Thursday, July 9, 2009

Inviting Guests to stay with You in Your RV


OK, it is going to happen, you have a great RV, and it has extra room for other people, so sooner or later either you or your spouse is going to invite someone to either travel with you, or meet you somewhere and stay a few days. If you have young grandchildren it is definitely going to happen, more often than not. This can be a fun experience for everyone, if you will just sit back and prepare yourselves for visitors, and your visitors for the world of RVing. Here are some suggestions of things for you to do.
I believe there are two kinds of guests that you might have in your RV. The first is children or grandchildren. The other type are adult friends. With the young ones, be sure they know how long they are going to be with you. Kids do not like being somewhere and not know when they are leaving.
They also want to have their own personal “stuff” with them. Be sure that the music lover has his “Pod”, the computer lover has his PC, the reader has his books, the younger ones have their toys and so forth. Kids are prepared to entertain themselves a lot of the time, you need to contact them before they get there, and let them know where you are going/staying, and what is available for them to do there, so they can prepare.
As for the Adults, be sure you tell them exactly what you and they will be doing during their stay with you unless they have something special that they want to do. You should tell them your normal daily routine including, get up times, go to bed times, meal timing and a general list of your typical meals, as well as what you will be doing for entertainment while they are there.
This list in itself should spark a good conversation on everyone’s likes and dislikes. Negotiate with them, but do not make yourselves miserable just for your guests comfort and idiosyncrasies. Remember, it is your Home, and they should be willing to bend on most items, to be with you. Avoid letting your guests plan on turning your Home/RV into their Hotel.
I could tell you stories of past guests of ours who, when they left, we expected to see a tip in an envelope lying somewhere. Wait ….. that actually did happen with some guests of ours at our House in Myrtle Beach a few years ago.
Where to put the guests clothes is always a problem. I have a solution that really helps. I went to the local Hardware store and purchased several Robe Hooks and placed then strategically around the Living Area, just for such occasions.
I usually tell my guests to look around in their closets, and find a couple of old Suit bags, the fold-over type with a hanger hook for hotel room closets. You know the kind with room for 2-3 suits, some dress shirts, and several sip-up pockets for shoes, bath items, and underwear, etc. These are perfect for guest clothes storage and access.
Just hang one on a hook over the drivers seat, and the other over the passengers seat. They can get to their cloths easily, there is no floor space taken up, and everyone is happy.
A Jackknife Sofa is on of those that you lift the front and pull, the back drops down, and the person sleeps on it with the bottom and back cushions as the mattress. It is good for one adult person, that’s it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking anything else, or you are really going to upset your guests. Even 2 kids, six or younger, will be fighting for room on one of these.
Now a Sleeper Sofa, depending on the age of the RV can be a Double, Queen, or King size sleeper sofa. It is just like the ones in your friends house. It is usually a mechanical monster to open or close, and has a very sorry excuse for a mattress. The newer ones have more metal bracing to prevent sagging, and many even have a nice inflatable mattress, and can approach comfortable. The Sleeper Sofas are for two adults.
Many RV’s and Campers also have a dinette. You know 2 bench seats and a fold-out dining table? If you lift, flip, and arrange the pieces properly, it will convert into a very short bed. I have a sister-in law who is short enough to sleep on one of these, but I have not found a normal sized person that will attempt it. This bed is good for a kid or small teen.
Often, if your friends are “Tenters”, and they can bring their gear, your campsite will easily be large enough for them to set up their tent and sleeping bags. This way, they have their privacy and space and are much better guests in a much less cluttered RV or Camper.
f. Privacy for everyone-
You must define the rules of privacy while they are in your RV. You are used to your own bedroom with a door, and total access to the bathroom at night.
Now you must work out an arrangement for using inside and campground toilets, showers, and bathrooms so everyone is comfortable living together. And for goodness’ sake, walk your guests through the steps of proper operation of the Toilet, Hot Water Heater, Sewage storage system, and Shower. Non eof this is the same as in a conventional house.
DO not be afraid to ask your guests to share some of the workload during the day. Generally, if they do not help, it is because they have not been asked. They can help with; cooking preparation, taking out the trash, sweeping the floor in the camper/RV, changing linens, straightening out the campsite, and bagging trash, washing dishes, and much more. If they can’t help, you can make sure that they do not come back.
h. Expenses-
Your guests should volunteer to pay for any extra food costs or other expenses that you have to incur for their visit. In most campgrounds, you will have to pay an extra charge for their car and a daily extra charge for each of them to visit, at a minimum.
And, if they are staying for more than a couple of days, they should take you out for dinner one night at least, as a personal expression of gratitude for your hospitality, as well as the extra work they caused for you.
i. Other Stuff
And, there are certainly other things that you should coordinate with your guests that I have’nt listed here, but I think I have covered the basics. And ….. Remember …… Guests are like Fish, after a few days they will start to Stink. Hopefully all of yours will be gone before you detect the odor?