud conversations outside the van in the late or early hours, meetups that turn into late night parties inside the van, and even when walking back to the van from the local pub!
Make a concentrated effort to drop your noise level each time you caravan, and in no time at all, you’ll be a model caravanning citizen!
- Keep to the Boundaries of Your Own Pitch
Another irritant is other caravanners encroaching onto your own pitch. When you pull onto a designated pitch, you’ve paid good money for a specific section. For most of us, this space is sized well enough to house us and all our belongings.
However, for many others, the concept of personal space is easily overlooked when on site, and some people think nothing of pitching their tent, awnings, and even pegs onto your side.
This also goes for cars, particularity if there’s no designated parking space allocated to caravanners. Some see any free space at all and bring their vehicle as close as possible to the van, regardless of whether this may be their neighbours paid up pitch.
The easiest thing to do here is to keep all your belongings on your own pitch. Stay within your allocated section and keep everything, even those tables, chairs and washing lines, within your spot.
The problem of boundaries also, unfortunately, extends to people walking through the site. A harder one to argue, but there’s nothing more grating than having people continually walk through your pitch, merely because they can’t be bothered to take the extra second or so to walk around it.
If you haven’t got any privacy here in the way of an awning as such, this can soon start to disrupt your stay. Furthermore, it’s just downright rude to walk directly through someone’s pitch, even more so if you happen to be smoking as you do so.
Think of a caravan pitch like your home; you can’t extend your property onto your neighbours, and you wouldn’t park your car on their drive – so, adhere to the same rules when onsite!
- Give Other Caravanners Space
Many caravan sites allocate you a specific pitch – but just as popular are those that merely assume caravanners, as adults, can sort themselves out pitch wise! Now, this may be okay for some, but for a lot of others, the idea of leaving a gap doesn’t seem to register.
While caravanning can yield some excellent social connections, the last thing anyone wants is to be on top of strangers. Bear this in mind when you select your spot. Give room for that essential privacy and don’t park so close that you can physically watch your neighbour’s TV more clearly than your own!
Also, don’t always assume that everyone wants to have a chat every morning, every time they walk back from the shower block, or every evening they go to sit out to admire the view! Some people, though happy to say hello, want to switch off when we’re away and not have to make a concentrated effort at conversation!
Allowing space also applies to those caravanners who like to go away as multiple groups – but never think ahead to book a pitch next to one another! No-one wants to be made piggy in the middle of apparent groups of friends or family. If you’re heading away with other caravanners, make sure you’re situated next to one another. If that’s not possible, be extra mindful to not annoy those poor souls sandwiched in between you.
Smile and be considerate with your next-door caravanning neighbour. But, at the same time, allow them the space to breathe as well as enjoy their own well-deserved break!
- Always Clean up After Yourself Both During and After
There’s something about being away from home and using someone else’s site that brings out the teenager in many an adult! This is reflected in the way some caravaners feel it’s perfectly acceptable to leave behind a trail of rubbish as they move throughout the site – assuming others will clean up after them.
With most sites playing host to high traffic levels, it’s crucial we all do our bit as caravanners and clean up after ourselves. This doesn’t just mean ensuring that we place all our rubbish in bins when we drive off but also being more mindful when we finish in the showers, toilets and laundry rooms on the site.
Not only is it simply bad manners to expect others to do our dirty work, but it soon turns a lovely looking campsite into a visual mess in a matter of hours if it’s not dealt with straight away.
You may think that once you’re away, you shouldn’t have to worry about the cleaning aspect. But if we all thought that way caravan sites would soon be over-run with rubbish.
This also applies to dropping fag butts on the ground. Insignificant to some, regardless of how small they are, this is littering at its worst and makes for a disgusting environment for all those around.
Work to the rule of leaving everything as you found it when caravanning and pick up after yourself as you go along, leaving no trace.
- Be a Responsible Dog Owner Always
If you take your four-legged friend on your caravanning trips, it goes without saying that you’re responsible for clearing up after them every time while on site.
Unfortunately, especially on those dog-friendly sites, some owners seem to bypass this rule and allow their dog to wander further afield. Yet, how can you possibly ensure he or she hasn’t left a present behind for others to find!
Keep them on a lead when onsite and if you do decide to let your dog loose, ensure it’s not around other caravans and that it’s allowed on that particular site. Though you may be perfectly okay with smelly wet dogs slobbering you, other caravanners won’t be as keen, and you certainly don’t want them chasing after children onsite.
Also, if you must leave your dog in the caravan unattended, be sure to do so with the confidence they won’t bark or howl the site down as you’re gone. For some, this may be a simple case of leaving the TV, radio, and lights on for them, along with a chew toy. For others, it may just mean not leaving them unattended at all!
If your dog can’t handle being shut up back home, they’ll more than likely hate the confined space of a caravan, letting the whole site know as a result.
If you caravan with your furry friend, make sure you keep them in line and never allow them to become a nuisance to other members.
Final Thoughts on Caravanning Etiquette When on Site
For a vast majority of us, these simple tips aren’t difficult to follow and will come naturally over time as our caravanning journey progresses.
If you want to experience the best that caravan life has to offer while allowing others to do the same, just be mindful the next time you pitch up. Think about how you can thoroughly enjoy your break, while at the same time continuing to be the best caravanning neighbour you can possibly be.