Ian and Manda's Round-the-World Trip Diary

The Rules of Campsites

15th February, Tallebudgera, Australia

Ian writes:

We've stayed in quite a few caravan parks and camp sites over the last couple of months, and I've started to notice a few things that seem to suggest that there are some unwritten rules of staying at these places. Unwritten until now, that is.

  • Everyone else on site will be better prepared and better equipped than you. It's a fact. No matter what extras you might carry (and we have very few, not even fold-away chairs!), someone a couple of plots down will still have have more. Utensil envy is rife.
  • When you first park up, the distance between the power supply and the van's power socket will be precisely 2 inches longer than the inadequate power lead that you own.
  • On the hottest evenings, you will be parked next to someone with a very flashy van that is equipped with an air-con unit, and it will be facing you blowing out their hot air and taunting you with its efficient hum.
  • You must make a mental comparison with every other van that is the same as yours. (As such, any kombi that is on a site is immediately ranked better/even/worse than ours).
  • If kombi envy ensues, it is customary to provide a complete tour of the inside of the van. At this point, further comparisons are made based on age, storage space, mod-cons etc.
  • No matter how well you think you have secured the van for the evening, flies and other insects will always find a way to join you and perhaps feed on you.
  • It is customary to say morning to complete strangers that you pass on the way to the toilet block. This also applies to complete strangers that you see inside the toilet and shower facilities, but there is a cut-off point at which saying hello to people in the toilet moves from being a cheery 'we're all in this together' morning greeting to something more awkward. It's around 10am.
  • You will never have the exact change for the laundry facilities.
  • When you have the right change, you will have run out of washing powder and the reception will be shut.
  • You will go to sleep about 2 hours before you normally would in a hotel or your normal environment.
  • You will wake about 3 hours before you normally would in a hotel or your normal environment.
  • If you cannot sleep, it won't be because of rowdy teenagers, it will be the noisy 60-year-olds over the way who are having a good chin wag, sat on their fold-away chairs and matching sunshade.
  • And they always seem to be looking over - or is that just my paranoia?
  • Drivers with modern, flashy camper vans will invariably class the backpacker/Kombi/Mitsubishi L300 types as one level above cockroaches on the evolutionary scale. Damn, is that why they keep staring at us?!
  • When you are most hungry and least prepared, someone a few plots down will be cooking up a piece of bacon.
  • A van with a television is the epitome of luxury.
  • When you are parked furthest away from the amenities, this is when you will wake up at 3am needing to use the loo most.

Of course, you might have your own experiences and observations, so go ahead and add them using the comments below. Perhaps it might help give us forewarning of other things to come?