Everyone who lives on the road has heard the popular refrain, “If you don’t like your neighbors, just turn the key and leave!”
In my early days of full-timing, I totally believed it was that easy to just pick up and leave. But now I know that leaving on a whim isn’t always an option. Sometimes you just have to stay longer in a spot than you’d like.
In these situations, you need to know how to stay sane or you’ll hate this lifestyle. Here are a few tips that can help you cope when you’re parked next to horrible RV neighbors.
Getting along with horrible RV neighbors
RVers are usually nicer than most people but there’s always an exception to the rule. Here’s a look at three common horrible RV neighbors you’ll encounter and how to deal with them.
1. The Negligent Parent
It’s easy to spot the negligent child or dog parent. The dog owner will put the pooch outside for some fresh air by tethering him to the picnic table. Then the neighbor goes inside and ignores the lonely pup’s constant barking. The human parent, on the other hand, will just turn their kids loose and let ’em run wild all over your campsite.
The best way to solve this horrible RV neighbor problem isn’t by approaching the neighbor. After all, they’re completely oblivious and will take your “suggestion” as an insulting critique of their bad parenting. Instead, ask the RV park manager or campground host to say something. This is one instance when it’s OK and acceptable to pass the buck to someone else. After all, they set the rules and it’s their job to enforce them. It usually works.
2. The Antique Generator Aficionado
You traveled for miles to escape civilization and set up camp in the desert. But before long, someone else has the same idea. As their RV bounces down the dirt road and stops within earshot of your rig, you spot their bumper-mounted, antique generator. Later that night you’re lulled to restless sleep by the clackety-clack of a gas-guzzling, exhaust-spewing machine that should have been retired years ago.
It’s hard to resist the urge to scream. But is that really going to solve anything? Nope. In this case, it’s worthwhile to reach out to the neighbor, offer him a beer and learn a little bit about their story. They could turn out to be such great people that you’ll find it within yourself to overlook the nightly generator racket.
3. The Bad RV Housekeeper
Laziness is hard to hide in RV parks and poor housekeeping is a problem you’ll encounter on the road. This is especially common if you’re frugal-minded like me and are always looking for low RV park rates. Generally speaking, the cheaper the rates, the more you can expect to encounter neighbors who just don’t (or aren’t able to) put in much effort into cleaning up their “yard.”
When you encounter the bad RV housekeeper on the road, there’s not much you can do about it if management hasn’t already done so. This is the one case where you’ll just have to suck it up if you want to save a buck.
These are just three examples of horrible RV neighbors. I’m sure you’ve encountered some doozies yourself. I’ll bet you’ll agree that learning to let these annoyances roll off your back is a small price to pay for such an awesome lifestyle.
See also: Campground Etiquette: How To Be A Good Camping Neighbor
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.
Here’s another one: the site thief
This happened to me in the summer of 2015, at Kaibab Lake, a US Forest Service campground on the edge of Williams, AZ. The lake is pretty low compared to the first time I was there, back in the early nineties, but it’s still a very nice Grand Canyon-area campground.
At the time, I hadn’t yet bought a motorhome, so I was in a rental and did not have a toad, which means, of course, leaving the site empty during the day. We returned from a day at the Grand Canyon, only to find that another RVer had removed the “reserved” tag with my name on it and the dates of our stay from our very nice, lake view space, put his own rig in there and took the spot.
I was pretty put out at that, and went to talk to the campground host, who told me it happens all the time and offered me an 80-foot pull-through at no extra charge for the rest of my stay. I expect he didn’t want to get a ranger over there to throw the bums out, and although I really wanted to request that he do exactly that, I took his offer. Instead of having a lake view, I wound with a view of the Bounder that belonged to the jerks who stole my site. If we weren’t leaving the next day, I probably would have asked if he could call a ranger.
It’s kind of funny that a little over a year later, I wound up buying a Bounder myself. It’s a nice motorhome, but it always makes me think of that experience.
If it happens as often as the CH told me it does, it would be nice if the USFS would come up with some kind of a change to their system to prevent this.
I now tow my Odyssey behind my MH, so the MH stays behind to guard my space while I sightsee, else I’d have to devise some kind of chain and lock system to put across the site when I wasn’t there.
I’m curious, how many others have had this disgusting experience?
Bluebird Bob says
Since you had to pay for the site, I would have asked the bum to move or called the camphost to get a Ranger.
People like that shouldn’t get away with stuff like that because they will do that again!
Had something similar happen to me- I was in a truck camper at Dreher Island State Park in SC.
Went off for the day to come back and find someone in my site- now I had left my lawn chairs padlocked via cable to the picnic table to clearly denote the site was taken.
They moved in anyway!
So went and got the Ranger who said it was MY fault for not staying in my site! Excuse me? I’m not allowed to leave my site?
He would not throw them out and I had to move to another less desirable site.
Never been back to a SC State Park and never will.
That really stinks that even a ranger wouldn’t throw them out. At least in my view, that’s a part of the job. One of the less pleasant parts, to be sure, but it’s part of the job. Rangers are at least quasi-law enforcement officers, and there’s at least a rule – if not a statute – saying you can’t take somebody else’s space.
This summer, at one place I stayed, a person with a truck camper had actually dropped the camper off the truck and left it in the site, on its jacks. I thought it was just for convenience, but maybe it was because of an experience like yours. It’s really bad that a person would even have to think of doing that.
I guess it’s just a reflection of society. There have always been some bad apples, but I think there is no question that society as a whole is far less respectful of others than it was when we were children. Even kids. Yesterday, my wife took our 8-year old to her tennis class and stayed to help the instructor and play a little tennis with her, and there was a 6-year old in the class who thought her mom wasn’t hitting the ball right or something and said, “What the he**” are you doing, mom?!” with no consequences. Another parent’s 4-year old kept running into the tennis court where my wife was playing tennis with one of the instructors, and the instructor stopped and asked the mom to keep the kid out of the court because she could really get hurt if hit by a tennis ball. The mom not only didn’t comply, she the “Who do you think you are to tell me to do that?!” attitude. I know that every generation tends to think the country is going down the toilet compared to the way things were when they were young, but, uh, the country really _is_ going down the toilet.
Society as a rule is becoming more rude, self centered and disrespectful of others…. For many the “it’s all about me” attitude is common place. People get ticked off or mad for the craziest things. the other day I pulled into a Walmart that was crowded (as usual) and there was a parking space available next to a couple of women who were unloading their cart of groceries into their car. Since nobody was behind me right then I politely sat out in the row waiting for them to finish up. They glared at me threw their hands in the air, slammed the doors so hard I thought the door would come off the hinges and I can read lips somewhat and I can’t tell you what they had to say to me. I rolled my window down and hollered “hey ladies, if I have destroyed your entire day I’m sorry” I have found that phrase causes most folks to realize they’re being a jerk or at least causes them to mellow out some.
M Stenner says
I find that if I introduce myself early on, either when I get there or when they pull in and begin setting up, they’re less likely to do things out of bounds of camping etiquette. Plus it just a good neighborly thing to do.
jimmy veazey says
So according o the article,no help just suck it up.
Thats BS Stand up for your self! These People that push they selfs on us are the bottom of the barrel. What right is right.
The worst RV neighbors by far are loud music adoring party animals that have to shout to each other to be heard above their usually distasteful music. They often travel in groups of two or more campers and congregate at the party site. Camp rules about noise are ignored until they are instructed to keep it down or leave. They become upset at other campers for ruining their “outdoor experience” will push all rules to the limit. They occasionally take a night off to go to town, returning early in the morning slamming car doors, conversing with each other as if they were still in a noisy bar, and slam around until they decide they are tired.
A Wheeles says
Wow, Sherm, that sounds really familiar. I must have been to some of the same places as you. Also, do you remember the late arrivals who try to set up in the middle of the night and turn on every light they can find which always seem to be pointing toward me. It seems they also need a lot of metal items to bang on and throw around.
How about hard of hearing neighbors. I cannot believe the old man who blasts his oldies music. I happen to like heavy metal but would never dream of being inconsiderate of neighbors yet many older rv people I have had the misfortune to be parked next to blasé their TV’s and music without any consideration.