This post is meant for the local population meaning us Balkanians. Until recently camping as a style of vacation or just accommodation has been a relatively rare choice for us. This is especially true for Croatians since we have been lucky to own many properties across the coastline and on islands. For that reason, camping was unnecessary as an option: Croatians either own a vacation property or are related to/friends with property owners. Recently, however, camping has become increasingly popular thanks to many different factors including the popularization of outdoor activities, the urge to explore different destinations, the need for an adventure, the love of spending time in nature as much as possible or simply saving money.
While this new trend of camping has helped to build an entirely new culture there have been many cases of unpleasant integration of new campers with the existing old guard of experienced campers. That brings us to camping etiquette. Although new campers might be familiar with leave no trace principles that help to protect the environment, camping etiquette is a hardly known topic that is often left behind and even underestimated. From our almost 20 year-long experience of hosting campers, we have noticed how much there is to learn from foreign campers and we would like to share these lessons, tips, and tricks with our countryman.
When at camp, do as campers do
So, dear Croatians, Bosnians, Serbs, Macedonians, and Montenegrins – pretty much every nationality that was a part of ex Yugoslavia – please continue reading this. Slovenians have been purposefully left out from this list because they can serve as our camping tutors thanks to their much longer tradition of camping and outdoor sports. If you would like to be a pleasant camper as a guest you should really put some effort into reading and memorizing some of the most popular and widespread principles of camping etiquette. Although these may vary from camp to camp as house rules generally do vary, there are many principles that are a part of common sense and fall into universal camping etiquette. Once you learn them you will be a camper to die for even when you space-camp. Therefore we have summarized these for you here but let’s explain some of the most important parts.
During camping, everything revolves around daylight and the sun. While there are some of that like to stay up late and sleep longer, most of the campers adjust their activities with the sun. That means laying down with the sun and waking up with the sun. Since you came out to nature for exploration and different activities you should use the most out of the day. If that does not sound like your mission then you might want to reconsider your true values and goals or at least keep in mind that with all the campers around you, you are the one who is different and you are a minority so you should adjust your behavior towards majority for many different reasons.
Just be quiet
Starting with the time of check-in, it is advisable to arrive at the camp early before the sunset. If you arrive late, you will be driving around the campsite with your car lights on, setting up your tent which can be noisy, helping yourselves with flashlights which just like car lights can flash your neighbors, and communicating while organizing your gear and everything. And you will be doing all of that while everyone around you is trying to fall asleep. The noise travels faster during the night so every sound you make can be heard far away. Hopefully, by now you should realize how late-night socializing, drinking, singing, and playing music can be extremely disturbing for everyone else at the camp.
Clean after yourself
In every campsite, there are many shared areas and facilities including toilets, showers, kitchens, benches, tables, canopies, pathways, etc. Every camper depends on these facilities and they should be made as accessible as possible. That is why it is extremely important that you DO NOT make a mess and leave your belongings everywhere around and that you DO NOT leave spoiled sinks, toilets, showers, and kitchen counters. Leave everything in perfect order because somebody might use that immediately after you.
Leash your pet
Your pet should be leashed at all times even if you are located at the most pet-friendly campsite there is like Kamp Velebit. No matter how cute or friendly your pet is there are people that prefer to avoid any contact with pets. Furthermore, some of us might be scared of dogs so being approached by freely roaming unleashed dogs might cause a panic and overall unpleasant experience. And no matter how convinced you are in terms of seeing every move of your pet, eventually, you will miss noticing your pet pooping so the waste will be left lying around where children might play moments later. Just keep your pet leashed and serve as a good example to others.
Consider the nature
Be environmentally friendly Save the water and other resources. If you are used to taking long showers at home try to avoid doing that at the campsite. Besides making others wait for their turn to take a shower (which is often the case-showers being a scarce resource), you might be located in an area where water is a precious and expensive resource valued by local culture. If there is an option to separate waste and recycle, please do your best to complete this task accordingly as separating waste from separated waste is a very annoying and frustrating task. Remember that what you do for the environment is what you do for your children and offspring of this world.
Hopefully, you have found these tips worthy of consideration and if not, just apply them with no questions asked. As a result, you will make many people happier or at least not cause a disturbance and dis-balance in the force. There is so much to learn from other fellow campers. Whenever you camp try to observe what others do, learn from the best, and try to provide friendly advice to those that might need some enlightenment.