If you’ve recently been bitten by the RV travel bug, you’ve probably discovered that the RV world is vast, complex, and most importantly, thrilling. It can feel like an information overload when you’re starting out in this lifestyle and trying to learn everything at once, but once you finally hit the road, all of your efforts will feel more than worth it.
Once you’re fully comfortable behind the wheel of your rig, you can start thinking about where you’re going to travel towards. Planning your first RV park experience can be an exciting rush, and while staying at campgrounds isn’t rocket science, there is something to keep in mind in order to make your trip as smooth as possible. Here are a few questions to ask to help you out during your first overnight stay:
Did You Reserve Your Spot?
This is a no-brainer to seasoned RVers, but for those who are just starting out, underestimating the importance of reserving a spot can become a frustrating ordeal. Imagine that you’ve driven all day, and you’re exhausted and ready to retire for the night. You see a sign for an RV park and breathe a sigh of relief, hoping to settle in and relax. You’re then told that there is no vacancy and that the next RV park is far out, and there is no guarantee the closest one will have any open spots either.
When it’s prime RV season, popular RV parks fill up fast and are often reserved much in advance, so do yourself a favor, and secure a spot before heading out on your adventure. Boondocking can be a great experience, but if you’re not prepared for it, it can leave you feeling frazzled and frustrated–two emotions you don’t want to experience during your first trek.
Is There Room for Your RV Awning and Slideouts?
Space is another important item to inquire about. If you’re trying to enjoy some peaceful quiet time with your loved ones, you probably don’t want to be nearly rubbing elbows with your RV park neighbors.
After all, part of the fun of staying at campgrounds is being able to personalize your area so that you can sprawl out, relax, and bask in the outdoors. Setting up outdoor furniture so that you can lazily lounge under your RV shade products, such as awnings or awning room attachments, help make your campsite feel more homey, but some campsites are so small that you wouldn’t be able to open your awning or your slideouts without infringing on your neighbors’ space. To avoid being too close to others for comfort, spend a little time investigating beforehand to help ensure a spacious setup.
What Are the RV Park Rules?
While most RV parks have rules that overlap (e.g., cleaning up after yourself or your pet), some rules vary from location to location. You’ll want to figure out if the campground you’re looking into has rules that you feel fine about following, or decide if the rules are something that would prevent you from wanting to stay there. Here are a few examples of things to think about:
- Are pets allowed? If so, are they required to be leashed at all times? Does the park offer any off-leash areas so that your pet can freely run around?
- Do the quiet hours satisfy your preference?
- Do you like to have a couple of drinks, or would you prefer an alcohol-free park?
- Do you mind if fires are not permitted, or do you have your heart set on s’mores and stories around a campfire?
Do You Know the Dos and Dont’s of Campground Manners?
As with most situations in life, using the Golden Rule of treating others how you’d want to be treated tends to eliminate most problems. If you follow this, you should have no issue being a conscientious neighbor, but it’s still helpful to inform yourself on the basics of proper RV park etiquette, such as:
- Respect quiet hours, especially if the campsites are close together. If you’re a night owl who wants to enjoy the night away with friends, seek out campgrounds with secluded sites, or try boondocking.
- Clean up after yourself, your pets, and your kids. It’s a shared space, after all.
- Avoid trekking through your neighbors’ campsites. This is a big gripe you hear about in the RV communities, so try to be mindful and keep your kids and pets from running through other camping spots.
- Don’t burn trash. If fires are allowed, avoid throwing cans and other trash into the fire. It creates an unpleasant odor that can fill up the whole park.
Will You Be Able to Fully Hook Up Your RV?
If this is the first time you’re heading to an RV park in your own RV, you probably can’t wait to enjoy all of the appliances and amenities that your rig has to offer. However, not all campgrounds offer full-hookups for all sizes of RVs.
For instance, some RV parks only offer 30 amps for hookups instead of the 50 that many larger rigs need. To avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, simply call and make sure the campground can accommodate you.
What Amenities Are Offered?
RV parks are getting more and more luxurious, as the number of amenities being offered is increasing all of the time. Before you choose which campground you want to head towards, think about what kind of experience you want to have. Do you want to feel like you’re secluded away tranquility in nature, or do you want to experience something more elaborate? To help you brainstorm, here are a few common campground amenities that RVers love:
- Trails and hiking
- Swimming pools and hot tubs
- Fitness centers
- Public showers
- Dog-friendly areas
- Basketball courts
You get the idea; you can pretty much customize your experience just by knowing what you want and taking the time to seek out an RV park that fits your desires.
Enjoy Your Trip!
As you can see, there are a few important things to keep in mind when planning your first RV park experience, but none of it is overly complicated. If you take the time to call the campground and research some online reviews, you should have a smooth, memory-making trip to look forward to. Bon voyage!