One of the best things about life on the road is meeting new people. It’s really easy to make friends with likeminded travellers. Here are our tips for finding caravanning buddies and becoming part of the great wandering community.
A Few Friendly Tips
You will usually find that the people you meet are friendly and happy to help out or share a cold one. If you’re that way inclined, most people will respond in the same way.
- The age-old nod and wave are traditional signs of respect when passing other travelers on the road and are always appreciated, if not expected.
- Don’t be too reserved, as people will tend to respect your distance anyway. If you want to make friends, invite your neighbours over for the widely accepted practice of ‘happy hour’.
- Must Have Dogs. An oldie but a goodie – almost everyone likes to chat with or about their pets. Don’t have one? Doesn’t mean you can’t start up a conversation about someone else’s; try asking how it’s working out for them caravanning with a pet.
- Join your fellow campers around a campfire. There’s something pretty special about sitting around a campfire at night, it tends to bring out some interesting, often-introspective topics of conversation, and even some darn good yarn-telling. So unless there’s a fire ban where you’re camped, light up and invite others to join you.
- Don’t drive straight past someone who’s broken down, had an accident or looks like they’re lost. Offer assistance, whether that’s a ride to town or to the nearest spot for phone reception.
- Help out if you see newly arrived campers struggling to get set up in the wind or rain, or someone who’s doing some on-the-spot caravan repairs.
Observe The Rules Of The Road
People everywhere appreciate others who are courteous and respectful, and etiquette is as important on the road as it is anywhere. You can be sure that if others consider you a ‘nuisance’ it’s not going to be easy making friends!
When camped, keep your caravan, vehicle, furniture, fishing tackle, bikes and other belongings well within your site and avoid walking through other people’s sites.
Most campers appreciate peace and quiet so keep noise to a minimum especially after dark and in the early morning.
Join A Club
A caravan enthusiasts’ club is a great way to make contact with others, gather handy tips, hear about different destinations and even find friends to go on holiday with.
- Your local club probably organises regular weekend trips away, which means you’re likely to get out more often in the caravan as well as meeting new friends.
- The larger clubs offer their members pre-negotiated discounts with caravan parks, holiday destinations, retailers or manufacturers, as well special deals on expos and industry events.
- Most participate in annual ‘musters’ and other gatherings, and advertise events being run by other clubs.
- When you’re ready to upgrade to a new caravan or you want to sell one, your club might be the first place you go. Many offer listings and classifieds, either online or on-site via noticeboards that are likely to be viewed by local enthusiasts.
Some clubs are specifically aimed at a particular brand of caravan or interest group such as the Grey Nomads. These will often have an active online forum through which you can communicate with other members.
There are plenty of national, state and local clubs for caravan enthusiasts; these state-based directories will get you started.
- National Association of Caravan Clubs
- Victoria, Tasmania
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Go To A Caravan Expo
Caravan and camping shows are a great way to meet other travelers and enthusiasts while you’re catching up with all the latest toys and innovations.
The Melbourne Leisurefest is one of Australia’s largest expos, offering four days of exhibits, cooking demonstrations, live music and seminars. If you missed it this year, check out Leisurefest at Bendigo or the Great Outdoor Expo in November.
You might be travelling solo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join up with others to share a leg of the journey, or perhaps arrange to meet up somewhere further along the way. With the internet and mobile phones, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch with others.
Planning on chatting on the CB radio with your travelling buddies? Here’s a guide to the channels you should use.