RVers are throwing in the towel after years of dreaming and even years of RVing. Why are so many quitting the RV Lifestyle? Where do I begin…
With recent social and economic changes, the RV lifestyle has become more challenging. RV prices, fuel prices, and campground prices have jumped. Yet, somehow, campgrounds are still overcrowded to the point of making it difficult to get a reservation.
But now, we’re hearing how more and more long-time RVers are giving up the lifestyle. Is it all because of overcrowding? Or the rising costs?
Well, both are playing a big part, but they're by no means the only reason. After all, everyone expects the prices and crowds to calm down eventually. But it has forced avid RVers as well as those on the verge of becoming RVers to rethink things.
That rethinking has led many to sell or store the RVs that were once their home or main getaway vehicle. Or to give up on their dream of RVing.
However, despite all of the reasons below, Jennifer and I are nowhere near giving up the RV lifestyle, including touring the country. Yet, we certainly understand why so many are because of the following reasons…
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The Growing Popularity of Owning RV Land
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I feel like I should start by saying that not all avid or full-time RVers are calling it quits. There are still lots of them. Some are sticking with the lifestyle but making some changes.
And one very big change is this shift to owning your own land for your RV. That's one of the changes we've made by building on our land in Tennessee. Though, we still hit the road regularly to tour the country, explore, attend RV shows, visit family, and more.
But we love having a basecamp, a place where we know we can always have room, stay as long as we want, have our friends join us and truly get away from it all.
And we're not alone. A lot of other RVers are doing the same thing.
7 Big Reasons People are Quitting RVing
There are admittedly more challenges than ever before. So, we do understand why others are giving up RVing.
Here are the biggest reasons some people think RVing isn’t worth it anymore.
1. Campground Overcrowding
There’s no way to sugarcoat that the campgrounds are downright overcrowded. The campgrounds are noisier than they’ve ever been before, and you’d only know that if you could actually get a reservation.
There has been some improvement recently. Entrepreneurs have responded to the increased demand by opening new RV parks, like the thousands of new RV sites in Florida. However, you're still pressing your luck if you don't book months in advance.
Though reservations are somewhat easier to attain, the campgrounds are still crowded. And, because so many newbies joined the club in recent years, you have to deal with more bad camping neighbors than usual.
That being said, the crowds will balance out eventually with the combination of people quitting the lifestyle and new campsites being built, like this one we just reported on.
2. Jump in Costs
Economics 101 teaches us that supply and demand drive all markets, including the RV and campground industry.
Because of the high demand and short supply of campsites, campsite prices have jumped significantly. Because of the high demand and short supply of RV mechanics and parts, maintenance and repairs costs have jumped.
The high demand and short supply of new RVs have also caused a significant jump in RV prices (more than 40%!). This actually brings us to our next reason people are leaving RVing full-time.
3. Increased Used RV Value
Used RV prices have gone way up in recent years. All it takes is a quick look on Facebook Marketplace to see the high prices for RVs.
This tips the scale for a lot of RVers who have already been toying with the idea of selling their RVs. This is especially true for non-fulltime RVers who already have a house to go back to.
However, this isn’t as true for full-time RVers whose used RV price wouldn’t make up for the huge price increase in the real estate market.
Join those living the RV Lifestyle
4. Virtual Work & Schooling
Ironically, one of the biggest reasons people are joining the RV lifestyle is one of the biggest reasons people are leaving it.
There's no denying that there’s been an awakening in the formalized world that remote work and school are valid options these days.
So, while there will eventually be a significant decrease in crowding, RVing is highly unlikely to be “like it was before.” Some people just aren’t up for seeing what that new RV lifestyle will look like.
5. Boondocking Spots Shutting Down
Unfortunately, boondocking sites are still getting shut down at an alarming rate. Why?
For one, the surge in homelessness is leading to boondocking sites being overwhelmed by people who don’t take pride in caring for their location. It’s frustrating but they’re dealing with bigger issues.
For two, so many people jumped into camping without learning (or caring to learn) proper boondocking etiquette. To me, this is even more frustrating than the homeless situation. Leaving a site unclean in these cases is just pure disrespect and laziness.
As such, state parks and other public places are shutting down boondocking spots for good. As disappointing as it is, you can’t really blame them.
6. Health Scares and decision fatigue
Managing health care while RVing has always been a challenge, and that was before there was a global pandemic. Some RVers have decided to give up RVing because they want or need access to more stable healthcare.
Having family or friend support, a regular doctor, and access to a quality hospital are more achievable if you stay in one location. Thus, people are trading in their RVs for stick houses.
And that piles on to what is often called “decision fatigue,” the daily list of decisions that RVers must make as they travel to new places… finding places to stay, supermarkets, pharmacies, handling their mail, planning routes, etc.
That leads to a low level of stress that, over time, can become tiresome.
If that RVer is a full-timer, with a family, with no permanent home base, it can become overwhelming.
7. Home Sickness
If recent years have taught us one thing, it’s to not take our lives and family and friends for granted. That realization has led a lot of people to the open road, taking their families on road trips or visiting family across the country.
That same realization, however, has made many avid and full-time RVers homesick. Some realize they have had their fill of the open road and adventure and want to settle back in near their family and friends. They want to be readily available for or nearby those they love the most.
Your Thoughts on Quitting the RV Lifestyle
Like I mentioned in the beginning, Jennifer and I are continuing our RV lifestyle. We have passed the 11-year mark as RVers (that still have a sticks and bricks – and a condo – and now some of our own land), and we expect that 11-year number to get even bigger. We will continue it as long as we look forward to each day on the open road.
And that joy is still the dominant part of our RV lifestyle.
But, I am really curious to hear from our community on this topic. Are you considering throwing in the towel? Are you still committed to the lifestyle? Please share your thoughts on quitting the RV lifestyle in the comments below and join the discussion in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group.
Camping can be expensive.
Especially if you are spending more travel time in outdoor spaces. Or, perhaps you’re living and working from your RV.
Traditional campgrounds can also be crowded and noisy. It can sometimes feel like the opposite experience you are seeking by getting away from civilization and into nature.
That may be why you are looking for cheap or free RV camping sites and that’s why I’m here to help. I’m going to introduce you to boondocking in off-the-beaten-path campsites and then teach you how to find them.
This ebook (not a print book – but you could print this one out on your own if you wish) is available right now.
Here's your Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites