RVer Rituals, Explained

RVer Rituals, Explained
Seasoned RVers share insights ranging from campsite etiquette to rally traditions.
By: GoLife Staff

You’ve done your research and scoured every RV education resource. You know all about the different classes of RVs, how to empty tanks, maintenance checks to do, what boondocking is, and how to save on camping. But then you head out on your first RV trip and start noticing that everyone seems to have these common ways of doing things that you don’t remember reading up on. 

You find yourself wondering, what is with the state sticker maps on everyone’s RV? Or why did that stranger just wave at me? To help you get in the loop, we’ve asked seasoned Winnebago owners in our GNR attendees group to share all about these (often unspoken) RVer rituals.

State Sticker Map Rules

If you haven’t seen the state and/or province sticker maps proudly displayed on the side or slide-out of an RV, it won’t be long until you do! And, as you become an avid RV traveler, don’t be surprised if you find yourself ordering one for yourself.

Did you know that there is a bit of a controversy over what constitutes a ‘new state visited?’ Some RVers put a new sticker on if their RV was in that state at all, while others don’t count it unless they stayed overnight. And some RVers have even stricter rules, like having to visit a local store or attraction for it to count. 

John Fiskan prefers to keep his rule simple: “If we had wheels on the ground in that state, the sticker goes on.” Although Kent Gardam usually follows the overnight rule, he shared: “we’re thinking of adding the ‘Hawaii’ sticker this year after the GNR Hawaii get-together!”

Photo Credit: Shanae & Mark McDevitt.

If you ever want a fun conversation starter when meeting new RVers, this sticker controversy is it!

Campsite Etiquette

When you roll up to camp in your RV for the first time, you may be wondering how to make the best impression on your temporary neighbors. 

Here are some of the top tips from our community:

  • “Never venture into someone's camping space unless invited,” advises Cherry Courville. “Don't take short cuts through sites when occupied by someone else.” And make sure your kiddos know this rule as well! RVers are quick to say hi and invite you over when they are in a friend-making mood, but everyone has their own preferences and need for space.
  • Make sure your dogs are well-behaved, too! Valerie Peters shares: “We travel with two dogs, they are always on leash (unless in designated off leash areas) and we always, always clean up after them.”
  • Have fun with décor! As long as you stay in your own space and follow park rules, feel free to personalize your campsite in ways that make you smile or improve your comfort. Jeff Smith shares that him and his friends “always post our two plastic flamingos at our campsite entrance.” 

Overall, just be considerate and enjoy yourself!

The RVer Wave

When you are driving in your commuter vehicle, it is unlikely to wave to everyone you pass unless, perhaps, you are driving out of your neighborhood. However, RVers tend to wave to every other RV they pass. (When it is safe, of course – both hands on the wheel on the highway, please!). 

If you pass another RV, feel free to give a friendly wave and feel good about being part of what makes this community so great. You could even try the Winnebago wave (three fingers up like a ‘W’)!

Note: RVers will often forget they are in their ‘TOAD’ and wave to another RVer on the road, not realizing they aren’t actually in an RV at that moment. So, if someone in a car happily waves at you for no apparent reason, that’s likely why!

Rally Rituals

For new and seasoned RVers alike, attending an RV rally (especially Winnebago’s Grand National Rally) is an exciting way to meet friends and learn from the community. After attending for a while, you may find that you have some rituals that you look forward to keeping up with or personal rules to follow.

Here are some examples:

  • Special Drinks: Especially at GNR, many of the state rallies have their go-to drink recipe or tradition. Glenda Hannaford, who has been attending the event since 2005, shared why margaritas have become the go-to drink for the Virginians after a planned get-together with one margarita machine turned into quite the party! “The word spread to other groups and states which resulted in many of us Virginians also getting margarita makers to satisfy the crowd. So now that we had so many margarita machines, we decided to serve them at a state row party. We were able to turn out over 500 frozen margaritas that year to happy campers.”
  • Musical Golf Carts: With so many rented golf carts at GNR, Marie Wollin shares an important tip: Always check that you are in your cart before taking off (it will have your name on it). “We spent quite a bit of time trying to find a friend’s cart because someone else thought they were getting into theirs and took it back to their motorhome.” 
  • Favorite Foodie Finds: For rallies that take place in the same location year after year, it’s likely that you’ll start craving the food from the local restaurants or another RVer who is an especially good cook. Some RVers even make it a point to visit local farmer’s markets wherever they are!

Most importantly, make it a ritual to have a great time – a task that is very easy to do at a rally!

As you may have gathered, these RVer rituals are a beloved part of the RVing experience. And, the best part is, you can create your own rituals as you go! Maybe you will even start a new trend that others in the RVing community will adopt.

Do you have any RV rituals to add to this list? We’d love to read about them in the comments!


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