RVing is a rich and rewarding way to travel, but a nagging fear of “bad” RV parks can hinder the experience. If you’re too afraid to visit bucket list destinations after learning bad things about nearby RV parks, you’re shortchanging yourself.
Before reaching a conclusion, take a minute to review our three RV trip planning tips to avoid bad RV parks and pick good, safe ones during your travels.
Research your options
Life before the Internet meant it was a total crapshoot to reserve campsites at unfamiliar parks. Thankfully today we have the power of social media and can read about recent customer experiences at places like Campground Reviews and its accompanying Discussion Forum.
What makes this website better than competitors is that its reviews are moderated by actual human beings who can distinguish between real feedback and phony posts by hired help.
Read Campground Reviews with a discerning eye:
- Look for reviewers with RVs similar to yours.
- Notice the post review dates.
- Consider feedback about amenities: which ones will you be using?
Talk to other RVers
After pinpointing a potential RV park candidate, talk to other RVers about your choice if you still have concerns. One of the best examples of a great park in a questionable location is the French Quarter RV Park in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Yes, the park is in a downtown area with crime statistics that rival most North American cities. But does that mean you shouldn’t stay there? Ask iRV2 Forum members in the Camping Locations, Plans & Trip Reports discussion area.
Further, always consider the pros and cons of when you’ll stay in a location like this. Big New Orleans events like Mardi Gras draw huge crowds before, during and after the celebration. More tourists could potentially increase the likelihood of being targeted by thieves. But then again, it could also mean more police officers will be on patrol.
The only way to find out is by talking to as many other visitors as it takes to make you feel comfortable about going there.
Use common sense
Urban areas aren’t always bad places to stay. If you yearn to experience cultural attractions in big cities, don’t let a fear of bad RV parks or local crime keep you from doing it.
Here’s an excellent example of how fear can keep some people from enjoying the great city of Chicago. In this iRV2 Forum Discussion, a member asks:
“Will be traveling up 65 from Indy to 294 north to north Milwaukee area. Looking for an overnight park on the south side of Chicago or even possibly on the south side of Milwaukee if we make it that far. Any suggestions will be appreciated as we don’t travel that way often in the MH.”
Based on the reaction of a few respondents (“Are you nuts?“), you might conclude that staying anywhere in or near Chicago is a bad idea. Ultimately, through comprehensive research, only you can decide how comfortable you are staying in unfamiliar areas.
When you do, just practice common sense city smarts so you don’t become a victim to crime, which caused this thread of discussion on iRV2.com regarding an RVer who was shot dead in Florida.
Practical crime prevention strategies include:
- Don’t open the door to strangers.
- Make your RV look occupied when away.
- Don’t show off valuable items.
- Take cabs if you feel unsafe.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Report suspicious activity
From Canada to Mexico and beyond, North America has many great destinations to visit. Don’t let an irrational fear of unfamiliar cultures or bad RV parks keep you from making the most of your RV. Practice common sense and the adventures are limitless.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.