Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner… and to Stay for a While!

Welcome to Our CamperYou’ve headed south to escape for the winter in your RV.  Life is good.  The weather is warm and you have lots of time to relax in the pool and enjoy your morning coffee under the awning while soaking in the view.  It’s the perfect life.  It’s so perfect that word has spread to your family and they would like to come for a visit…

Even in the largest RVs, space can be limited and many RVs that are perfect for snowbirds or fulltimers are also usually designed for only a small number of people.  So what do you do when guests come to visit?  Where will they sleep?  It may require you to think outside of the box, but depending on the length of the stay and how many visitors show up at your doorstep there are ways that you can pull it off and still be reasonably comfortable.  Here are some ideas for making the most out of limited space and making sure your guests (and you) enjoy their stay:

Get Cozy!
If you don’t mind getting cozy and your RV is so equipped, your guests may be able to stay with you in your RV.  In this case, the sofa or dinette bed may be an option for sleeping arrangements for your guests.  Some RVs also have a sleeping space above the cab or a set of bunks in the back.  When you are deciding whether or not this arrangement is feasible for your guests, you will want to take both the number of your guests and also their size into consideration.  For example, it wouldn’t be wise to make your 6ft tall brother sleep on the dinette bed unless you also want to throw in some free chiropractor visits at the end of his stay.  And if your brother is also bringing his wife and three children, then packing everyone into the RV may not be an option for you at all.

Utilizing these sleeping arrangements can also pose problems because some of these areas of the RV are dual use.  If your teen-aged grandson likes to sleep in until noon, putting him in the dinette bed may put a bit of a damper on your breakfast plans.  Unless everyone wants to eat outside, or you want a grumpy teen on your hands until at least mid-day, it may be wise to look for an alternative sleeping arrangement in this case.

Adding additional bodies to an RV space may put a strain on your utilities as well.  Make sure to keep an eye on the levels on your tanks or you may end up with an unwelcome surprise!  With multiple guests, err on the side of caution.  Dump early and dump often or politely ask your guests to use the campground facilities whenever they possibly can.

Let ‘Em Rough It!
If the campground rules and the size of your RV space allow it, putting up a tent on your site may be an option for your guests.  In fact, a tenting adventure can be especially appealing to younger visitors.  If the adults sleep inside and the kids sleep in the tent then there is more breathing (and moving) room for everyone.

If neither you nor your guests own tenting equipment, check with your neighbors or with the campground to see if they have equipment that you can borrow or rent.

Get a Room!
Many campgrounds rent motel rooms, cabins, park models or trailers at a daily rate.  If the campground has these rental units available, then that may be the best option for your guests.  You may also want to check with your neighbors to see if anyone is planning on being out of town for all or part of your guest’s visits.  If they are, you may be able to make arrangements for your guests to stay there while the neighbors are gone.  Just make sure that your guests are considerate and that they clean up after themselves and leave things in the same condition it was in when they arrived.  And if they don’t…  make sure that you do.

Giving your guests their own space is definitely something to consider for longer visits.  It gives everyone their own space to get away for a while and there is less of a likelihood that you will end up stepping on each other’s toes (both literally and figuratively).

With a little planning and a lot of patience, having guests while you are living in an RV is definitely possible.   Just remember that your guests are not used to living in a small space like you are, and the only thing worse than being crammed inside an RV with a bunch of people is being crammed inside an RV with a bunch of people with nothing to do but stare at each other.  Plan lots of excursions and spend as much time outside of the RV as possible.  Go hiking, exploring or sightseeing.  Check out the activities in the local area.  Make their vacation memorable by sharing with them the things that brought you to the area and made you want to stay there.

One last note…  Remember to check your campground’s policy on guests.  Many will require you to register each guest and perhaps even pay a small daily fee.  This fee will also allow your guests to use the campground’s pool and other facilities while they are staying with you.