10 Red Flags That Tell You to Avoid an RV Park on Vacation

As someone with extensive experience staying at RV parks, I have been surprised to notice that while there are many articles online to help vacationers to choose motorhome parks based on their features, I have not seen a whole lot of advice on how to avoid parks with vacation-ruining issues (i.e. noise, poor amenities, administrative problems, and so forth).

Perhaps this is because it can be difficult to evaluate a park just by visiting its website and calling up reservations on the phone. But there are a number of red flags which you can detect even across a distance which can tell you that you might want to avoid a certain park.

Following are 10 red flags to be on the lookout for when you’re placing your reservations for your next vacation.

1. Consider avoiding major highways.

While there certainly are high-quality RV parks along highways, major roads can sometimes cause problems. For example:

• Noise levels can be high, sometimes even at night.
• There could be safety issues with driving in and out of the park.
• All that through-traffic sometimes brings other types of traffic as well (i.e. drug trafficking).
• Costs may be inflated because of convenience.

How big an issue the presence of a highway is depends completely on the location where you will be staying. In some areas, it may be well worth staying away from major roads, while in others, it could be completely irrelevant.

australia highway

 

2. Try not to stay at parks in areas with high crime rates.

Crime issues tend to leak into such parks. This can result in dealing with unsavoury persons and/or unsavoury situations. Particularly if many of the park’s residents are permanent, there may be a lot of drama going on around you instead of the peace and quiet you are after.

crime

 

3. Avoid parks which have inflated prices for no obvious reason.

There are many factors which can influence the cost of a motorhome park space. Some of these make sense, i.e. hookups available, the sizes of spaces, the proximity of spaces to an attractive feature such as a lake or river, and so forth.

But sometimes, prices of spots may vary for no particular reason aside from management discretion. It is also not uncommon to see large differentials in cost from one park to the next even within a small geographical area.

While you might think that a more expensive park will always be much nicer, it’s not always the case. In fact, sometimes the reverse can be true. If prices have been jacked up for no reason, you can be sure that you are not going to have the best vacation experience.

increasing_prices

 

4. Consider the social economics of a park (in either direction).

There is a great deal of concern nowadays over the “type of people” staying at any given motorhome park. Many parks are actively working on gentrification, and find excuses to keep poorer people away (like rules limiting the age of motorhomes allowed in).

Just learning a park’s social economics with respect to policies like these can help you to get a feel for both the attitude of the management and the economic class of the typical resident or vacationer at the park.

Based on this, you can decide whether a park might be a good fit for you or not. If you would prefer an upper class environment, you can choose one. If that type of environment would not suit you, you can avoid it.

 

5. Stay away from parks with dodgy customer service and/or bad attitudes.

You can tell a lot about what you can expect from your experience at a motorhome resort just by talking to customer service about your plans and asking some questions.

It isn’t just the content of what the person tells you that should be informative, but the way that the person handles the conversation.

If you find yourself dealing with someone who dodges around questions and/or rushes you, speaks tersely, or even actively discourages you from placing a reservation (this can happen more often than you might think if management suspects you are not their “kind of people”), there is no reason to check into that park any further.

 

6. No photos? That’s not a good sign.

Since you cannot actually drive by a motorhome park to check it out unless you are planning a vacation relatively close to where you live now, you will need to rely on the internet for photos.

Hopefully, you can find a good selection of photos of an RV resort directly on that resort’s website. If you cannot, that raises questions about what you can expect from your stay.

Whether or not you find lots of photos on the site, you should also check customer reviews for uploaded photos. Those, after all, were taken without management’s stamp of approval, and may provide you with a more honest insight into the appearance of the park.

 

7. It’s worth asking about noise regulations.

There are a couple of relevant noise regulations worth asking about when you pick up the phone to chat with a booking agent. You should find out whether generator use is allowed, and you should also ask what the quiet hours are.

If a park does not have any sort of rules about noise, that may be a sign that it can be a loud place to stay. It also might indicate that partying is commonplace. So if loud noise and partying are things that you want to avoid on your vacation, you might want to stick with parks that have clear noise regulations.

Of course, the converse is true as well. If you plan to party on your vacation, you may want to specifically search for a motorhome resort which will allow you to do so without worrying about noise levels.

 

8. Be aware that “RV resort” is a meaningless phrase.

Something else worth mentioning is the phrase “RV resort.” I have seen people say online that you should look specifically for a “resort” rather than a “park.” The idea is that this will get you away from a “trailer park” atmosphere.

But having stayed at both, I can tell you the phrase is meaningless. RV parks and resorts are interchangeable, and the name tells you nothing about the park’s true character.

So that means that the word “park” is not a red flag in itself. And it also tells you that someone who tries overly hard to sell you on the “resort” nature of their business may be attempting to mislead you through a simple choice of words.

That being said, there are RV parks which really do offer a high-class resort experience. But it should be self evident just from checking out their amenities and the photos on their website that they really are worthy of that “resort” moniker.

 

9. If they don’t promote their amenities, that’s a bad sign.

Let’s talk for a moment about motorhome resort amenities. If you are planning to use amenities such as laundry, toilets and showers, you want to stay at a park which draws emphasis to these amenities and their availability to guests.

If a motorhome resort offers these amenities but does not go out of their way to promote them to you on the telephone or on their website, it raises the question of why. Here are couple of possibilities:

• The facilities may exist, but they could be in poor condition.
• While the facilities are available, the park management may prefer that you not use them.

If a motorhome park has kept their amenities in excellent shape and truly wants guests to have the most convenient and enjoyable experience, they should go out of their way to make sure you know everything which is available, just like any hotel would.

 

10. Bad reviews often speak for themselves.

Review-StarsLast but certainly not least, you should read reviews for any RV resort which you are thinking about parking at.

In particular, I recommend looking for long, detailed reviews which are both positive and negative.

While your temptation may be to read reviews from other vacationers, you should strongly consider looking for those which have been left by full-time residents as well.

This will provide you with the most thorough portrait of what the park is really like.

 

Avoiding These Red Flags Should Help You Find a Quality Park for Your Motorhome Vacation

It may not be easy to assess a motorhome park accurately when you’re not able to visit it yourself before booking a reservation. But it is far from impossible.

Hopefully the tips above will help you out during your search so that you can avoid dodgy RV parks and stay only at those which will provide you with the most enjoyable vacation experience.

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