Here’s how we navigate the Big Lap etiquette minefield

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’.

Grey nomads share advice on campsite etiquette

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 any grey nomad etiquette tips you would like to share? Email us here.

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