RV travel and camping this summer is going to be different. Very different.
While we may be able to move about more than we have since the nationwide lockdown started in March, RV travel and camping this summer will be far from normal.
As the Memorial Day holiday signals the unofficial start of summer, we feel the need to share what we think will be the 5 things that will change for those venturing out for RV travel and camping this summer.
RV Travel and Camping this summer change #1: Hostility, resentment and safety shaming
If you do RV travel and camping this summer you may visit or pass through various parts of the country where out of state visitors are not welcome.
As I write this just before the Memorial Day weekend, several states are still under strict prohibitions about no essential travel.
RV travel is considered non essential.
Other states may be starting to open up state parks and camping but only for residents. And some small communities are telling visitors to stay away, that they have limited health facilities that – should a COVID-19 hotspot erupt – could not treat visitors.
But you should expect some places to not be welcoming for RV travel and camping this summer well into the fall. Hopefully there won’t be many. But there will be some. And expect some “safety shaming” if you post some photos of your camping on social media from those who think your travel is not the right thing to do at this time and will rudely tell you so.
RV Travel and Camping this summer change #2: Campgrounds will be more crowded than ever
As a result of the pandemic and concern about vacationing in hotels or taking cruises or traveling by air, many people are buying RVs. Some business publications are calling this “the summer of the RV.”
The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, cable news and other publications have all run major stories recently extolling the cleanliness and safety of RV travel and camping this summer.
Dealers I’ve been talking to report a sharp increase of people buying RVs online, through virtual tours, even having them delivered to their driveway.
People love the fact that RVs are self-contained and perfect for social distancing.
RV rental companies are also doing record business these days.
So a lot of new people are coming into the RV Lifestyle?
Where will they stay? Even before the virus, a chief complaint by many RVers was that campgrounds were too hard to get into. Many required reservations far in advance. With some state and public campgrounds expected to be still closed or limited to in-state camping this summer, all those new RVers are going to make it even harder to book camping spots.
RV Travel and Camping this summer change #3: Boondocking spots will have more pressure
As a result of the pressure on private and commercial campgrounds, you’re likely to find it much more challenging to find those idyllic, isolated boondocking or dispersed camping spots off the beaten path.
I still think boondocking will be the best way to do RV travel and camping this summer, but you should expect to have neighbors out there.
Harvest Hosts, a membership site that allows free overnight camping at a network of more than 1,400 farms, wineries, museums, tourist attractions and golf courses, will be a good choice for many. But expect to see more RVers using their facilities, too.
RV Travel and Camping this summer change #4: Social Distancing, Sanitizing and Face Masks will not go away
In all this talk about TV travel and camping this summer, I need to stress that the coronavirus is not going away. It will still be with us over the summer and the need to take every precaution when we are in public will still be great.
Indeed, with some health experts predicting a second wave to show up later this year, no one should take an RV trip without bringing along a supply of hand sanitizer, gloves, sanitizing wipes and face masks.
When you are fueling up along the road, wear gloves when you touch the pump.
Wear face masks when you go into gas stations, restaurants or grocery stores.
Try to avoid public rest rooms at businesses or in campgrounds. One of the reasons you have an RV in the first place is because it is self-contained. So, use the bathroom and shower in your RV.
Minimize your exposure to other people and if you gather around a campfire…. make it a big enough campfire that you can stay six feet apart.
RV Travel and Camping this summer change #5: You’ll need more patience for getting RV service and parts
While the RV boom may be good for the industry, the extra demand it is putting on RV service shops means it is going to take more time to get your RV serviced.
RV manufacturers, suppliers and parts companies all shut down for almost two months. Existing inventories were quickly depleted and until the supply chain can restock, things like water pumps, air conditioning parts and circuit boards for various RV accessories like power awnings, retractable steps and the like mean you can expect longer repair wait times.
In addition, many service techs who were laid off during the shutdown have found other jobs or moved on, meaning many dealership service shops are short-handed.
My best recommendation is to find mobile RV repair services. Most of these are small businesses, individually owned. Even in the best of times, we have found them to be very prompt, usually coming right to our campsite.
I have found these mobile RV techs are familiar with all the things that can go wrong on an RV and pretty much able to fix problems right on the spot. Google “RV mobile repair” near your location and you’ll find them.
Or call a nearby campground and ask them who you can call. Every campground has the name of at least one mobile RV tech service.
So there you go.
None of these changes to RV travel and camping this summer are particularly good.
But we believe in being real here.
And we also believe that there will still be lot of good RV travel and camping opportunities this summer.
It’s just going to be different.
What do you think?
Bonus Tip: For a a very frank discussion about the pros and cons of RVing, review this post that applies to RV travel and camping this summer:
Final Tip: Review this video we did for some camping etiquette suggestions that will help with your RV travel and camping this summer:
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