If you are hosting campers on your property it is important to consider the impact this may have on your neighbors. There are many different things that can affect them in both positive and negative ways. Below we will go over on, a high level, things to consider so you can start your hosting journey on the right foot with your neighbors and get ahead of future issues before they arise.
The most effective way to mitigate any issues between neighbors and guests is to establish an open line of communication with your neighbors before you start hosting. This will give you the ability to address any concerns they may have, answer their questions, and show you care about how your hosting activity may impact them. Some other things you may consider:
- Provide your neighbors with your phone number and/or that of a trusted nearby contact so they are able to reach you if something comes up in real-time.
- Explain your hosting plan in detail so your neighbors know what to expect.
- Show you are open-minded and be receptive to their feedback if it does not align with your plans.
Be in compliance
- If you are unsure of what is required we recommend contacting your local planning office for more information before you start hosting.
- Check with your local health department to find out what requirements may be in place for waste disposal and occupancy limits.
- If your property is located within an HOA (or another similar organization) check your bylaws to ensure hosting campers is a permitted use of your property. If you are unsure, your board members can be a good resource.
- Many locales require taxes to be collected and remitted for hosting activities. Check out this FAQ for more information on this: Do I need to pay taxes?
Practice fire safety
Arguably the most important factor, fire safety is often overlooked. Being based out of California, we know firsthand just how devastating the impact of an out-of-control fire can be for a community and want to ensure we do everything we can to help prevent them by educating our community.
- Ensure there is no active fire ban in your area. We have partnered with the National Weather Service to send real-time alerts to hosts when a red flag warning has been activated in their area. If you receive one of these alerts you can enable a fire ban on your property to notify campers with upcoming bookings and future campers who are viewing your property. You can read more about that here: How do I use the fire ban tool?
- Ensure your fire pit is properly set up to provide campers with a safe way to enjoy their campfire. You can check out this article for tips for safe fire pits: How to Set Up Your Property for Safe Campfires.
- Provide a way for campers to fully extinguish their fires - such as a bucket of water, fire extinguisher, or nearby hose. If water is not available, then a shovel should be provided for campers to put the fire out with dirt or sand. Check out this handy guide from Smokey the Bear: How to Maintain & Extinguish Your Campfire
Print out our handy fire safety quick tip sheet to keep near your fire pit so campers can keep fire safety top of mind; you can download it here.
Avoid noise level and privacy issues
Another complaint we hear from neighbors of hosts is the noise level produced by campers (primarily after daylight hours) and the lack of privacy. Here are some suggestions to help mitigate this type of issue:
- Limit the size of groups each site can accommodate and consider how many total campers your property can reasonably accommodate.
- Set and enforce quiet hours in your rules.
- Consider getting a NoiseAware to monitor noise levels at your property.
- We highly recommend disclosing this in your property description so campers are aware and noting that it does not record any audio/nor let you listen in to put them at ease. Here is a helpful FAQ to answer some common guest questions about NoiseAware.
- Set up a video surveillance system in shared/public areas of your property. Like NoiseAaware, it is important to disclose this to your guests in your property description so they are aware prior to making a booking. Do not put any recording devices in private areas such as restrooms or sleeping quarters.
- Ensure your campsites are positioned far enough away from your neighbor's line of sight if possible.
- If not, consider building a privacy fence or adding landscaping to create a barrier.
- Trespassing is also another issue that can come up. As campers are not familiar with your property's terrain and boundaries it is highly recommended to outline your property lines either with a fence or signs - ideally both.
- Check out the Hipcamp Swag Shop for an assortment of different signs for download or purchase.
Have a plan for human waste and garbage disposal
- Set clear expectations on what amenities are provided - specifically for trash and toilets.
- Here is a guide on how to update these and other amenities: How do I edit the Overview and Amenities on my listing?
- All campsites listed on Hipcamp must have access to a toilet, whether provided by the Host or the Hipcamper. This ensures that Hipcampers dispose of human waste in a way that’s good for the environment. If you provide a toilet, ensure that it is private and does not expose Hipcampers to other parties, including neighbors.
- If you're not able to provide a toilet onsite, Hipcampers must bring their own campsite toilet.
- Check out these resources for some toilet inspiration:
Get ahead of increased traffic and parking issues
It is no secret that hosting campers can have a major impact on the amount of traffic within your neighborhood. This can especially be bothersome if your property is located on a private road or on an easement.
- Limit the amount of vehicles campers can bring to your property. This can be set up within your dashboard.
- Have parking spots very clearly labeled to avoid confusion on where to park for your campers.
- Take a peek at the Hipcamp Swag Shop for an assortment of parking signs available for purchase or download.
- Avoid having campers park along any streets or pathways.
- This is to prevent their vehicles from blocking general traffic and so they are not blocking any access points for emergency vehicles.
Create a safe environment for pets
What is the one thing that is better than camping? Camping with your furry friend! Allowing campers to bring their fur family along with them is a great way to increase your overall bookings. However, it can create some risks if you or your neighbors have pets or livestock of your own. By following the tips below you can help set everyone up for a fun and safe experience - fido included!
- Require campers to keep their pets on a leash at all times while on your property.
- This can be set in the amenities section of your listing and will also appear in your rules (which campers agree to when checking out.
- Keep campsites away from pastures and pens to avoid preventable interaction between any animals you or your neighbors may have and your camper's pets.
- Set clear expectations in your site if you or your neighbors have any free-roaming animals such as dogs or poultry. This way campers can make the decision if your property is a good fit for their group or not.
Overall our goal is to help set our community up for success within their communities so more people get outside in more places. If you have any questions regarding any of the topics listed above feel free to contact our support team at any time - we're here to help you succeed!