Here’s how we navigate the Big Lap etiquette minefield

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campsite etiquette rules for grey nomads
Vicki and Tony have developed a ‘code of ethics’ to help them navigate the complexities of campsite etiquette

They may be highly experienced grey nomads, but Vicki and Tony Batten freely admit they still struggle to understand some aspects of life on the open road … like the intricacies of campsite etiquette.

The couple, who are both in their 60s, have noticed one or two things about grey nomad behaviour.

“The usual rules of privacy simply do not apply,” said Vicki. “I don’t see too many people walking down a suburban street in their PJ’s or sitting a metre away from other people in the street sipping wine and eating crackers and pretending the ‘others’ are just not there.”

The Battens, who travel in an Avan motorhome travel in six month ‘blocks’, decided that in order to successfully navigate the complexities of campsite life, they needed to set up their own ‘code of ethics’.

Here’s what they came up with:

  • Always smile and say ‘hello’ but be careful because, if you inadvertently strike up a friendship with people whom you have absolutely nothing in common with, it can be quite difficult to ‘shake’ them.
  • Even when there is a blazing row going on a metre away in the next caravan, just continue to sip your wine/tea and chat with your partner as if nothing is occurring.
  • Don’t park too close to the ablution block, particularly the ones with screen doors that slam shut every time someone goes through.
    • When you go for a walk and it ‘happens’ to be Happy Hour, try not to look desperate. Just walk casually by and if someone says ‘hello’, give a cheery ‘hello’ back. You can slow – but not perceptibly – and remain nonchalant.
  • Always expect that when your partner (male) goes to the shop, the ablutions block or even to the back of the van to check something, that you will not see him for at least an hour. And never interrupt two ‘blokes’ chatting about the tyre gauge!
  • Be prepared. You will tell everyone you get into conversation with your life story or, if you don’t, they will! Make sure you tell the truth, or at least make sure your ‘story’ is consistent, because everyone tells everyone else and that can get sticky if you have previously chatted to the ‘everyone else’!

For all the endless pressures of ‘getting it right’ in Grey Nomad Land, Tony and Vicki wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’ve met some wonderful people; seen some beautiful sunsets, and found that Australia is an amazingly beautiful country,” said Vicki. “We have just loved every minute of ‘doing the Lap’.

  • Do you have a code of campsite ethics? Comment below.
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11 Responses to Here’s how we navigate the Big Lap etiquette minefield

  1. Don’t play loud music expecting everyone else to enjoy it as well or have group chats that get louder & louder as the alcohol level gets higher & higher

  2. please, smokers please do not sit too close to those that don’t especially when your neighbors are eating/drinking. In our last cvn prk stay there was a chain smoker from sun up to sundown, this smoker also had a nasty pklegmy cough, not nice

  3. Just general politeness, it cost nothing.

  4. My shower/ablution block stroll is usually takes about 2 hours.

  5. Treat EVERYONE as your equal, don’t feel superior or pass judgement on anyone.

  6. Our code of ethics is not staying in caravan parks as we detest the boxed in feeling of seemingly having your free time impinge upon. We prefer free or low cost camping where we can spread out & relax in our quiet environment taking in the sounds & sights of nature, I can feel free to pass wind at my leisure, and not having to contend with dogs around our camp!

    • Eric, we’re on the same page, believe me.

  7. We have met some wonderful folk whilst travelling. We try not to park too close but sometimes this is unavoidable. A smile costs nothing.

  8. If you are in a bush camp with other like minded campers and Gennies are allowed, then so be it… For my money…. gennies are part of bush camping.
    As for the original post by Vickie and Tony, I do not agree with some of their comments, but then they no doubt would not always agree with my view… It is and individual view.
    Happy days
    Johnnie Rodgers

    • Make solar the part of bush camping!

      • We travel with roof mounted solar as well as 2 portable panels that can be erected in the sun whilst we park in the shade if needed. But we still need the Gennie to run the front loader washing machine as they apparently should not be run on inverter. We also need to charge electric bike batteries or drill batteries occasionally so we will charge them at the same time. Then there are the periods of extended overcast days where it’s difficult to get a full charge back in the batteries especially if you are running a 12v fridge. So there is need for the gennie but it is always run for the minimum time and tucked up in our camp to try to minimise the noise. I believe they are a fact of life and are nowhere near as offensive as other things such as free roaming dogs and screaming children.

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