‘Grey nomads behaving badly are taking the joy out of our Big Lap!’

When Ian and Helene Hipp hit the open road, they never thought the biggest downside to the Big Lap would be the grumpiness of fellow grey nomads. Here, Helene, explains why they came to that conclusion

This year we decided to try caravanning and working our way around Australia and were thrilled when we got a job at a tourist venue in northern Australia for ‘the season’.  However our experience has been seriously marred by having to deal on a daily basis with rude, arrogant, demanding people who treat us and our fellow staff in an appalling, often disrespectful manner. I am embarrassed to say that it is those our own age and older (Boomer + age groups) who are the main offenders.

We had an inkling about this poor behaviour last time we travelled three years ago, when we were put off the ‘grey nomad set’ as they spent a lot of time around the campfire moaning and complaining about almost everything – nothing was good enough.  In fact, I was shocked that many grey nomads we met last trip thought Kakadu, a world heritage area of immense beauty and cultural importance, was a ‘waste of time’.

I have discussed this behaviour with others in the tourist industry and, sadly, it is a common tale, with more seasoned operators saying they feel the behaviour is getting worse each year. Of course, there are also many wonderful, happy, generous and polite people who travel. However those who abuse and whine are the ones who cause most stress to workers, even if they are in a minority.

So here are some tips for those who want to make life happier for themselves and for those who ‘serve’ them through the tourist industry.

  • If you are going in high tourist season to a popular destination – book ahead. This is especially true if you travel in a ‘gang’– arriving at a caravan park at 5pm without a booking and demanding that you all get powered sites right next to each other.
  • Don’t abuse the reception staff if you are not able to get a drive-through site for your massive 5th wheeler, with car trailer that you don’t want to unhitch
  • By all means ask if there is a seniors, veterans, locals discount, but then let it go if staff say ‘no’.
  • If you choose to travel 800km a day with no breaks, don’t be grumpy and rude with staff because you are tired and emotional at the end of your journey.
  • Do not play out your personal dramas in front of everyone in reception
  • If the sign says ‘no pets’ – that means no pets. Yes, your dog may be ‘special’, small and better behaved than the Queen’s corgis, but the sign still says ‘no pets’.

If you are healthy and have enough money to travel in this way – be grateful. And please show some respect and kindness to those who ‘serve’ you by working in the tourist industry. Make sure you add something positive every day. You may just find that your life will be richer for it too.

  • Are many grey nomads too grumpy? Email us here to share your thoughts.

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